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February 2010 Roundup
28th February 2010
February saw this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC), dominated by announcements from Samsung and HTC. In a break from tradition, neither Nokia nor LG exhibited at the congress, and Nokia in fact made no significant hardware announcements this month.
The Samsung Wave S8500 launches Samsung's new Bada operating platform onto the market, while it is certainly an appealing device we have yet to see if the public have an appetite for yet another smartphone OS. Another touchscreen phone announced is the Samsung Monte S5620 which has some high-end features couple with a midrange price tag. Two more conventional "Monte" branded devices are the Samsung Monte Slider E2550 and Samsung Monte Bar C3200 which are both pretty conventional handsets. Another touchscreen, but this time a little more down-market is the Samsung Ch@T B3410W. The Samsung I8520 is yet another touchscreen handset, but this time with the unusual addition of a built-in projector. On top of these new announcements, a couple of handsets hitting the market this month are the Samsung Genoa C3510 and the unashamedly girlie Samsung Diva S7070.
MWC is always a significant event for HTC, and this year they announced three important additions to their smartphone range. The most powerful device announced this month was the high-end HTC Desire, an Android phone with a very similar specification to the Google Nexus One. A bit further down the range technically, but possessing a huge amount of "wow factor" when it comes to design is the HTC Legend. Finally, in a month that saw a rash of so-called "mini" handsets, the HTC HD Mini takes most of the features of a high-end smartphone and shrinks them into a pocket-friendly form.
Sony Ericsson launched several new handsets this month in an attempt to turn the corner from a miserable 2009. The Sony Ericsson Vivaz Pro is an attractive Symbian touchscreen phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Sony Ericsson Aspen is their first BlackBerry-style messaging device, and the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro are two very compact Android smartphones.
Although LG sponsored the big MWC event this year, they were strangely absent from the show itself. Annoyingly, LG like to keep technical specifications secret until closer to the launch date, so this month's releases were short of details. The LG GD880 Mini is the phone LG was making the biggest fuss over, an attractive and very compact touchscreen phone that should appeal to the style conscious. The LG GS500 Cookie Plus will be a straightforward upgrade to the popular GD500 Cookie handset. Finally, the LG GT350 should appeal to messaging enthusiasts.
Nokia didn't really have any major handset announcements this month, but the biggest news was the merger of the Maemo and Moblin platforms to create MeeGo, a new operating system for high-end smartphones that will be developed with Intel. Other announcements included the slightly upgraded Nokia 6303i "classic" phone and the slightly downgraded (and cheaper) Nokia X6 16GB.
Lots of other manufacturers showed their wares this month, the highlights of which include the new Motorola QUENCH Android smartphone, the ultra-cheap Vodafone 150 and 250 handsets, the Toshiba TG02 and KS02 high-end Windows smartphones, the incredibly rugged Sonim XP2 Spirit, the surprisingly clever solar-powered PUMA PHONE, plus a whole range of handsets to challenge the market from Huawei. Finally, Microsoft wowed observers with a preview of their new Windows Phone 7 Series which tears up the rulebook and hope to re-establish Microsoft as a major player in the mobile OS market.
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