Notice how I used the term 3GSM instead of Mobile World Congress? That was intentional. Everyone is calling it 3GSM, the new name is not being incorporated into people’s lingo. This is my first 3GSM, I was expecting a lot, but in all honesty it is just like every other conference I’ve been to in the past 12 months. Too large, too disorganized, not enough substance. I’ll come back to that, so how was day 1?
Waking up late caused me to miss the bus to the Nokia Press Conference. No worries, 6 euros later I was in a cab driven by a local resident who thought he was Fernando Alonso, I actually got there 10 minutes before it started. OPK was nervous in the begining, but he fell into his grove towards the end of the presentation. Niklas Savander was dressed to impress and he kept his cool the entire time. I was disappointed Vanjoki was not there on stage, he really is my favorite presenter.
The N96 is not as impressive as it can be, but only because the N95 already set the bar so high and it has been shipping for less than a year. The fact that there are 3 ways to play/pause/rewind via the dpad, dedicated music keys around the dpad which I absolutely loathed on the N81 and the dual slide, actually annoyed the hell out of me. DVB-H is pretty cool for Italy and Finland, but between you and me I would rather take an HSDPA connection and emTube. Disclosure: I have not touched an N96 yet, Nokia’s booth was packed and I was not in the mood to fight with people to see this thing since I know I’m going to get plenty of hands on time at the S60 party tomorrow.
The N78 is already getting bad press from my friends, who I will not name, due to the keypad. I only spent 5 minutes or so with the device and forgot to attempt to compose an SMS therefore I can not comment on this matter. The other two devices whose model names escape me feel really solid and I’m absolutely sure they’ll sell well. All in all it was what I predicted, much of the same, but a little better.
The real thing on everyone’s mind was the Sony Ericsson X1. Windows Mobile powered SE device that looks so freaking sexy and has a spec sheet that can make one’s heart race. After seeing it on the show floor, at the Microsoft Press Conference and at Mobile Focus (PR event) I can completely say that if SE fixes the slow screen rendering issue I’m going to pick one up. It is in the prototype stages, no doubt about that, but the potential is there and it really looks slick in real life, the pictures don’t do it justice.
I was excited to hear about that QWERTY keyboard enabled LG, it looks quite horrible in real life and the internal screen resolution is only QVGA not VGA as the Symbian press release stated; this was a let down. The Toshiba G910 or G900, unsure about the model number, was a let down as well due to the poor choice of plastics. It seriously feels like a toy.
The LG Viewty, first time I saw and played with one, has an impressive camera, but the rest of the phone sucks so hard that it really can’t save the device. The Samsung Soul has a feature phone OS that can multitask which was interesting to see, but that optical haptics enabled dpad is so gimmicky and highly inaccurate. The Samsung G810 is something I want to play with and regret not stopping by their booth to do so.
Highlight of my day was the S60 press conference, I got to shake hands with Matti Vänskä and we had a small chit chat about new age marketing versus the old.
No one cared about Android, no one cared about the 6 other devices Sony Ericsson announced other than the fact that they were quite compact. That vibe that I thought would be in the air just wasn’t there. I did meet a lot of interesting people, that is always fun, but you can tell this industry needs an Apple like bombshell to be dropped. Something that changes everything. Because really, and I’m not joking here, the Windows Mobile powered SE device was the only thing I heard people talking about in the halls.
Signing off, in bed, so tired I probably made hundreds of spelling and grammar mistakes in this article, but felt like I needed to tell you guys something. The internet isn’t working that well in our five century old apartment. Neither is the heating. Neither is the hot water.
I’m not complaining, this is the first time the “new” Into Mobile Team has been under one roof and the conversations and camaraderie more than make up for it.