Feb. 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM ET
From super-fast new smartphonesto pen-friendly tablets, Mobile World Congress 2012 has set the stage for astandout year in mobile technology. At this year’s show, we’ve seen superphonespacking blazing fast cameras, styluses that double as headsets, an Androidphone with a projector built in and much more. Perhaps the biggest theme ofthis year’s Mobile World Congess was pure processing power as Nvidia’squad-core Tegra 3 made its way into phones for the first time, while both Inteland Texas Instruments announced faster mobile CPUs.
Many gadgets and apps introduced at Mobile World Congresspushed the envelope by offering improved speed and functionality, but these seven stood out from the pack.
Best Smartphone: HTC One X
HTC's newest halo smartphonecombines the power of Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor with LTEconnectivity inside a handsome chassis. But what sets the One X apart is HTC'snew ImageSense camera co-processor and software. The dedicated chip allows thephone to shoot images in a mere 0.7 seconds, snap stills while filming video orcapture 99 photos in burst mode, then you can pick the best shot. The One Xsports HTC's sleek new Sense 4 user interface on top of Android 4.0 Ice CreamSandwich, making the best Google OS look even better on a Super LCD 2 display.With so much power coming out of one phone, its no wonder the HTC One X is ourbest smartphone of the show.
Best Tablet: SamsungGalaxy Note 10.1
While manysmartphone users can't wrap their head (or their hands) around the 5.4-inchoriginal Samsung Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is more sensible andimpressive. Samsung pairs the S Pen's doodling and handwriting recognitioncapabilities with a larger (1280 x 800-pixel) screen, adds Photoshop Touch forimage editing and upgrades the OS to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Best Budget Smartphone: Nokia Lumia 610
Though the Lumia 610 will be marketed atbudget-conscious consumers, Nokia didn't skimp on this Windows Phone's style or software. Available with astunning metallic-edged black, cyan, red or white bezel, this handset (189Euros unsubsidized) looks sexier than any high-end superphones. Even with just256MB of RAM and a lower-end 800-MHz processor, the Lumia 610 provides smoothperformance when navigating through Windows Phone 7.5 and using Nokia's suiteof innovative applications. It's also the first phone to come bundled withNokia Transport, a new app that helps you plan a route using publictransportation rather than a car.
Best Enabling Technology: Nvidia Tegra 3 for Phones
Nvidia's mobile powerhouse, Tegra3 made the move into smartphones at this year's Mobile World Congress,appearing in five handsets. The graphics-chip giant first showcased theirquad-core CPU (later named Tegra 3) at last year's show. After months ofanticipation, the first Tegra 3-powered tablet, the ASUS Eee Pad TransformerPrime, arrived this past Fall.
With the power of Tegra 3 behindthem, such smartphones as the LG Optimus 4X HD and the HTC One X (Winner ofBest Smartphone) have enough oomph to play even the most demanding games orcrunch photos and videos at record-breaking speeds. And because of the Tegra3's "4-plus-1" technology,which adds a fifth low-power core for running repetitive tasks with less juice,phone manufacturers are confident their devices will have enough battery lifeto get you through all those intense gaming sessions.
Best Accessory: Sony SmartDock
With Sony's new SmartDock, youcan turn your Xperia P smartphone into a media center PC.The device hooks up to your home theater and allows you to run all your appsand content on the big screen while you sit on the couch. A living room-friendlyuser interface makes it easy to navigate using a remote control. You can evenattach a keyboard to edit your documents or respond to emails as you would on adesktop computer.
BestConvergence Device: ASUS PadFone
It's three products in one.Powered-by a 1.5-Ghz Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM, the 4.5-inchPadFone offers a brilliant Super AMOLEDqHD display. But the real fun startswhen you snap the handset into the optional PadFone Station tabletdock, transforming the PadFone into afully functional 10.1-inch tablet.
The PadFone Station's 1280 x800-pixel display was crisp and provided excellent color quality. The companyalso brought out a keyboard dock that turns the PadFone Station into a10.1-inch laptop, all powered by the same handset. The ASUS Stylus Headsetfurther adds to the experience, allowing users to write on the PadFoneStation's screen and answer calls. The multiple talents of this ambitioushybrid are truly impressive.
Best App:PocketCloud Explore
You're out in the field with yourphone or tablet, but that PowerPoint presentation you need right now is sittingon your home computer ... or was it your office desktop? Available for bothAndroid and iOS, PocketCloud Explore allows you to access and search contentthat's sitting on the hard drives of up to 10 Internet-connected PCs or Macs,right from your mobiledevice.
PocketCloud Explore originallylaunched a few months ago, but at Mobile World Congress, its developersunveiled both Ice Cream Sandwich and an iOS versions of the application whileshowing off a slew of newly released and upcoming features. Users are now ableto stream content from remote computers onto their phones and, in the nearfuture, they'll be able to share remote content with a friend using AndroidBeam.
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