According to a round of well-viewed Samsung advertisements, all of those Apple fanboys waiting in line for an iPhone were secretly jealous of the Galaxy S II smartphone.
Now, Apple devotees have even more pieces of Samsung hardware to be secretly jealous of: Samsung won two huge prizes at the Mobile World Congress' Global Mobile Awards, for Best Smartphone of 2011 (for that Samsung Galaxy S II) as well as Device Manufacturer Of The Year.
First, the GSII: Samsung took home the Best Smartphone award for its fanboy-taunting Galaxy S II, which GMA judges called a "phenomenal success around the world [that] has outperformed all its Android rivals and demonstrated the maturity of the ecosystem." The Galaxy S II, Samsung's current flagship phone, was announced in February 2011, at last year's Mobile World Congress, and released in the United States in September; it went on to become a smashing sales success for the Korean electronics company, selling over 20 million units worldwide as of February 2012.
(Speaking of sales successes: Last year's winner for Best Mobile Device was the iPhone 4; despite record-setting sales, the iPhone 4S failed to give Apple the repeat victory).
With the Galaxy S II leading the way, Samsung had a strong 2011, toppling Nokia to become the world's largest smartphone vendor for the third quarter of 2011 while making aggressive strides in the tablet market with its Galaxy Tab series. This, apparently, was enough for the GMA judges, who also gave the Device Manufacturer of the Year award to Samsung, writing that the company saw "[s]uccess across the board with progress in every category, and outperform[ed] rivals in a tough market."
In a written statement given to the press, Samsung mobile exec JK Shin accepted the award: "We are pleased to receive this honor from GSMA and believe that it's a testament to Samsung's innovation, quality products, and attention to consumer preferences. We sold over 97 million smartphones in 2011, demonstrating that this is the right approach."
HTC, meanwhile, was last year's winner for Device Manufacturer of the Year, though the company ended 2011 with weak quarterly earnings and has announced a broad re-branding strategy for 2012 (which you can read about right here).
This year's Global Mobile Awards seemed to represent broad victories for Samsung, with its two headlining awards, and the Android operating system in general. Though the iPad 2 won the Best Handheld Tablet award, many of the notable winners at the GMAs were Android-flavored, including SwiftKey, an Android keyboard, for most Innovative Mobile App, and Google Maps for Android, for Best Consumer Mobile Service.
Apps that run on several different operating systems won the remainder of the consumer prizes, with Angry Birds Rio (available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry) winning Best Mobile App for Consumers and WhatsApp (iOS, Android, Symbian, WP7), a cross-platform messaging app that eliminates the need for SMS text messages, taking the Judge's Choice for Best Overall Mobile App.
Here's a full list of the Global Mobile Award winners; for the judges' reasoning on all winners, head over to the GMA's official website. (Scroll down past the list to view our roundup of the most exciting new gadgets from MWC 2012.)
