While Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona recently was flooded with new devices, some vendors are breaking the mold with products differentiated from the rest of the competition. We decided to highlight three devices we found interesting at the show, not necessarily because they were the best and brightest, but because either through their design, hardware or software, they stood out in some way that made them different.
While Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona recently was flooded with new devices, some vendors are breaking the mold with products differentiated from the rest of the competition.
We decided to highlight three devices we found interesting at the show, not necessarily because they were the best and brightest, but because either through their design, hardware or software, they stood out in some way that made them different.
The first such device is Panasonic’s waterproof Eluga, which while slated for its odd name, received fairly high praise from many show goers for its sleekness, speed and ability to withstand the elements.
“It’s waterproof up to three meters for 30 minutes, and also dust proof, so actually, you could really call it a beach phone,” a representative from Panasonic told EE Times.
The 3.6 ounce Eluga runs on a dual core 1GHz OMAP 4430 processor from Texas Instruments Inc., sports a 4.3-inch QHD (960x540) screen, 8GB of internal memory, boasts Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, an eight-megapixel camera with an advanced imaging sensor pulled in from Panasonic’s LUMIX line of digital cameras, as well as a “swipe and share” feature which allows users to 'toss' pictures from the phone to a Panasonic HDTV, or upload it to a cloud service.
Rather disappointingly, the Eluga will apparently run Android 2.3 Gingerbread at launch, but Panasonic has vowed to upgrade the device to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich by the summer. Here’s the device in action:
Another phone that set itself apart at MWC was the Nokia Lumia 900, which while announced at CES is still awaiting its U.S debut, said to be coming in early April.
In a show full of Android phones, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone really set itself apart, and found itself garnering a lot of attention on the show floor.
In terms of hardware, Nokia stayed true to form and did not disappoint, with the handset sporting a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU, 512MB RAM, an eight-megapixel Carl Zeiss f2.2/28mm rear camera, and a 4.3-inch AMOLED display. The Lumia 900 also boasts a 1-megapixel front-facing camera with an f2.4 lens, for video conferencing enabled by a built-in Tango application.
Exclusively for AT&T in the U.S., Nokia’s Lumia 900 is also rather exceptional in that it will cost just $100 on a contract and support LTE, making it exceptionally good value.
But don’t take my word for it, you can see the video of the walk-through below:
Last but certainly not least, is Intel’s smartphone offering, bringing the x86 architecture to mobile at long last. After trying to crack the mobile nut for years, and failing to win any manufacturing partners, Intel decided to go through the backdoor and build its own “reference design” which it has now given directly to carriers like Orange to white-label and sell.
The phone, based on Intel’s Atom Z240 Medfield platform, has a clock speed of 1.6Ghz and runs Google’s Android operating system, which has been specially optimized. The phone will ship with Android Gingerbread at launch, with an upgrade to Ice cream Sandwich soon thereafter.
In addition to a 1024×600 4-inch screen, the device also sports an 8-megapixel camera capable of 10 photos per second and 1080p video capture. It also has an HDMI output which works via an MHL port and mobile wallet functionality thanks to embedded near field communications (NFC).
At 117 grams, the phone is actually lighter than the iPhone 4S and is almost as thin. We took a look at the phone soon after its official launch in Barcelona and got some hands on time with it too. Here’s the video:
With the consolidation of OS for mobile device to 3 - Android, iOS and Windows Mobile, phone vendors are focusing on industry design and hardware as differentiator. I feel like the lack of software and GUI difference makes the soul missing from the phone. I am hoping, soon, there will be more variety of software that is custom-ed to the vendor.
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