Speed 28 February 2012

It’s always the way with MWC, if you’re not attending keynote sessions or checking news or #MWC12 to see what’s happening, you do tend to lose track of what’s going on and what’s being announced or indeed what on Earth is happening in the real world, as lets face it, MWC can be a lot of smoke and mirrors, especially in terms of technology working – just ask @twofourseven Julio Romo.

Tapas and tablets

In Barcelona it’s incredibly easy to find bad tapas. The same can probably be said for MWC and tablet devices. It’s not like the conference has been inundated with tablets, unlike the Met, not that many manufacturers are giving out tablets, let alone horses. There are however a few devices on show, without naming any names, that just make you stop and think “really? This is what you’re pinning your tablet hopes on for the next 12 months? No putting it in to a Porsche doesn’t make it any better.”

With that out of the way, whats been catching the eye so far? Here’s a quick run down of what’s caught my interest.

There can only be One

HTC has come under fire over the last year as it has perhaps churned out handset after handset without much thought in attempt to flood the market with Android devices. It seemed to be heading down a dead end street – quantity over quality.

It might have been Google’s acquisition of Motorola last year that gave the company the jolt it needed to try a little harder, but whatever it was, it seems to have worked. HTC arguably have the phone of the conference with the One X. It’s a beautiful device, that will definitely be giving the likes of Samsung a run for its money in the Android stakes this year. You can also bet that the guys from Apple walking the floor at this year’s show (you can’t see them, but make no mistake they’re here – like undercover CIA agents), will definitely be taking note of the HTC One series phones.

Nothing to Note from Samsung

As it pulled showing the Galaxy S III at MWC, Samsung is giving the Note a huge push, but can it bring the stylus back from oblivion?

What actually caught my eye on the Samsung stand was a couple of laptops it had – very Apple-esque in terms of looks. One of them seems a little too close for comfort to the MacBook Air. Needless to say, very nice pieces of kit.

Huwei and ZTE handsets are coming to the UK in April. Two of the biggest device manufacturers in Asia will be distributing a number of devices through operator partners from Q2 this year. Both have been showing off some powerful hardware, prodominently running Android and the occasional Windows phone. Definitely two to keep an eye on this year.

Nokia Adventures

Taking a leaf out of Android’s MWC 2011 play book, Nokia (with some of Microsoft’s budget) has taken it one step further. Taking over one of the top sections of Hall 7, half of the Nokia experience is about devices, such as the Lumia 900 and the 808 (42mp camera phone). That’s right, a phone with a 42megapixel sensor for the camera. It’s certainly grabbed a lot of headlines but can you imagine trying to upload that photo to Facebook or Twitter while on the go?! It would take forever and cost as much as the phone itself.

The other half of Nokia’s space is purely a place for people meet and sit down, drink free coffee, eat free popcorn and jump on the free wifi – which is fantastic. By doing this Nokia gets a lot of people to come sit down, do their business around a healthy dose of Nokia people and continuous videos showing videos of the latest handsets and what Nokia’s doing throughout the week. Even if it might have been done with some Microsoft money, well played Nokia. Well played.

PayPaella

PayPal and ebay have a big presence this year and perhaps rightly so given the push around mobile commerce they’ve been making this last year. Set up as more of a demo experience, the stand has a number of items visitors can scan with a QR code reader to go through a purchase process (CHECK).

It’s a great idea but it seems to be preaching to the choir. Most of the industry knows how PayPal is being implemented across events etc. the bigger push has to be around wider consumer education and adoption.

PayPal has put itself to the test for congress delegates by having a code to scan to skip the long queues outside for paella and get €1 off the price. Great stuff….The problem with this however, is that when you advertise that code all over the place, you start to get long queues of people who have scanned to avoid the queue.

It is, unfortunately, inevitable to be queuing for pretty much everything at MWC, from coffee to chairs, taxis to toilets, there isn’t really a way around it. Much like the fragmented approach to mobile payments….which is something for another blog post, another time.

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