Best Mobile App for Consumers
Winner: Rovio Entertainment Ltd. - Angry Birds Rio
Best Mobile App for Enterprise
Winner: Citrix Systems - Citrix Receiver
Judges Choice - Best Overall Mobile App
Winner: WhatsApp Inc. - WhatsApp
Most Innovative Mobile App
Best Mobile Advertising & Marketing Campaign
Winner: Brandtone - Carling Black Label "Be the Coach"
Innovation in Mobile Advertising
Winner: Google - Google Wallet
Mobile Marketing & Advertising Agency of the Year
Best Enterprise Mobile Service
Winner: Fiberlink - MaaS360
Best Consumer Mobile Service
Winner: Google - Google Maps for Android
Best Network Product or Solution for Serving Customers
Winner: Turkcell - Turkcell TiklaKonus
Best Product, Initiative or Service for Underserved Segments
Winner: Safaricom - Grundfos
mWomen Best Mobile Product or Service for Women in Emerging Markets
Winner: Etisalat, Qualcomm, D-Tree International and Great Connection Inc. - Etisalat Mobile Baby
Best Use of Mobile in Emergency or Humanitarian Situations
Winner: UBL Omni - transparent and efficient Cash Disbursement service after the 2009 IDPs Crisis and the 2010 Flood Crisis
The Green Mobile Award
Winner: Flexenclosure - E-site
Best Mobile Health Innovation
Winner: Etisalat, Qualcomm, D-Tree International and Great Connection Inc. - Etisalat Mobile Baby
Best Mobile Innovation for Education or Learning
Winner: OnPoint Digital - CellCast Solution
Best Mobile Innovation for Automotive, Transport or Utilities
Winner: Ford Motor Company Ltd. - Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance
Best Mobile Money Innovation
Winner: Etisalat, MasterCard and Oberthur Technologies - Etisalat Commerce
Best Mobile Innovation for Publishing
Winner: Financial Times and Assanka - The Financial Times Web App
Winner: Samsung - Samsung Galaxy S II
Best Feature Phone or Entry Level Phone
Winner: Nokia - Nokia C3-00
Device Manufacturer of the Year
Best Mobile Tablet
Winner: Apple - Apple iPad 2
Best Embedded Mobile Device (Non-Handsets)
Winner: AT&T - Garmin GTU 10
Best Mobile Broadband Technology
Winner: KT - KT's Premium WiFi Solution
Best Infrastructure Technology
Winner: Alcatel-Lucent - lightRadio Network
Best Technology Breakthrough
Winner: Vodafone Group PLC - Quad Rate Technology: an evolved path doubling the efficiency of mobile voice
Best Cloud Based Technology
Winner: Appcelerator - Titanium Integrated Development Platform
Best Technology Product or Solution for Safeguarding and Empowering Customers
Winner: Cloudmark - Cloudmark Mobile Messaging Security Suite
GSMA Chairman's Award
Joint winners: KDDI, NTT DOCOMO, INC. and SOFTBANK MOBILE
Government Leadership Award
Winner: Government of the Republic of Colombia
Some companies, like Apple, have a "One Size Fits All" approach to product design. Samsung, meanwhile, seems to be taking the opposite approach: If One Size doesn't Fit All, then surely All Sizes Will Fit All, right? Don't like this 10-inch tablet? How about a 7-inch tablet, or a 7.7 inch tablet, or a 5.1 inch half-phone/half-tablet? Surely one of those meets your needs? Samsung continued its effort to please all-comers at MWC, showing off (DEEP BREATH) the Galaxy Ace 2, the Galaxy Ace Plus, the Galaxy Note 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 7.7, the Galaxy S Advance, the Galaxy Mini 2, the Galaxy S WiFi 4.2, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, and the Galaxy Tab Ace 3 10.7.1.5 Plus (4G). Okay, that last one was made up (I think), but the point is that Samsung showed off a ton of new hardware, from big to small, at Mobile World Congress. No word on when Apple will begin suing all of these Samsung devices for patent infringement, but I would guess that the paperwork is being drawn up as we speak. So, what's important, interesting, controversial, sexy here? Hard to say. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a ten-inch tablet (iPad-sized) that comes with a stylus and is getting good reviews from those who have tried it. The Galaxy Tab line of non-stylus tablets, meanwhile, adds a new member with the Galaxy Tab 7.7, while the 10-inch Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 7-inch Galaxy Tab 7.0 received their first updates. Actually, the biggest Samsung news of the week probably didn't even come out of Barcelona: Boy Genius Report claimed to have the scoop on the Samsung Galaxy S III, the next flagship Galaxy smartphone. Rumor has it the S III will be a 4.8-inch monster, with a quad-core processor, a "full HD display with 16:9 aspect ratio," and an intriguing ceramic shell case.
Here is the 10-inch version of the Galaxy Note, which I am confident in calling the most high-profile stylus-packing tablet in the market. It runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and is quite thin at 0.37 inches. It boasts a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor, 1GB RAM and up to 64GB storage and 32GB available via microSD. And, yes, it comes with an S-Pen stylus for doodling, note-taking, and the like. For full specifications, check PhoneArena; for a video tour of the 10-inch Galaxy Note, head to Engadget.
