After four days and what feels like a lifetime of grueling 10-hour shifts, Mobile World Congress 2012 is almost over.
As the world’s phone and tablet manufacturers (minus Apple, of course) begin to tear down their many, many stalls (there’s a genuinely ludicrous number of companies here), it’s time for the obligatory review of the show. Best Mobile World Congress ever or waste of freakin’ time?
Rather than go on an unstructured rant, it’s probably easier if I break this down into categories. Yeah, that’d make sense. Of course, this is merely my opinion; I don’t speak for Martin or anyone else on Team Mobot.
Best Smartphone – HTC One X
Well, you know me. It was always going to be the HTC One X. I’ve had that bad boy earmarked as my next phone since it broke cover as the HTC Edge in November 2011.
A series of leaks had already given away the 4.7in Super LCD2 720p display, quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and the presence of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).
What we didn’t expect, however, was the jaw-dropping camera, easily up there with the best that smartphones have to offer. It weighs in at 8MP with 1080p video capture, and – thanks to the HTC One X’s dual shutter – you can snap and record at the same time.
You can nip from the homescreen to the camera in 0.7 seconds, and there’s also a burst mode that captures up to 99 pics in 0.2-second intervals. No wonder HTC’s CEO Peter Chou describes it as “the only camera you’ll ever need.”
April can’t come soon enough.
Runner up - Nokia PureView 808
Best Tablet – Asus PadFone
The Asus PadFone isn’t just a tablet. No sir, it’s a smartphone, a tablet and a netbook - all in one. We’ve been waiting since May 2011 to get a glimpse of the Asus PadFone in action, and it doesn’t disappoint.
At its core, the Asus PadFone is a 4.3in smartphone with a Super AMOLED display, and you can magnify that display by popping it in the 10.1in tablet shell.
Furthermore, you can dock the tablet in the optional keyboard (very Asus Eee Pad Transformer), and there’s a stylus. But that’s not all! The stylus can be used to answer calls. Gee Whiz.
We’re not sure how much the Asus PadFone will cost just yet (that'll be the crucial part), but it’s expected to drop in April.
Runner up - Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
Best Manufacturer – HTC
There’s a good chance we’ll go into this category in greater detail later on, in the style of MWC 2011: all the big players rated, but for now I’ll simply say that – for me – HTC nailed it.
Less is truly more, and HTC hit the proverbial nail on the head three times with the low-end HTC One V, mid-tier HTC One S and the quad-core HTC One X. True, there’s no tablet from HTC this year, but I can’t imagine why anyone would buy an Android tablet over an iPad anyway. There, I said it.
Runner up - Huawei
Biggest Surprise – Nokia PureView 808
Er, this category might as well have been called Only Surprise, and of course the award goes to the Nokia PureView 808.
While most other devices had been leaked in massive detail in the months immediately preceding Mobile World Congress, the Nokia PureView 808 came as a genuine shocker first thing on Monday morning.
Indeed, if anyone had told us there’d be a smartphone with a 41MP camera at Mobile World Congress, we’d have laughed in – and quite possibly punched – their big lying face. However, it’s all true. Impressive stuff.
Runner up - Er, the HTC One XL is an LTE-rockin’ dual-core variant of the HTC One X
Biggest Disappointment – no Samsung Galaxy S III
We were warned about this one ahead of time, but the absence of the Samsung Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress still hurt. In the end, Samsung turned up with another Galaxy Tab, another Galaxy Note, and another two Galaxy Aces. Yawn (for the most part).
Runner up - Windows Phone 7 (more on this later!)
Where the heck was the…?
To be fair, the last thing we can stomach at the moment is another Samsung Galaxy Tab; like I said before: I don’t like Android tablets; and the BlackBerry London is still ages away. Probably.
And so ends Mobile World Congress 2012. I think they're about to chuck us out, actually. Perfect timing!