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MWC 2010: winners and losers

Winners

Microsoft:

The Redmond-based giant came to Barcelona with a huge amount riding on its rumoured announcement of Windows Mobile 7. When this turned out to be Windows Phone 7 Series, the show’s biggest players were astonished at what a complete root and branch reform it was.

In an instant, Microsoft was transformed from fusty to fantastic. There’s no questioning that it was the big winner of MWC. However, questions now shift to how soon it can get Windows Phone 7 Series out of the door, not to mention serve up more details on Xbox LIVE Integration.

HTC:

As in 2009, HTC emerged from Mobile World Congress with its reputation bolstered by some seriously sweet hardware. While 2009’s HTC Magic laid the groundwork for future phones, the HTC Legend and HTC Desire showed that the Taiwanese tech tiger is leaps and bounds ahead of its Android-making rivals in terms of design and functionality. If any company is well-placed to see off Apple, then HTC is it.

Google:

Google can seemingly do no wrong right now. Android 2.1 found itself in some of Mobile World Congress’s best handsets, from the design-heavy HTC Legend to the ultra cheap but excellent slimmed-down T-Mobile Pulse, the T-Mobile Pulse Mini.

Eric Schmidt’s promises to put mobile first also means Google is well-placed to see off competition from Microsoft and Apple which is bound to arrive later in 2010. A year ago everyone was worried Android would be DOA. Now it’s everywhere.

Winners and losers

Losers

Symbian:

The smartphone OS is due an overhaul. And while there has been plenty of chatter about Symbian v3 getting an airing in the coming weeks, it’s too late, in Europe and the US at least. Developing countries appear to be Nokia’s focus when it comes to Symbian, and it was in no hurry to tout the new look version at Mobile World Congress. But with Espoo’s eyes trained on the new MeeGo OS, it’s let the likes of Google and Microsoft edge their way in and set the standard.

LG:

There’s no doubting that the new LG Mini is a slick looking piece of kit. But the Korean giant failed to land in Barcelona with a phone to beat its arch-rival Samsung’s Beam projector phone, or the excellent Wave. LG is clearly focused on outing affordable devices, but a headline grabber was lacking, especially disappointing after it took plaudits in 2009 for the LG Arena. An opportunity missed.

Apple:

It might not have been there, but no company will have felt the effects of Mobile World Congress quite like Apple. Its dominant position is finally being questioned from all sides. Android is on the march, Microsoft is back and MeeGo will also be seen as a threat. As long as manufacturers can prove to punters that their new handsets are every inch as good as the iPhone, the Cupertino-based tech giants will need to produce a stunning next-gen phone to impress us.

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