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Google's genius pin frenzy attracts hordes at MWC (photos)

An all-conference scavenger hunt and barter economy of whimsical Android badges, a claw game, a twisty slide, and real ice cream sandwiches made Google a top destination all show long.

Pin crazy at Google's booth at MWC 2012
You could say he has "pinterest." At Google's Android booth at MWC 2012. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

BARCELONA, Spain--Typically, attending the last day of a conference puts you face to face with the frantic stragglers trying to grab one last meeting, or the dazed wanderers biding time before a welcome flight home. Not so at Google's MWC booth, which remained a fairground for Android lovers.

It's pointless trying to narrow down a favorite attraction: was it the tablet-controlled claw game that won you an Android plushie, or the contest you could enter to win a bedazzled battery cover for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, made by a robot with an Android face? Perhaps it was the lazy river of Android smartphones over time, or the touchable wall that a third-party design team put together to whip up interaction.

It could have been the handout of actual Android-shaped vanilla ice cream sandwiches passed out every half hour at the smoothie bar, or scooting down the twisty slide so you could pick up your photographic evidence of the moment along with a kitschy-cute pin of an Android figure to stick through your name badge holder.

Once again, the pins in particular were all the rage. Google distributed 86 different pin designs, from Marilyn Monroe (or shall we call her Marilyn Mondroid?) and Elvis, to saxophone-wailing and astronaut greenies. In addition to driving foot traffic to partner booths like Intel, LG, and HTC, the demand and scarcity of the Android push-pins engendered a conference-wide ecosystem of bartering and social networking.

He with the fullest badge lanyard strutted the boldest.