The second day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona started off with a keynote address from Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA Association, which organizes this gigantic telecommunications tradeshow.
As this is the beginning of Chinese New Year, Conway pointed out that this year is marked by the sign of the tiger, but for the telecommunications industry, it will be the year of developers. This is demonstrated by a significant announcement: 24 large global mobile operators have formed an alliance with the aim of constructing an open platform for distributing applications for users of all mobile operating systems.
After Microsoft virtually declared war yesterday in the smartphone operating systems` arena, it is clear that all participants of this conflict will want to get attention, not only of users, but of operators and manufacturers as well. In order for users to get by with the least amount of damage, the operators` alliance proposed the construction of a developers interface, giving the companies which create mobile applications the opportunity for their products to work with various operating systems.
The group which formed this alliance is headed by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Vodafone, as well as China mobile, Orange, Mobilkom Austria Group, SK Telecom, VimpelCom and many more companies with operations in several global markets. Vodafone is in charge of creating an ecosystem for this purpose, with support from three mobile phone manufacturers: LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Operators behind this initiative hope to get in on the growingly lucrative mobile phone application market which has expanded since various app stores have surfaced. Apple and RIM are dominating the smartphone market, but only one out of five smartphones sold in USA or Europe are theirs. What is more, Apple and Google have invested nearly a billion dollars last year in companies that produce iPhone and Android OS software, foreseeing vast sources of income from applications in the future.
The fact that the nearly entire telecommunications industry agrees is evident, since a type of “exhibition within an exhibition” was formed at this year`s MWC, called App Planet — with developer companies as the exhibitors, while its pavilion was the most crowded at the entire show.
Introducing the HTC Legend and HTC Desire
Some announcements by HTC were especially interesting out of all events during the second day of the MWC. HTC unveiled three new mobile phones — the HTC Legend and HTC Desire with the Android OS and HTC HD mini featuring Windows Mobile 6.5.
The Legend will offer a peculiar design, consisting of a continuous surface, machined from a single aluminum block into a seamless compact frame. It will come with a 3.2-inch AM-OLED screen which seems exceptionally bright (although not as bright as the Samsung Wave screen).
The Desire is going to be almost identical to Google`s Nexus One, but it will support the latest version of the Sense user interface. Other than that, it is going to have the same 3.7-inch screen, and be powered by a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It will be Adobe Flash 10.1 ready.
Both these models will have the HTC Sense UI,which features advanced user interaction, with emphasis on the pinch-to-zoom gesture, which now performs many options. It also includes a copy-paste process for text in the web browser.
The HTC HD mini, launched as a match for currently-available HD2, is intended for users who want this high-end smartphone, but in a significantly lighter version and of visibly smaller dimensions. This Windows phone will have a 3.2-inch, HVGA capacitive touchscreen, 5 MPx camera, and much more.
The HD mini will also include an alternate user interface called Sense, but this version for Windows Mobile bears little resemblance to the one for Android-based phones.