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  5. Special report: Trade show sees iPhone challengers weigh in for sales battle

Special report: Trade show sees iPhone challengers weigh in for sales battle

This year’s Mobile World Congress was notable for a profusion of touchscreen mobile phones, as handset manufacturers rushed to regain ground lost to Apple’s all-conquering iPhone. But which phones are genuine, heavyweight contenders for its crown and which are mere makeweights? We take a look at all the major companies’ new touschscreen handsets and assess their chances….

1) Nokia N97

The Nokia N97 has been one of the hits of the show, with the announcement that it will be equipped with Skype effectively stealing a march on competitors who have yet to embrace the technology. Meanwhile, its specifications are nothing if not impressive, with a Qwerty keyboard five megapixel camera installed. However, the N97’s USP appears to be the social location software – a function that harnesses A-GPS, sensors and electronic compass to add a new dimension to social networking.

Could it be a contender? Nokia’s flagship phone is sure to enjoy huge sales, in part due to the incredible loyalty of the Finnish company’s fans. So that’s a maybe.

2) HTC Magic

Produced in collaboration with Vodafone, the HTC Magic harnesses Google’s Android platform and garnered much press attention at the MWC for its tablet-style form that is designed to offer a superior mobile web browsing experience. Among the stand-out features is Google’ Street View maps, which lets you see a panoramic view of your surroundings.

Could it be a contender? HTC’s devices typically enjoy a niche market with business users, while the G1 phone was comprehensively outsold by Apple over Christmas. But we expect this to outperform the first Google phone by some margin.

3) Samsung Omnia HD i8910

Chic looks add to the appeal of this phone, but its USP is that it is the first smartphone which can record in HD. The screen is impressively large and the eight megapixel camera with blink mode as well as face and smile detection is similarly excellent.

Could it be a contender? It’s a great phone, that’s for sure. But its unique HD function could be too much of a niche selling point for it to really penetrate the mass market.

4) Sony Ericsson Idou

The Idou is home to a 12.1 megapixel camera that delivers startlingly crisp and sharp images, which well above a standard we’ve seen so far from mobile phones. And thanks to its large 3.5 inch touchscreen and 16:9 widescreen ratio, viewing images captured on the phone is a joy.

Could it be a contender?

Due for a UK release in December, the Idou will be a must-have for photography enthusiasts. And by eliminating the need to shell out for a digital camera it could pick up sales from cost-conscious consumers.

5) LG 910 Watch Phone

LG’s 910 handset takes the revolutionary form of a watch, which is packed with all the telecommunications features that you get with the latest smartphones. A Bluetooth headset is used for making and receiving calls, while its HSDPA compatibility for fast downloads and music and video player mean that this unique phone no mere gimmick.

Could it be a contender? The revolutionary shape will be a hit with gadget-obsessed types, but might prove a tougher sell to more traditionally minded consumers.

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