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Apple's iPhone 4 wins best mobile device award

Apparently, judges at Mobile World Congress 2011 haven't been bothered by reception problems that have plagued the iPhone 4.

Apple's iPhone 4
Apple's iPhone 4 Apple

BARCELONA, Spain--A host of hot new Android phones from Samsung, LG Electronics, HTC, Sony Ericsson made their debut at Mobile World Congress 2011 here this week, but it was the relatively venerable iPhone 4 from Apple that was named the show's best mobile device.

The iPhone 4 is months old and early on suffered notable reception problems. Its maker didn't even come to the show. But the influence of Apple, reaching all the way from Silicon Valley to this cosmopolitain event, was clear.

The iPhone 4 was lauded by judges for its "great screen, sharp design, fantastic materials, and phenomenal ecosystem for app developers. In a tight race, the iPhone 4 built on the success of its predecessors to set the pace for smartphones," according to a Spanish-language Apple forum site.

Problems with the antenna in the iPhone 4 could not be solved with a software fix and the company told angry customers they would have to buy a special case to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Apple has been sued by users of iPhone 3G and 3GS phones who say that the iOS 4 operating system broke their phones. The antenna problem prompted Consumer Reports to decline to recommend the phone.

It's not clear who picked up the award for Apple at the awards ceremony this week, given that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company declines to participate in the trade show, as is also the case with the Consumer Electronics Show and now even Macworld. (There were no press passes for the Mobile World Congress awards show.)

Last year, the HTC Hero won the best mobile device award.

This time around, HTC won the award for device manufacturer of the year, and the best app overall and best app for the iPhone was the game Angry Birds, which has sales of more than 50 million apps. Google Maps was named the best Android app.

The full list of award winners is here.