So another Mobile World Congress (MWC) comes and goes and we've just about got our breath back. While last month's CES was particularly productive in terms of mobile devices being announced, MWC remains the highlight in the mobile tech calendar. It's here where we get a shape for the next twelve months not just in terms of the flagship devices unveiled, but also the direction and trends the mobile industry is taking. If CES was the time of the tablet, then it was gaming that was very much at the top of the agenda at MWC 2011. Of course the concept of mobile gaming is nothing new, remember Nokia's ill-fated N-Gage episode? However, perhaps on the back of the phenomenally successful Angry Birds the manufacturers and app developers are grabbing the gaming community by the joystick and not only introducing new titles, but even specific devices to play them on. Of course the perfect example of this is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play aka the much anticipated Playstation phone. While this is a fully equipped smartphone, complete with the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, it's its gaming credentials that have got both hacks and consumers ogling as though it were an episode of Baywatch.
Sony Eric weren't the only ones to throw their cap into the gaming arena, with LG unveiling their 3D tablet, the LG Optimus Pad. Unlike their Optimus 3D smartphone, to enjoy the three-dimensional effect you will need to wear those glasses that, well let's be honest make you look a bit of a tool, but the manufacturer has loaded the device with the Tegra Zone, a portal to a host of 3D games. Well we say 'host', at present there's actually only two 3D gaming titles available to LG Optimus Pad users. In contrast Sony Ericsson says it already has 50 games ready for launch. Let's hope LG's portfolio increases in time for next month's arrival, otherwise the Optimus Pad may face a backlash from the gaming community before it's even had a chance to showcase its talents.
HTC too has been busy on the multimedia front. Their own tablet, the HTC Flyer will come preloaded with OnLive, a cloud-based gaming service. Though HTC is playing its cards close to its chest in terms of the number of titles that will be available at launch, they have shown their intent by confirming the likes of Assassin's Creed II, NB2K11 and Lego Batman.
Gaming aside, Samsung showed their faith in NFC (Near Field Communication), the contactless payment process that enables you to pay for a purchase by simply swiping your phone over a reader. Similar to how you use your Oyster card on London transport. Many are tipping this technology to really take of this year - though for it to be a true success vendors need to embrace it as much as the consumer - and Samsung for one will be hoping this is the case after unveiling the NFC enabled Samsung Galaxy S II and the Samsung Wave 578, while they were also the manufacturer behind the Google Nexus S.
To be honest we've heard murmurings that MWC 2011 didn't fulfil everyone's techy desires in terms of one stand-out product. While we're not necessarily of that thinking, it's the potential of both gaming (and video) and to a lesser extent NFC that has really got us looking forward to the coming months. The fact that this is across the board in terms of manufacturers can only be a good thing for us consumers.
Are you a gamer? Which product unveiled at MWC has got you most excited? What do you make of NFC? Tell us your thoughts. We want to hear them.