Android Boosts Partnerships

MeeGo may have unfolded, but Google was not intimidated by the announcement by Nokia and Intel. Hardware vendors bit into the Android cupcake and showed their strong support for the operating system by launching phones, tablet PC, music services, location-centric platforms and more. This is important because a mobile phone is no longer viewed as just a device for making calls and the demand for more services and apps continues to soar.

Huawei revealed many smart phones running Android at the Mobile World Congress, the first of which was the U8800, a HSPA+ (4G) smart phone that can support super fast Internet access with download speeds of 14 MBps – that means with the phone you can download a movie within a minute! Other handsets include the U8300 targeted at youth and 2 entry level phones: U8100 and U8110. All the handsets will be powered by Android and will be commercially available by the end of 2010.

Besides phones, Huawei also attempted a tablet PC called the SmartKit S7 which has a 7-inch wide screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 and can be connected to Android handsets.

NVidia continues its push for Tablet PCs by showcasing an Android-based tablet that is powered by its mobile Web processor next generation Tegra, which has been specifically designed for tablet PCs.

Handset manufacturer ZTE intends to launch 5 new Android phones, moving for the first time away from BREW to other operating systems. No details available on what sort of phones these will be or when they will arrive in retail stores.

Handset maker Sony Ericsson also unveiled 2 compact versions of its Android based handset the X10 – the X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro. Mobile World Congress had participating companies actually creating separate Twitter accounts just for the event, something that might see a repeat in future events of this magnitude. Sony Ericsson’s was at Twitter.com/sonyericssonMC.

There’s a dull video of the company’s stall at MWC on Youtube. You ask why we put the link? Just to test if you were paying attention.  Okay, here is a more informative developer demo video that throws some light on the two new handsets.

SE unveiled an application platform for developers called Creations (currently in Beta). It went ahead a step and developed a mobile application called Creations Mobile for the app store Android Market.

Omnifone launched a MusicStation service for Android; German research firm Fraunhofer announced mpeg audio codecs and mobile surround sound. Indian engineers may have contributed to a location-centric platform with connectivity, audio and multimedia for Android and Synergy, a plug-and-play software to enable support for Bluetooth, FM, Wi-Fi and GPS on handsets that were showcased by CSR at the Mobile World Congress. CSR, formerly Cambridge Silicon Radio, merged with wireless chip vendor SiRF last year. SiRF has an engineering centre in India.

Swedish firm TAT Home came out with a flashy, smooth, and what appears to be an exceptionally speedy response to touch user interface for Android phones. Check out the use of gestures in this Youtube video.

Windows Phone 7 Series

At the highly anticipated conference by Microsoft the latest mobile operating system was showcased at the Mobile World Congress. Handsets running the Windows Phone 7 Series will be available by end of the year (it has not been announced when it will arrive in India).

The OS uses tiles in its user interface, and what it called “smart icons” which, when the phone is connected to the Internet, will dynamically change, reflecting updates you may have made online.

There are many new features – some revolving around social experience, others for productivity related Office apps. Also, handsets with the Windows Phone 7 Series will come with a dedicated hardware button for Microsoft’s search engine Bing.com.

Live feeds from social networks, sharing videos and photos are new, but the touch, pinch and gesture based UI reek of “inspiration”.

The online gaming community for its console box, XBox Live, and one for its mp3 player – Zune Social have been integrated into the OS. This is a neat way to cross-sell products and encourage continued participation by users.

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