MWC 2012: Android’s coming of age party

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.

Battle of the Dual Core Smart Phones: LG Optimus 2X and Motorola Atrix

Overview

With the Mobile World Congress upon us, two manufacturers have already started the next tech race in mobile phones.  The world’s first handsets to be powered by dual-core processors – in the form of the LG Optimus 2X and the Motorola Atrix. We’ve taken the two heavyweights through a spec-based show-down to see which one produces the most bang for your buck.

Battle-of-the-Dual-Core-Smartphones

Form Factor

Both of these handsets are almost identical in size and looks, with the LG Optimus weighing at 135g and the Atrix tops the scales at 139g. Despite being identical in thickness to the LG and almost the same in width, it’s managed to gain valuable millimeters off the length. Not only does this mean that it’s slightly more compact than the LG, it also means that it weighs in a whole 4g less. We call this round a draw.

Display

Moving on, we look at the most important part of any smartphone – the screen. Both the Motorola Atrix and the LG Optimus 2X have 4-inch screens so they’re pretty evenly matched in terms of size. But, the LG comes with a rather standard 800 x 540 pixel resolution screen, the Motorola on the other hand has a whopping 960 x 540 and comes with something called ‘Corning Gorilla Glass’ for extra durability – we’re not what it is, but were sure no Gorillas’ were harmed in the making of this phone. The winner for display is the Motora Atrix, but it’s a close call.

Engine Room

Not much between the two here as they both run the Nvidia Tegra dual-core processors – they are both turbo charged smartphones. The only difference is that while the Motorola runs double the ram of the LC with 1GB of RAM. The LG runs on an standard measly 512MB., it’s unclear just how much this difference in RAM count will affect performance, but it’s safe to say that there will be some noticeable difference when it comes to speed of operation. We call this round a win for the Motorola

Storage

Smartphones are only really smart when they are filled with loads of smart apps – these require a decent storage locker. Especially as some Android apps need to on the on-board storage and not the microSD card. This makes space a massive importance. The Motorola chalks up another winning round thanks to its 16GB memory that can be upgraded to 48GB using a microSD card. The LG only offers 8GB of space, which is expandable to 32GB.

Camera

Cameras on smartphones are big business – it’s one of the first things consumers look at when considering what phone to buy – gone are a murky picture quality and now we have cameras that can give any digital cameras a run for their money. The LG handset pulls ahead with the inclusion of an 8-megapixel camera, the Atrix on the other hand has a standard 5-megapixel camera. Both phones offer a flash along with a front-facing camera for video calls, but only the LG offers full HD 1080p video capture and playback. Both phones offer a very useful HDMI port for hooking up to a high-def TV.

Software

Both of these phones will run Android 2.2 Froyo at launch – with the LG device upgrading to 2.3 Gingerbread. There’s no word from Motorola, but we would bet our lives it’s in the pipeline. Both of the phones use their own customized versions of the Android interface – the LG operating its Optimus UI and the Motorola running its own Motoblur equivalent. As there’s very little between them, and the difference between UIs is a matter of personal taste, we have no choice but to declare this round a draw.

Battery

The better your smartphone the more juice its going to use – the Motorola has a 1930mAh battery – but it does have a lot of features to power, not least the higher screen resolution. The LG has a slightly less powerful battery (1500mAh), but it does have slightly fewer demands on its power supply. However, we have to give the win to the Motorola as its battery is considerably more powerful and both phones do run the same clock speed.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that both these phones are amazing and a conclusion on them would probably be a lot easier if we knew the price. We would expect the Motorola to bit a bit cheaper – but at the moment we just don’t know

When it comes down to the numbers – the Motorola 4G emerges as the slight victor. Its fantastic screen, speedy processor and impressive memory capacity should help to you to choose between the two.

Despite being pipped at the post, the LG Optimus 2X is by no means a bad phone – it’s quite the opposite. Although being slightly behind the Atrix in terms of specs, if we were given either phone we’d be more than happy – it will comes down to person taste. For us it’s the Motorola – but we’d happy to have the LG too.