A few days down time lets us reflect on Mobile World Congress 2012. While the news out of Barcelona wasn't stunning, a few major things caught our eye.
Mobile World Congress (MWC) draws thousands of attendees from industry executives to analysts and news media. For those not familiar with the event, think of it kind of like a version of CES that focuses completely on the mobile market. But more to the point, MWC is an opportunity for companies to hawk their wares to other vendors who are looking for new ways to establish themselves in the mobile market.
Admittedly, all the real juicy bits of information from the show don't ever actually get reported because most of those business contracts and relationships that get established here tend to be quite sensitive. This explains why the average consumer isn't actually able to attend, unlike with CES. (Though, as you can see from the video above, this doesn't stop vendors from trying to drum up interest in eye-catching ways.) As a general rule of thumb, the news from Barcelona has less pizazz than some of the innovative announcements we saw at CES.
We're not saying there wasn't anything exciting. Admittedly, four things particularly stick out in our mind:
Asus' Transformer Padfone - This is simply an impressive piece of work. There's really no way to describe it unless you see the video announcement yourself. The "Bluetooth" Pen Handset is too damn cool.
Gaming on Tegra 3 - In our mind, there's really only one SoC vendor who's showing that gaming on a smartphone doesn't have to look like something a la Nintendo NES. The fact that Sega has released a Sonic title specifically for Tegra 3 is huge win. (Though, we'd point out Nvidia's lack of anti-aliasing support is a lot more noticeable when a game is blow up onto a 55-inch screen.)
WiFi Alliance Display - Finally, an alternative to WiDi pops up. From a laptop standpoint, Intel’s wireless display technology is really cool and convenient. It circumvents most of the problems with DLNA, where movie playback only works when your HDTV has the right codec support. Plus, WiDi actually mirrors your desktop, allowing you to work off the big screen.
However, Intel's solution really isn't the most practical from a mobile standpoint. It requires a separate transmitter in your laptop, which means it’s not exactly power friendly. The WiFi Alliance's 802.11-based wireless display standard (WFD) really makes us excited on the mobile front. It simply transmits data over the existing 802.11 network, which addresses the power issue. Better yet, now we can opt for a smartphone instead of a laptop, which is even more convenient. The idea of playing games using a smartphone as a controller and our HDTV as a big screen opens the door to the possibility of a console replacement. Plus, watching movies is hell of a lot simpler when you don’t have to whip out a hefty notebook.
HTC's New Image Sense Camera Technology - CEO Peter Chou's claim of better image quality for the One series has us hopeful. Up till now, most of the cameras inside smartphones were good, but they lacked a quality image processor and good sensor aperture ratings. That's poised to change. Now we can finally look forward to a time when carrying around your smartphone doesn't mean you're giving up the quality you'd otherwise get with a decent standalone point-and-shoot. Better yet, this is the first demonstration of a smartphone that allows you to take pictures and record video at the same time. This would be a lifesaver for guys like us who need to carry around at least two camera for events to take snapshots alongside our videos.
List of our on-site coverage:
Fujitsu Submerges Its Waterproof Smartphones & Devices
BlackBerry Struggles in the Sea of Advancements at MWC
Mirasol Display Technology Could Be the Screens of the Future
Smartphones Spotted with Breathalyzer, Body Fat Sensors
Ericsson's Connect Me Tech: Touch-based Data Transmission
Qualcomm Talks About S4 Pro Chip Tech & Future Outlook
WiFi Alliance's Display Solution: Alternative to Intel's WiDi
Acer Demos CloudMobile and Liquid Glow Android Phones
Huawei Shows Off Impressive Quad-Core Mobile Devices
Microsoft Reveals a More Aggressive Smartphone Plan
Nvidia Shows Off Tegra 3 Optimized Games at MWC 2012
Video: Sony Xperia P & U Smartphone Demoed at MWC 2012
Asus Transformer Infinity & Padfone
Nokia New Asha Product Line
Nokia Lumia 610 & 808 PureView
Intel's Medfield Roadmap
Samsung's Galaxy Beam & Note 10.1
LG's Optimus 3D, Vu, 4X HD
HTC Launches "One" Product Line With Android 4.0, 8MP Cams