MWC 2012: Android’s coming of age party

By Jack Ratcliffe,

This year’s Mobile World Congress was the best ever. No – this isn’t one of those super-positive articles that vapidly attempts to befriend everyone. It genuinely was the best. Why? How about this: 41 megapixel camera; projecting mobile phone; a phone that plugs into a tablet. Does your iPhone do any of that?

Nokia-PureView

MWC 2012 – or as we like to call it, Android’s coming-of-age-party, was packed to the rafters with this year’s top handsets. Even Panasonic got in on the action, with its new Eluga and Lumix lines (more about those later). It seems that with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich finally providing a solid, versatile operating system for mobile users, mobile manufacturers have gone a bit mad. And it’s brilliant.

How Many MegaPixels?

The new Nokia 808 PureView has 41 megapixels. Forty-one. It accomplishes this through a 1/1.2” camera sensor – bigger than those found in a high-end point’n’shoot (and much bigger than in the iPhone 4S). The huge sensor means that it can digitally zoom without losing quality (probably up to about 5x), works better in low light and zooms 12x for 640×360 video.

It’s also got a Carl Zeiss lens at F2.4 aperture (awesome), a xenon flash and five-years-in-the-making “oversampling” technology, to make pictures super sharp. Basically, it’s the best camera phone ever – by a long way. And they paired it with Dolby 5.1 audio recording. Sick.

Panasonic has revealed a Lumix Phone 101P, with a 13.2 megapixel sensor. Yawn.

Project It!

Of course, if you want to look at stuff rather than photo it, you’ll need the Samsung Galaxy Beam. It has all the smartphone goodness of the other Galaxys (although not the size of the Note), as well as a 15 lumen projector, built right in. Shame it runs Android 2.3, but beggars can’t be choosers. If you want to project an image up to 50” onto a wall, this is your phone. No word on battery life or lamp life as yet.

Padfone?!

Sure, the Motorola Atrix was the original tablet where you could plug in a phone – but this will be better. Much better. From the geniuses behind the ASUS Transformer (there’s two new ones of those out, too) comes the PadFone – a tablet you can plug your phone into.

Or rather, it’s a big screen, which only activates when you put your phone in it. And the stylus acts as a Bluetooth headset. And you can plug in a keyboard. Its nuts, and it’s awesome, and it will be mine.

We haven’t been this excited about getting our hands on something since Gollum misplaced his precious a long, long time ago in a land far, far away (that’s right, right?).

The phone itself has a 4.3” AMOLEDqHD screen, a Snapdragon S4 dual core processor and an eight megapixel camera. It runs Android 4.0, which then scales everything up to the 10.1” display of the tablet when you plug it in the back. The tablet also comes with 5x the battery of the mobile, meaning you’ll be able to go on and on. No-one wants to carry two devices and have two mobile subscriptions – this solves the problem in one pretty need solution.