The Nokia 808 PureView so thoroughly stole this show that they should have called it the Nokia 808 Thomas Crown Affair. Well, maybe not -- I don't work in marketing. In any case, the talk of the show was indeed the 808 Pureview, the smartphone with a FORTY-ONE megapixel sensor that won the MWC's Best New Mobile Handset prize. Five years in the making, the 808 PureView has some pretty nice specs on its own-- a 4-inch ClearBlack AMOLED screen, a 1.3 GHz processor, 16GB memory with up to 32GB available via MicroSD slot -- but it is the pixel-packing camera that shocked the crowds in Barcelona. 41 megapixels: It's easily the most ever for a smartphone camera and more than many expensive digital cameras (Pixels aren't everything, of course: click here to read why). Nokia points out on its website that the camera on the 808 PureView isn't taking gigantic, wall-sized photos, but is rather combining and overlapping pixels to create what it calls "purer" pixels. Tech pundits are split as to whether the 808 PureView will really deliver meaningfully better photos -- TechCrunch says yes, Gizmodo says no, dubbing it a "stupidphone" -- but one thing is for sure: Nokia's latest was the surprise of Mobile World Congress. And now for some 808 Heartbreak for American consumers: The PureView will only be available in Europe in Q2, running the Symbian OS. Nokia has said it plans to make a Windows Phone version in the future, without providing a timeframe for its release.
A camera that can make phone calls, or a phone that can take pictures? Here are some sample shots taken with the PureView 808, provided by Nokia. Full, uncompressed images available here.
The headline says HTC Unveils One Smartphone, but HTC actually unveiled three smartphones at MWC: All of them just happened to be named the One. That is to say that at MWC, HTC unveiled three One smartphones. (I'm asking you: What's the guy's name on first base???) Though this is, indeed, quite a mouthful, HTC believes it is merely simplifying its offerings with its One line. In 2011, HTC made available to consumers -- by my count -- the Evo, the Rezound, the Titan, the Sensation, the Radar, the Rhyme, the Explorer, the ChaCha, the Salsa, the Incredible, the Desire, the Wildifire, the HD7, the Trophy, the Surround, the Mozart, and the Aria. In 2012, and for the foreseeable future, the Taiwanese handset maker will release smartphones under one moniker: The HTC One. All of these HTC One phones will run Android Ice Cream Sandwich with a modified, less complicated HTC Sense interface. As for killer features, HTC is really pushing the image and audio quality on its One phones, bestowing upon them the tagline "Amazing camera. Authentic sound." On the audio front, the HTC One phones will come pre-loaded with Beats Audio, which for the first time will work for all audio played on the phone (not just in the Beats player, as was the widely-derided reality on last year's Rezound). Click forward to get the details on these three new One phones from HTC, including its big new flagship phone, the HTC One X...
Here's the flagship phone that HTC hopes will change its fortunes: The HTC One X (not to be confused with the X1, which changed the fortunes of aviation and -- well -- science). It has a brilliant 4.7-inch screen with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, is super-light at 130 grams (4.6 ounces) and boasts an 8 megapixel camera with an interesting continuous shooting mode feature, allowing for dozens of pictures to be taken in seconds. It will come to the United States on AT&T with 32GB of storage, 1GB RAM and a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor (quad-core everywhere else, sparking a miniature, very nerdy scandal). The One X will come to America exclusively on AT&T in the coming months. And though the One X was one One introduced at MWC, it was not the only One: HTC also outed its One S, its "mid-sized" 4.3-inch smartphone that will hit T-Mobile soon, and the One V, a 3.7-inch budget One smartphone with a small bump like a Jay Leno chin at the bottom of its face. For full specs on those two One phones, click here for the One S and here for the One V. HTC was, briefly, the number one smartphone maker in the United States, topping Apple and Samsung in the third quarter of 2011, but it had a weak Q4. With the One line, it hopes to retake that crown in 2012.