Adios, Barcelona: GSMA 2009 wrap-up
CNET takes a look back at Mobile World Congress and reflects on the highs and lows of GSMA 2009.
We're all slowly making our way back to the States and back to our regular schedules now that the Mobile World Congress show has come to an end, but before we completely close the door on GSMA 2009, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what was (and wasn't) revealed at the show. After all, MWC often lays the groundwork for what we'll see in mobile space in the upcoming year.
For all intents and purposes, Microsoft provided the most news at MWC, as the company previewed the latest version of its mobile operating system and its partners unveiled upcoming devices. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in Barcelona to deliver a keynote address on opening day, during which he showed off. He also participated in a panel about .
The revamped OS brings a handful of enhancements, such as an application store, a back-up and restore service, and an improved mobile Web browser. While welcome additions, it didn't particularly move the mark on innovation and, even worse, Windows Mobile 6.5 won't be released till the second half of 2009 and by then, who knows what Microsoft's competitors will have done.
Still, we were pretty excited about some of the upcoming devices that are set to run Windows Mobile 6.5. First, LG revealed theand went one step further by the primary operating system for its smartphones--a promise that would increase the number of Windows phones available in 2009 tenfold.
its entry into the smartphone space and held a press conference to reveal not one, but eight devices to debut in 2009 (with more to be announced in Q4), all running Windows Mobile. Despite joining the Open Handset Alliance, Garmin-Asus took the wraps off its second Nuvifone model, the , which will run Windows Mobile (and we finally got a chance to check out the ). Meanwhile, longtime Windows Mobile partner HTC introduced its next-generation devices, the . The two smartphones will actually run Windows Mobile 6.1 when they ship during Q2, but the company said they will be upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6.5.
HTC also made another announcement that stole some of the spotlight away from Microsoft. The company, along with European carrier Vodafone, debuted the Android-poweredon the second day of the show. It's the first Android device for Vodafone. HTC plans to bring the smartphone to market by spring. The HTC Magic features a 3.2-inch HVGA touch screen and trackball navigator, but doesn't have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard like the T-Mobile G1. The quad-band smartphone will offer support for Google's various applications as well as access to the Android Market, and includes a Webkit browser, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HSDPA/WCDMA (900/2100MHz), and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
CNET U.K.'s Andrew Lim got a goodat the show, and we also got a peek at it while visiting the . While giving us a demo, the company representative was very clear to say that the Magic was not the T-Mobile G2, which brings up our next point. As much as the Magic was news, the general was also news in itself. Sure, it plans to launch Android handsets later this year, but it's doubtful we'll see those in the States. Plus, we didn't see the T-Mobile G2. its Android phones until the second half of the year. All in all, a disappointment for Android fans.
Per its usual fashion, Sony Ericsson kicked off the GSMA World Congress by holding a standing-room only (that's a hint, Sony Ericsson, to give us chairs next time) event the night before the show began. Thequickly emerged as one of the most talked-about devices in Barcelona. Though still a concept phone, the Idou's expansive display, attractive interface, and multimedia-heavy features look promising. Sony Ericsson will officially launch the device later this year, at which point it'll change the name, so we'll be watching. The company also unveiled a new Walkman phone, the , which, to our surprise, has a 3.5mm headset jack and a nifty kickstand. Also at Sony Ericsson, we had the chance to check out the , which Sony Ericsson the week before GSMA began.
In addition, Samsung unveiled four media-friendly devices of its own. The Samsung
Nokia didn't make too much of a splash, despite having one of the biggest and most crowded booths on the show floor. The Finnish company took the wraps off the new. Though both are smartphones, only the E75 offers a full keyboard. Its slider design is appealing and the feature set is functional. The E55 is a bit trimmed down and it offers just a SureType-esque keyboard. Nokia also sneaked in the 8-megapixel camera-toting on the second day. The sat next to the E55 and E75 in Nokia's booth, so we checked it out as well.
Overall, we'd have to say Mobile World Congress 2009 was a quieter show than last year's, but obviously, it was still chock full of news. You can catch up on all the show's news, photos, and videos in our full coverage of GSMA 2009. And don't forget, the CTIA 2009 spring show is just around the corner (April 1-3) where there will be more North America-specific news, and once again, we'll make the trek to Las Vegas to bring you all the details.