My predictions for MWC 2009

On a personal note, I wish it was still referred to as 3GSM.  Sounds a lot cooler than MWC.  Especially when you learn what “MWC” stands for–“Mobile World Congress.”  Sounds like white people in suits.  Sounds like no fun.

Anyway, last year’s “MWC’ was pretty good.  Not great, but good.  It saw the intro of Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1, which in my opinion stole the show, even though it is only a mediocre device, spec-wise, and ended up being released like a bajillion years later.  It also saw the announcement of Nokia’s N96, which is a disgrace to the Nseries brand.  But, hey.

This year looks like it’s going to be amazing.  Knock your socks off awesome.

It’s kind of interesting too, because there will be a lot of ultra-high end offerings this year by the sounds of things.  The reason this is interesting is that there is a global financial meltdown and expensive phones are probably the last things people will be looking to buy.  However, these phones being introduced were developed a good year and a half to two years ago before any of the economy went into the ol’ crapper and delaying or canceling them now would be worse than releasing them and having them not sell as well.  Still, I read a report a while ago saying the high-end market is actually the most lucrative for a mobile company in a crisis like this, so go figure.

Anyway, I’m looking at Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia as the three big guns at the show.

Sony Ericsson may disappoint, to be honest.  They’ve been having some major smartphone issues recently with the death of Symbian-based UIQ and the “new” Symbian not ready until late this year or even next.  Their only smartphone at the moment is the X1, which is Windows Mobile, which sucks.  They have committed to Android, however, and are making at least one Symbian-based smartphone, though it’s unclear when that will be unveiled and which Symbian it will be—S60 or the new Symbian Foundation interface.

However, the Walkman Hikaru will probably be announced, which is good.  8 MP camera, 8 GB of storage, 3.5mm jack, GPS, WiFi.  Great on paper, but apparently not a smartphone.  However, the next generation of the proprietary SE interface may be unveiled and will be known as A3.  Will A3 support touch?  Don’t know.  All it’s likely to be is a Walkman version of the C905—the W905, most likely

SE may also announce the X2, but that’s unknown.  They will, however, announce the C901 and C903, both of which seem to be the same phone (5MP and Xenon) but in different forms.  They are not deserving of the “9” index at all in my opinion.

Samsung looks good.  On Feb. 9 they’ll be announcing their “major release” for 2009.  What does this mean?  Who knows.  But it’s likely to be good—coming off such hits as the i8510 and M8800, Samsung has had some really awesome devices recently.  Rumors stated they’d be rolling out an 8MP camera phone with optical zoom in Feb., so that may be the “major release.”  12 MP camera phones are also pegged for release this year, so perhaps that will be it.  Either way, it’s likely to be pretty great.

Nokia looks great too.  They already announced the 2009 “flagship” as the N97 in Dec., but it’s likely something better will emerge from them in Feb.  Specifically an 8 MP camera phone, though likely lacking touch so as to not compete with the N97.  A shame, really, especially since I expect the Samsung flagship to pull out all the stops.  Mobile-Review’s Eldar has said Nokia will announce two “market changing” devices in Feb., but that news is aged and may not be accurate anymore.

Nonetheless, it will be very interesting to see what is announced and whose device is the “best” in terms of specs.  It’s likely to be a great battle.

For me, the battle is between Samsung and Nokia.  Nokia is my preferred brand but if Samsung releases an 8 MP or higher camera with optical zoom (or even no optical zoom if it’s higher than 8MP) with a touchscreen, and Nokia’s offering doesn’t, I may be swayed.

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