Mobile Event of the Year

This week I attended the Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona. It is one of the largest gatherings of everything in the...

This week I attended the Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona. It is one of the largest gatherings of everything in the mobile technology sphere. Announcements were plentiful. Here are some highlights.

Tons of new phones were announced. The ones that caused the biggest splashes were from Sony Ericsson and Nokia. Sony unveiled a whole new lineup of devices that range from low-end to the high end. The one that is most interesting is a new Windows Mobile smartphone that is aimed squarely at the North American market.

Rather that be just another WinMo phone, it has a unique main menu system that consists of nine panels filling the screen. Think of the icons on the main screen of the iPhone. Each panel is totally customizable, and is essentially a different home screen that is called up whenever you press it (oh, it is a touchscreen device, by the way). One press brings up the new home screen that can be loaded with several different shortcuts or applications. It is pretty neat. It lets you quickly access what you want, and ignore the fact that you're actually using a smartphone. Of course, it does let you access all the business productivity tools that WinMo offers.

The other new phones generating the most buzz are from Nokia. It announced new additions to its N series multimedia phones (read: phones that are music and photography minded). The N96 is a premium device that has literally everything the mobile ecosystem has to offer. Music? Yep. 5-megapixel camera? You got it. High-speed mobile Internet? Of course. Blogging tools? Its in there. GPS navigation? Found it.

Really, the list of features goes on and on. It is a highly capable device.

Both go on sale in the third quarter of 2008. Expect to pay premium prices for these high-end phones.