Slippery slope

BARCELONA, Spain--The 2011 Mobile World Congress offered plenty of new handsets, tablets, and industry news. With so much going on it was difficult to take it all in, but CNET took some time to capture the top sights of the show. If you couldn't be in Barcelona, check out what you missed.

The Google booth was arguably the most popular booth there. And this slide from the upper floor to the ground floor was its most popular attraction.

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Photo by: Stephen Shankland/CNET / Caption by: ,

Samsung Unpacked dancers

Samsung hired dancing deliverymen to draw attention to its Unpacked event. What was eventually unpacked? The Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone and the Galaxy 10.1 tablet, two Android devices.
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Press scrum

Envy the glamorous life of the tech reporter, always getting to play with the the latest gadgets? It's not all fun and games. Here's a view of just part of the throng of press that mobbed Samsung's event, skipping the snacks and drinks to avoid losing strategic placement near the door.
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Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 and likely won't be done before 2030 under the current plan. Strictly speaking it's not part of Mobile World Congress, but we're showing it to you since so many conference attendees see this iconic Barcelona sight--and because they might not in future years with the possibility that the show will move to another city.
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A long walk

Mobile World Congress is held at Fira de Barcelona, which is the city's main exhibition center. From the main gates on the Placa d'Espanya, Mobile World Congress stretched to Montjuic park, the site of the 1992 Olympics. Directly ahead on the hill is the Catalan Museum of Art.
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For a great view

Take the cable car to the castle at the top of Montjuic for an expansive vista of Barcelona.
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Samsung Galaxy Tab music

Samsung hired a small orchestra composed of musicians from the Royal Academy of Music to play a tune that combined stringed instruments with electronic ones controlled by 7-inch Galaxy Tabs.
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Samsung shows its stuff

Though Samsung's sign above the entrance to Hall 8 had us guessing earlier in the week, it changed to show the Galaxy S II after the company's press conference.
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JK Shin touts Samsung's Android software

JK Shin, president of Samsung's mobile communications business, talks about Samsung's software additions to its Android-based line of Galaxy products. Adding software to Android is a balancing act: handset makers and carriers like to differentiate their products from rivals', but doing so complicates compatibility and operating system upgrades.
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Looming Android

Apple's iPhone 4 won best of show and the Microsoft-Nokia partnership shifted its agenda, but the operating system that dominated Mobile World Congress was Google's Android.
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Motorola's LED display

Motorola had a partially transparent screen of LEDs to promote its brand with a large-scale animation. We saw the same thing at Moto's booth at CES.
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Motorola LED display, up close

Ever wonder what those LEDs look like up close and personal? Now you know.
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ZTE's big booth

There was a day when European companies such as Nokia dominated the mobile phone market. Now Chinese manufacturers such as ZTE and Huawei are a major force, and U.S. companies such as Apple and Google are powerful, too.
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Samsung's Galaxy S II

Samsung's Galaxy S II, this year's successor to the Galaxy S smartphone from 2010, drew a lot of interest at Mobile World Congress.
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TV time

Leave it to Samsung to install a massive wall of displays in its booth.
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3D at LG

Cross-town rival LG was directly across the aisle from Samsung. On display were its new Optimus 3D smartphone and Optimus Pad tablet.
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LG Optimus 3D mock-up

Going straight for deep mammalian instincts, LG Electronics mocked up 3D baby pictures to try to show why people would want to buy the Optimus 3D smartphone. The phone comes with dual cameras to take 3D video and an autostereoscopic screen that requires no glasses to view 3D imagery.
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Where the big kids played

LG, Samsung, Motorola, ZTE, and most major handset manufacturers set up shop in Hall 8. Indeed, it was where we spent most of our time. The natural light is a nice touch.
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But not everyone

Sony Ericsson, however, shared an entire hall with Ericsson farther up the hill. Yet, its booth was small given its big presence at the show.
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Firefox caffeine infusion

For promotional purposes, portable coffee dispensers are a lot cheaper than booth space at Mobile World Congress.
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Or an Android smoothie?

Google offered Android smoothies named after the various OS versions. We'd recommend the Honeycomb flavor.
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Powermat charging

Powermat wants to rid phones of charging cables. Here a series of chargers are shown at Mobile World Congress.
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Powermat car charger

Powermat's technology works in cars, too.
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Texas Instruments pico projector chips in action

Texas Instruments showed off a number of gadgets with tiny DLP chips that can project photos and videos, albeit dimly, on a wall.
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Steve Ballmer pontificates

At Mobile World Congress, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke to a packed house. Among other points, he promoted his company's new (though still not signed) partnership with Nokia.
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Steve Ballmer and Windows Phone 7

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promoted Windows Phone 7 and a coming upgrade to the mobile-phone OS.
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8,000 Windows Phone 7 apps

Apps are a key part of the mobile phone ecosystem, and Ballmer boasted that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 now has 8,000 of them.
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Regulatory fairness?

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Google's omnipresent Android

Companies using Google's Android handed out collectible pins, leading to a profusion of promotional Android mascots around Mobile World Congress.
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And all types of Android

You may assume the Android mascot is male, but this statue suggests otherwise. Google displayed Androids in a variety of outfits in its booth.
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Uh, hello?

Could this be an alien or a poorly designed Android? Yeah, we're not really sure.
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Android activations

Before Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke, the company showed an animation of new Android phone activations. Note that Android is a real force in major markets, including the United States, which for years was mocked by Asians and Europeans for its laggard status in the smartphone market.
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CEO hello

Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg kicks off the company's press conference. The Xperia Play, Neo, and Pro all made their debut that night.
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Masayoshi Son, optimist

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son boasted that his acquisition of Vodafone Japan for $20 billion in cash--$18 billion of which it had to borrow--might have seemed "crazy," but it's paid off as the company increased revenue per user through data subscription plans and increased its market share overall. He also declared himself an optimist through and through.
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John Chambers, optimist

Cisco CEO John Chambers, speaking at Mobile World Congress, offered an optimistic view of the networking business. He also said to get in on the next big trend, a company must start investing in it five years before that trend's readiness in the marketplace.
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Nokia customers

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop boasted of Nokia's global presence, showing a map where its new phones are active. The company is dividing its business into two halves: lower-end phones and higher-end smartphones using Windows Phone 7.
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MeeGo in-dash system

The Linux-based MeeGo operating system, the fruit of a union between Nokia and Intel, is shown here in an in-dash system for navigation, multimedia, and more. This system by Geely uses an Intel Atom processor.
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MeeGo tablet

This MeeGo concept tablet has new uncertainty in its future with Nokia's decision to focus on Windows Phone 7, at least for the near term, and release only a single MeeGo phone later this year.
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The return of the Razr?

Motorola didn't announce new phones in Barcelona, but it did show off the Europe-only Gleam. With its thin profile, flat keypad, and polished silver face, it looked a lot like the Moto's famous Razr.
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Intel inside

Intel's booth featured a crawling display on the ceiling.
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Big Red goes big

You wouldn't expect a CDMA carrier to appear at a GSM-based trade show, but Verizon Wirless' move to LTE shows how the cell phone business is changing and how the United States is taking a lead role in 4G.
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Lunch time

Most restaurants at Mobile World Congress had very creative names.
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Montjuic Telecommunications Tower

The Montjuic Telecommunications Tower looms over the Montjuic area where the Mobile World Congress show is held.
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See you next year

As we exited Mobile World Congress the last time, we look to at least one more year in Barcelona. And don't think the person in the center of the photo was the only one we saw texting while walking.
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