What We Missed at Mobile World Congress 2011

Didn't attend the 2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC)? I didn't either, and typically MWC isn't even an event we cover. However, with the growing role mobility is playing in today's enterprises (and on IT's radar), I thought a brief update of the highlights would be in order.

New Tablets:

The following tablets were introduced at MWC 2011:

HP TouchPad - The HP TouchPad is the first tablet running webOS, the OS behind the Palm Pre and Pixi. It's a 9.7" tablet with a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor. A Wi-Fi version is expected this summer, and 3G and 4G versions will follow. Preliminary reviews of the webOS interface have been very positive.

HTC Flyer - The HTC Flyer is HTC's first tablet—a 7" device with a 1.5 GHz processor. One surprising bit about the HTC Flyer is that it will run Android 2.4, not Android 3.0. However, HTC has said that since the Android interface is being supplemented with the company's HTC Sense UI http://www.htc.com/www/htcsense/index.html, it won't be a big stumbling block. The release date is Q2.

LG Optimus Pad - The LG Optimus Pad is a 8.9" tablet running Android 3.0 with a Tegra 2 dual-core processor. The Optimus Pad will be able to capture 3D video, which is interesting. (Note that you will need to either wear 3D glasses or stream the video to a 3D-capable TV to see the 3D effect.) This device is expected in March.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is Samsung's second Galaxy Tab—this one has the larger, 10.1" screen (hence the name), and will run Android 3.0. A release date isn't available yet.

Acer Iconia - Acer showcased three Iconia devices: The A100, a 7" Android tablet running Android 2.2; the A500, a 10.1" tablet running Android 3.0, and the Iconia Tab W700, which is a tablet running Windows 7. I'm most curious about the W700, but details are scarce.

Huawei Ideos S7 - Huawei showed two new tablets—the S7 Slim and S7 Pro. The S7 Slim is a 7" tablet that will run on Android 2.2 and sell for $300. The S7 Pro is a 7" tablet that will run on Android 2.4, 1.2 GHz processor, no price released that I can find. Clearly the S7 Slim is trying to hit a low price point, but customers might be turned off by such an old version of Android. Release date is slated for April.

There were also a host of new smartphones announced

Notable Keynotes:

Steve Ballmer, Windows Phone 7 - Ballmer confirmed that many of the must-have smartphone features we've been hearing about will be on Windows Phone 7 shortly, such as copy and paste and multi-tasking for third-party apps. Also forthcoming are IE9 on Windows Phone 7 and Kinect integration (not sure how that will look yet).

Eric Schmidt, Google Android - The most interesting news from Schmidt's keynote was the introduction of a new app called Movie Studio, which will let tablet users (on Android 3.0) do light video editing. (You can see a clip from the keynote showing Movie Studio here.)

Stephen Elop, Nokia/Microsoft Alliance - Nokia CEO Stephen Elop focused his keynote on the new Nokia/Microsoft alliance. It's clear from recent blogs and comments on social media that most tech enthusiasts feel like Nokia is tying itself to a failing platform and making a big mistake. What do you think?

(Related Reading: Microsoft, Nokia Partner for Smartphones)

What does all this news mean for you as an IT pro? Not too much, except that the mobile OS platform battle continues, and you and your organization will have to make tough decisions about what devices and platforms to support, and to what extent. I've included some articles with more details about mobility management in the related reading section below.

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