The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 is the world’s largest mobile event – but this year it was written off even before it started. That’s because most mobile phone companies decided not to launch their flagship smartphones there. HTC chose to launch the One a week before and Samsung will have the Galaxy S IV out about two weeks later. Going solo is a smart decision as companies want to own all the space when they unveil their top-of-the-line product, and not have it lost in the noise of something as big as the MWC. So was the 2013 edition of the MWC a failure? Far from it! Here’s a top 10 of what this amazing event held in Barcelona, Spain, headlined. (1) WebOS made a comeback – but not the way we wanted. LG bought the outstanding WebOS from HP, but just as they were getting a standing ovation, they announced that they would be installing it on their smart TVs! Huh? That may well signal the end of what is easily the best phone and tablet OS of all times.
(2) The most powerful Phablet on the planet; the LG Optimus G Pro. The company that had fallen by the wayside, makes another fantastic new device to plot its comeback. A 400-ppi 5.5-inch screen, 1920x1080 full HD, 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB RAM and a whopping 3,140mAh battery. Plus you can run apps in resizable windows with full multitasking and take a picture or video from your front and back camera at the same time. Game on Note 2!
(3) The iPad Mini killer. Well, it doesn’t have to be as it’s going to sell millions of them whether it is or not. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 is a very thin,
elegant, beautifully made, perfect for notes and browsing tablet with S pen technology. It also boasts a Quad-core ARM Cortex processor, 2GB RAM, 4,600mAh, Android 4.1.2 and the piece de resistance – multi-window feature with full multi-tasking. Now whether it’s a ‘Mini’ or a ‘Mighty’ blow, only time will tell.
(4) The absolute show-stopper of MWC was the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. It’s ridiculously thin at 0.3 inches, has a 10.1-inch full 1920x1080 HD display, a 8.1MP camera, 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon processor and a 6,000mAh battery. But it’s also built to swim. You can dunk it underwater for a full 30 minutes and it’ll still come out smiling.
(5) Mozilla introduced the world to its latest mobile platform – the Firefox OS – and said that this would be what the next billion smartphone users would move to. It’s nice looking, it’s cheap, it merges web pages, searches and apps, and it’ll come on phones priced at under R2,000. But the next billion? I’ll believe it when I see it.
(6) The Chinese invasion has begun and it’s being front-ended by Huawei. Perfect proof of that was the Huawei Ascend P2. It’s got a 4.7-inch 1280x720 display with 315 PPI, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 13MP rear camera, NFC, 2,420mAh battery; and all of this crammed into a phone that is just 8.4mm thin. Oh, did I mention this is also the world’s fastest 4G phone that smokes the competition to bits.
(7) A phone made for the elderly and the virgins (and by that I mean first-time smartphone users). The Fujitsu Stylistic S01 goes for a huge market. Those who want a smartphone but none of the complexity. It’s very nicely made, not too big, very light, has a simplified interface with large buttons for most tasks and the touchscreen actually feels like pressing actual buttons. Smart move Fujitsu!
(8) The world’s biggest Phablet is here. Asus must have thought that if Phablets can be 6 inches plus, then why not 7 inches too? Thus was born the Asus Fonepad, a Tablet with full voice functionality. The Tablet is no great shakes in terms of specs, but the voice clarity and speakerphone are outstanding. I’m still going to point out the obvious though. You’ll look like a regular prat holding one of these to your ear.
(9) Ubuntu Touch, a Linux-based OS for cheap mobile phones, matured and became more of a reality at MWC. This is one of the most elegant OS platforms I’ve ever seen: clean, easy to use and very simple. But the first thing they need to do is get rid of the name Ubuntu. Can you imagine telling someone you just bought a brand new state-of-the-art ‘Ubuntu phone’! Embarrassing, very!
(10) HP plots a tablet resurgence with its HP Slate 7. Yes, HP seriously screwed up with its WebOS-powered Touchpad, but the company isn’t out of the game. They are back but with an Android tablet and they are being smart with it. The price is quite amazing (about R7,500), the specs are good and you’ll be able to print from any app to a printer. Plus they are also throwing in Beats Audio too.
The Huawei Ascend P2 is the world’s fastest 4G phone.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
From HT Brunch, March 10
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