MWC: A quick look around

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While the Symbian ecosystem has been making a lot of noise at the Mobile World Congress, most of the rest of the mobile industry has also been making its own wave. Ewan takes a little look around the other highlights coming out of Barcelona. Read on...

MWC 2009There's been a nice splash of Symbian powered mobile phones at MWC (with five Nokia devices, one Sony Ericsson, one Samsung and one LG), but catching a lot of good publicity is the new version of Windows Mobile. LG are going to be first to market with a device running Windows Mobile 6.5, although the HTC Touch Diamond 2 is picking up most of the online coverage. Gizmodo has one of the better walk throughs. See also the Touch Pro 2, which looks very nice. Expect to see these devices in stores in the second half of the year.

Where is Google and their Android OS? The G1 was launched with a flurry of activity last year, and the expectation was that the G2 would be on show in Barcelona. Maybe Rafe has some info from the floor, but with the big names all having announced devices, the platform from Mountain View is notable in being... still in Mountain View.

Strangely, the absence of Apple isn't as much of an eyebrow raiser as Google. Steve Jobs' company has always been a touch reclusive, even avoiding their own major timetabled events to launch a new device. So not being at Barcelona isn't a big deal for them – after all, the platform is essentially one model with two variants (touch and phone) and a closed system with no licensing. As more companies turn to software, though, they may feel a bit more pressure to fly over the Atlantic in 2010.

One US company that has come over is Palm, and their new phone, the Palm pre. Announced at CES in Las Vegas, there were hints that a GSM variant would be on the cards and could be a showpiece at MWC. There's nothing official yet, although a number of sites (including CrunchGear) are covering the sightings of a GSM pre with a Vodafone SIM card.

Adobe has created a little bit of a stir with Flash support on a number of devices. As well as Palm confirming its inclusion in WebOS (so it will be on the pre), Windows Mobile, S60 and Android will all be carrying the runtime, too. The notable omission? Apple. Robert Scoble wonders if the snub was deliberate (you think?).

As with most conferences, it's the little things that keep you going, so it was nice to see in Rafe's live stream that the Symbian Foundation stand is doing not only free coffee but fruit smoothies as well. There's no word yet on just how much merchandise is being pushed out on the conference floor, but sometimes it's the food and drink you remember, and not another novelty shaped USB key.

Answering my query on the AAS MWC podcast, the Sony Ericsson Idou is pronounced eee-do.

And while there are no details as yet, the Samsung W7900 mobile phone with built in projector, presumably for powerpoints and videos, is my favourite gadget I've seen so far.

-- Ewan Spence, Feb 2009.