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Mobile World Congress’s Illusory Highlights

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

There were plenty of interesting stories from Mobile World Congress 2012, says Peter Judge. But not the ones you expected

Watching Mobile World Congress (MWC) from afar, I have to wonder at its significance. However hard the vendors push their messages, what seems to come across is an undifferentiated flood of generic gadgets.

Previous engagements and exciting projects at TechWeekEurope have kept me away from what is always one of the most exciting shows of the year, but there has been a flood of news stories from the event. The most significant visible stories were probably the new Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the arrival of quad-core phones, but  the most significant actual developments will be to do with different platforms jockeying for position and will take many months to become clear.

No iPhone, no iPad

It was a bit sneaky of us, but we started a poll before the show opened, asking what you thought would be the most important news.

Your top option was the revelation of the forthcoming Android update, Jelly Bean. This didn’t happen, of course, although Asus was persuaded to use the name Jelly Bean, and promise to dominate that version when it arrives.

Similarly the new name Key Lime Pie was also revealed. By a strange coincidence, in an office brainstorm the previous week we predicted Key Lime Pie as the name, simply because there are very few desserts beginning with K, and we have a strong shared expertise in obscure American puddings.

We managed to sucker a lot of you by offering the option of iPad and iPhone announcements, knowing full well that Apple doesn’t reveal stuff at MWC. The new iPad (presumably iPad HD) is due to be announced tomorrow, and the mini-iPad, well who knows. Many of you said that you were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the iPhone 5, but that is not seriously expected to arrive until later this year at the earliest.

The Samsung Galaxy S III was a possibility, but sadly no details were forthcoming at the event, although Samsung has since confirmed that it will debut in the first half of this year. The rumoured Sony Windows Phone was another contender after leaked images purporting to be such a device surfaced on the internet, but there was no acknowledgement that such a smartphone exists at MWC.

To our surprise, the “Symbian resurrection” option in our poll was not such a joke as we considered. the Symbian OS may be on its last legs, but a Symbian phone with a big camera, the 41 megapixel Nokia Pureview 808, intrigued many people and walked off with a “best in show” award.

What the answers tell us is that you are in danger of glazing over at the incessant flood of gadget announcements. We pick up that you would like us to cover the Apple devices as they arrive – and we surely will.

But maybe in the future we won’t lead you astray with red herrings and tantalising but unlikely possibilities.