The term "smartphone" just doesn't do the category justice now, as the world's biggest mobile show in Barcelona is being used to unveil a host of super-computers in your hand, radical redesigns, media super-devices (like a 41 megapixel camera) and much more. Check out what's at the show from the likes of Sony, Nokia and others as the show gets underway.
There's Hi-Res, Then There's Nokia Hi-Res
Lots of phone makers are waving their new products around Barcelona's Mobile World Congress event, touting a step-up here, a bigger screen there and faster processors in everything. But few will be able to match what Nokia has to offer with its 808 Pure View, a Symbian Belle OS device with a Carl Zeiss lens tied to a 41 megapixel CCD to produce monster resolution images that don't degrade when you use the 4X digital zoom.
Claiming 41 megapixels (7152 x 5368) for standard format and 34 megapixels (7728 x 5354) for native-format 16x9 images, the camera moves the features offered by the phone market in a massive leap. But, will phone users really feel the need for that leap, along with its Dolby Digital Plus audio, especially on a Symbian phone?
Nokia's monster camera lens in a phone
At the more prosaic level, Nokia also showed off the Lumia 610, a budget 3G Windows Phone that should help widen the appeal of the range. Running the tweaked Tango version of the OS it has been reported to be just as smooth as its bigger brothers and offers a design and features heavily weighted for the teen audience.
HTC Works on its Quads
Trying to boost its share, HTC has a range of devices across the Android and Window Phone markets. Top of the heap, with a quad-core processor and a 12-core GPU at the heart of its new NTC One X, an Android 4.0 phone that could happily plug into most data centers.
More power than your laptop, but in a phone!
Note, the U.S. will get a reduced power version of this insanely-powered phone that forgoes the quad-core element to pack in LTE, and presumably extend the battery life from nano-seconds to something more acceptable.
Sony's First Solo Show
Having split from Ericsson, Sony is now showing off phones under its own brand with a new diminutive Sony Xperia U model aimed at the lower end but still with a dual-core processor. Slightly higher up comes the Xperia P model at the mid-market with a brushed aluminum body, a screen for use in the brightest conditions and an 8mp camera.
These might seem like tiny steps compared to some of its rivals, but Sony is feeling its way toward a neat product line-up.Presumably its engineers are preparing the big guns for later this year when
ZTE Is Making Waves
In all areas of the market, ZTE is on a big push, with the Orbit budget Windows Phone also running Tango, and an Android quad-core in the Era device among its offerings. The Era packs in a 1.3Ghz Tegra 3, 4.3-inch qHD display, an 8mp camera.
ZTE is coming up the smartphone charts
The Era is a step above some of the company's earlier poorly designed and cheap feeling efforts, suggesting the company is looking to eat up market share.The company is also heavily involved in the back-end of the mobile industry and showed off a TD-LTE pico basestation to improve coverage for these fledgling networks.
By The Numbers
As everyone awaits Apple's next move, Google announced it is activating some 850,000 Android devices a day with some 300 million active devices and approach half-a-million apps in its store, staggering numbers.
Anyone selling Windows Phones will have to hope the platform makes its move this year, otherwise it will simply be out of sight of iOS and Android, among the back-markers when it comes to market share, developer affiliation and investment. We'll add more phones as they're unveiled, with the show proper getting underway today.