Mobile World Congress - Day 2 roundup
12:35 pm February 17, 2010
More handset launches today, this time from HTC and Sagem Wireless, but not Blackberry. Also, there were the GSMA Global Mobile Awards and Party
HTC had a busy day, announcing three new handsets: HD Mini, Desire and Legend. All 3 have GPS, WiFi and dual-band (900/2100MHz) 7.2Mbps HSDPA connectivity but otherwise are quite different. Th HD Mini is effectively a scaled down, powered down version of the HD2 that will be running Windows Mobile 6.5 and will not be receiving an update to the recently announced Windows Phone 7 Series.
The Desire, previously known as the Bravo, was also unveiled and as expected is pretty much an unbranded Google Nexus One. It has the 1GHz Snapdragon processor and runs Android 2.1 and looks almost identical. There are a few superficial differences such as an optical trackpad opposed to a trackball but most importantly the Desire has the latest version of the HTC Sense UI.
The Legend is the long-awaited successor to the HTC Hero and looks in every way a worthy replacement. The prettiest of the new launches has a case made from a single piece of aluminium and has the ‘chin’ that made the Hero so striking. The Legend also comes with Android 2.1 of HTC Sense, a 3.2″ HVGA AMOLED display, 5 megapixel camera and an optical joystick. The Legend is expected to be with us in the next month while the Desire and HD Mini will be releases in both Europe and Asia in Q2.
One particularly interesting phone announcement came in the form of the Puma Phone. Made by Sagem Mobile and carrying Puma branding the unimaginatively named Puma Phone looks to be quite a fun and interesting handset; the phone not only comes with a pet puma called Dylan but also has an audio player with a ’scratchable’ turntable. It also comes with a GPS speedo, GPS run tracker, stopwatch and, somewhat bizarrely, a yachting compass. Most interesting is the solar panel on the back of the phone which can provide up to 15 minutes talk time or two hours audio playback for an hour of charge. Essentially a feature phone, the device is aimed at a young active market and lands in Europe this April. All the software on the device was developed by one of our clients Myriad Group.
One company not to announce a new handset yesterday was RIM. It was widely expected that the BlackBerry Magnum, a cross between the Bold 9000 and Storm, would be unveiled in Barcelona this year but it seems that will have to wait. RIM, however, did not leave us empty-handed announcing the BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express. The free BESX software will allow small and medium sized businesses with a Microsoft Exchange to wirelessly synchronise contacts, edit Microsoft Office documents and manage emails all from their BlackBerries. The introduction of this software will be quite the incentive for small and medium businesses to standardise on BlackBerries in future.
Yesterday also saw the Global Mobile Awards Ceremony take place. Hosted and presented by celebrity technophile Stephen Fry awards were given out in 19 different categories with the HTC Hero winning in the Myriad-sponsored Best Mobile Handset or Device category. Other categories included Best Mobile Money Service, Best Mobile Game and Best Network Technology Advance. Perhaps most exciting was the evening celebration party where, straight out of 1982, Duran Duran performed. I’m not sure it gets better.