Four Things I Didn’t See in Barcelona

The week before I went to Mobile World Congress, I wrote about five things I’d like to see at the show. Sadly, I came across very little on my wish-list.

The event was as big as ever, even if attendance was down on previous years. So I may have missed an exhibition stand in a far corner of one hall, or overlooked a press release in the hundreds issued in Barcelona. But looking at all the products on display, I didn’t see a really innovative touch-screen phone, an interesting 3G modem dongle, a bone-conducting headset for audiophiles or an inexpensive Android phone.

Samsung’s Omnia HD phone was probably the highlight of new touch-screen phones, and Ben’s covered it in this post. Yet it didn’t seem to offer anything revolutionary. The same could be said of the dongles being exhibited, though that’s perhaps understandable in the mobile broadband market, where cost takes priority over looks or innovation.

There were a few pre-production Android phones on display, mostly from second-tier manufacturers normally associated with low-cost devices. However, they seemed to be aimed at the upper tiers of the market, like the T-Mobile G1 and Vodafone’s Magic.

I was granted one wish: ZTE showed off its Coral-200-solar phone, which uses solar energy to charge the battery. I’d hoped to see a “green” phone that appeals to buyers in emerging markets, and the Coral-200-solar seems to fit the bill. Its use of photoelectric cells and $40 price tag means it will find an audience in regions where electricity is expensive or unreliable.

Roll on CTIA 2009. Perhaps I’ll get a few more wishes granted.