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February 2011 Roundup
28th February 2011
February is by far the busiest month in the mobile phone releases calendar. Most major manufacturers were showing off high-end smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, typically running Android.
Nokia / Microsoft tie-up
Probably the biggest news of the month was the controversial announcement that Nokia will switch to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone operating system, which is positive in many ways but may lead to gaps in their product range.
All of HTC's releases this month were running Android. HTC's first tablet device, the 7" HTC Flyer is one of the best looking tablets we have seen, but promises to command a premium price tag. A pair of phones for Facebook fans, the HTC ChaCha and Salsa come with a dedicated button to keep you in touch with your friends. A trio of "S" phones indicate upgrades from last year's models - the HTC Desire S is a very slight upgrade to the original best-selling Desire and is likely to be a very popular smartphone. At the bottom of the range, the original Wildfire gets a significant boost with the HTC Wildfire S. A worldwide version of a Verizon phone, the HTC Incredible S fits in near to the top of HTC's Android smartphone range.
Sony Ericsson showed off three powerful Android smartphones this month. The headlining device was the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, a normal looking handset until you slide it open to find some clever PlayStation style gaming controls. Two very closely related smartphones are the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo and Xperia Pro, relatively high end devices that are similar in most ways except that the Pro has a QWERTY keyboard.
The Bada-powered Samsung Wave 578 is one of only a very small number of non-Android handsets announced this month. One of last year's best Android phones get a significant update with the powerful Samsung Galaxy S II. Also filling out the Galaxy line, the compact Samsung Galaxy S WiFi Android tablets come in 4 inch or 5 inch versions with all the features of an Android smartphone.. just without the phone. And right at the other end of the tablet market, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is much bigger, faster and easier to use that last year's original Tab device.
HP showed off a new version of its WebOS platform, bought from Palm. Out of these the HP Pre 3 is an interesting smartphone and a huge improvement over the original Palm Pre models. Doing pretty much the same thing as the Pre 3, but in a much more compact package is the HP Veer. HP also showed that they are keen for WebOS to compete with the iPad with the HP TouchPad tablet.
Featuring both a 3D screen and 3D video capture, the LG Optimus 3D goes into a dimension that no other phone does.. but is there actually any consumer demand? LG also get into the game with their own tablet (also with 3D video capture), the LG Optimus Pad.
The INQ Cloud Touch is an inexpensive Android phone aimed at Facebook users, at the other end of the Android spectrum is the Motorola PRO with a built in QWERTY keyboard aimed at business and professional customers.
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