Mobile is huge. For some evidence of how huge, take a look at the vast crowds of attendees at the recent Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Some 60,000 people attended the event, and the amount of content and technology on show was simply staggering. Scribble were very excited to join the crowds this year. News is still filtering through the networks, and with so much to take in, it is hard to know where to start. We will spend the next few weeks talking about some of the hot topics for mobile this year to come out of the MWC, beginning with an overview of new mobile devices on show at the event.
Many handsets are now appearing with quad-core processors – making them capable of high performance in entertainment applications such as videogame graphics and HD video playback. It also means that devices will be able to perform processor-heavy tasks such as real-time image processing for better camera performance and photo and video editing.
Android is continuing to gain momentum, powering many of the major smartphones on show. Their new operating system “Ice-Cream Sandwich” was also on show, in handsets such as the impressive LG Optimus 4X HD and the HTC One X.
In terms of competition, Apple still hold a very strong spot in the marketplace for tablets, especially with the recently announced iPad3 refreshing their lineup. But the MWC showed that tablets are here to stay. Rather than a competition to see who is crowned the winner, the entry of many new sizes and forms of tablets is testament to the arrival of a new category of devices that is sure to replace the PC for a number of common tasks, and allow more flexible mobile computing.
The metric for comparison still remains the iPad, which has set many precedents. Some tablets will attempt to stand out simply with a smaller price tag, but there are a number of stand-out tablets hoping to carve a niche by offering something new, such as using docking stations to offer the functionality of a laptop, or having controls and graphics capabilities tailored for gaming on the go, many devices at the show were even touting water resistance, with basins of water ready to dump expensive digital devices into!
Many new smartphones are emerging with a larger form-factor. This move comes in tandem with faster processors and advances in screen technology – all with the aim of driving bigger and more impressive displays, for movies, gaming and making web and text content easier to read. The LG Optimus 4X HD, LG Optimus Vu, HTC One X, Panasonic Eluga and many more have 4-inch and above screen sizes. The Asus Padfone even connects to a docking station (essentially a touchscreen) to turn it into a 10inch tablet computer.
Whilst there are still comparatively few Windows Phones available, demonstrations of Microsoft Windows 8 clearly show that Microsoft is heavily invested in the future of mobile. Their new operating system runs on both PCs and tablets – as opposed to having a separate system for each – and is designed with touch in mind. Microsoft have been largely absent in mobile technology in recent years, but their impressive technology shows that they are likely to be a major player as the mobile sector matures.