Mobile World Congress: Best in Show?

So I'm back at my desk in rainy London, after a few days in rainy Barcelona, running around trying to hit up all the phones of Mobile World Congress.

Not that it was very hard. Several manufacturers didn't show any handsets and all, and Nokia and LG weren't even part of it.

Both companies still held events off-site though: Nokia to announce that it was merging its Maemo OS with Intel's to create something called a MeeGo, and LG to show off four somewhat interesting handsets, including a '3-Syncer' phone that would remember your browsing history between phone and PC.

Sony Ericsson was on form with a new lineup of six or seven (or three, if you think phones with keyboards stuck on don't really count as new models). There was Windows Mobile, Android and Symbian; the Vivaz HD and keyboarded brother Vivaz Pro are perfect if you just want to take pictures and shoot video; the Aspen is a BlackBerry-looking 'green' phone; and the Xperia X10 is that long-awaited Flagship Android Phone from Sony Eric. The demo guy informed me what he was showing me still wasn't final version, by the way, so don't hold your breath, because you'll be dead by April when it's meant to launch.

Samsung's stand made up for any missing manufacturers with an area about twice the size of anyone else's. Just three new phones though, one of which everyone's going to care about this year. The Wave is Sammy's own Flagship Android Phone, with an incredibly bright, next-gen AMOLED screen and Samsung's best touch ever - and even my previously hated TouchWiz interface looks and behaves way slicker. I somehow managed to make four Wave phones in a row freeze and reboot themselves though. Don't worry, those didn't have final version software either.

Motorola had five really Android strong phones on show, but only one was actually new and available for the UK - the Quench. Too bad, because the Backflip looks really special, with that back-bending keyboard. I also got some great video  (to be posted!) of marketing director Tom Satchwell giving me the best product demo of the show. I can't believe he even needs a day job.

Probably the company that caused the biggest splash was HTC - and even though every journalist there knew what it'd be showing, we were still wowed by the 1Ghz-packing Desire and the achingly sleek Legend. In fact, the Desire (nee Bravo) was the subject of all the pre-MWC hype, but I have a feeling it's the Legend, made from a single block of hollowed out aluminium, that everyone will be wish-listing. Something about that perfect matte silver reminds you of a certain fruity laptop... and that's what HTC CEO Jon French told me. He was positively ebullient every time I saw him, and rightly so - HTC had an awesome lineup, and hence a lot to talk about.

I would've liked to see more tech that I can't actually own in the next three months though. Like Powermat's concept area where they were powering blenders through the kitchen counter, and NTT Docomo's stand with wacky eye-controlled headphones, and a phone you can pull apart to talk and browse the web at the same time. Sure, they'll never make it to UK, but you know, I guess I was expecting more stuff that I hadn't expected.

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