Ubuntu Touch wins best of show, software dominates at MWC

Here's our highlights from the last 24 hours at Mobile World Congress -- including the results of our prestigious best of show award.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read

Mobile World Congress may be trundling to a close and the good ship CNET packing up to sail back to London, but here are some highlights from the last 24 hours you may have missed -- including the results of our prestigious best of show award.

While it's hardware, the physical object, that usually gets everyone excited when they buy a brand-new blower, it's the mobile operating systems that have really revolutionised how we use our phones today. Perhaps it's not surprising then that at Mobile World Congress, where many manufacturers annually flush out batches of mid-range phones running Android, that it's the cutting-edge software developments that get us excited.

With that in mind, we're pleased to announce Canonical's new Ubuntu Touch OS as our favourite product of Mobile World Congress 2013. A nine-strong judging team made up of CNET staff from London, New York and San Francisco decided together that the slick, elegant tablet version of the software they went hands-on with was the most complete and polished package. Be sure to check out the full preview and hit play on the video below to see the OS in action.

Close behind Ubuntu was Mozilla's Firefox OS, which scored the runner-up position due to the impressive number of networks and manufacturers that have signed up in support of it. We've already seen the OS running on Alcatel and ZTE, but we think possibly the best way to test out Firefox OS so far is on devices made by Spanish start-up Geeksphone.

We went hands-on with the Geeksphone Keon and its superior sibling the Geeksphone Peak, which you can geek out over by hitting play on the hands-on video below. The Peak sports a 4.3-inch, 960x540-pixel screen and packs a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor into a sturdy chassis, which reminded us a little of Nokia's Lumia range.

It wasn't only operating systems that caught our eye in the software stakes though. We couldn't help but notice that NFC was everywhere at Mobile World Congress this year, and our minds were truly boggled by EyeVerify, a piece of tech that takes face-recognition security to a whole new level by scanning the individual veins in your eyes.

Also among the impressive offerings was new technology from chipmaker STMicroelectronics that lets you control your smart phone or tablet without actually touching the display.

Still can't get enough of MWC? Check out our roundups of the hottest phones, slickest tablets, must-see videos and the mobile oddities we spied along the way.

Which product won your seal of approval from this year's show? Cast your vote in the comments or over on our Facebook page.