Mobile World Congress 2012

We check out some of the latest mobile and wireless technologies at the MWC in Barcelona.
Learn more

04.Day 4 - The rise of 4G phones


Its becoming a 4G world

While there has been a raft of new handset releases and announcements throughout MWC 2012, all the talk has been about 4G (also known as LTE) delivering similar performance on your mobile device when using the phone network as you would expect to get when connected to a Wi-Fi connection in your home.

Telcos are desperate to push this network so they can charge more for the data being used and content developers love the fact the network can deliver HD multimedia content.

It seems Europe is going to push 4G as a way to take some of the pressure off the huge amount of traffic in local and wider Wi-Fi networks. Australia saw its first 4G device with the HTC Velocity early this year followed by Samsung's 8.9-inch tablet working on 4G this week.

There is no doubt that the performance benefits on offer are significantly faster than 3G or even Telstra's NextG, even if it is only available in a limited area. LG, ZTE, Nokia, Samsung and Sony have released or announced 4G mobiles and tablets at MWC so expect to see the options open up as Vodafone and Optus come to the 4G party later this year.

QR codes


One of the most pervasive images around MWC 2012 is the Quick Response (QR) code showing on virtually every stand and many ad pages around the area.

You may not have noticed it but you will often see a small square with what appears to be a random black and white pattern. The big difference between a QR code and something like a barcode is that a QR code can actually contain data embedded in the image.

You can embed a few thousand alpha numeric characters in the QR code, which means you can deliver information without having to be online and with most smartphones now able to operate as a QR scanner using a downloadable app, the possibilities for push advertising is becoming a big part of selling stuff.

While QR coding is destined to become a significant part of the media mix users will have to watch out for malicious use of the technology as it opens up the potential to deliver code that can take over your phone, access data or send you to spam sites.

Windows on the mobile

Nokia-Lumia-900As we have seen in many areas of technology, having a good product doesn't mean it will succeed. The jury is still out as to the influence of Windows Phone in an area where Apple and Android are the main players.

The Lumia 900 (pictured right) and 610 from Nokia show that you can get a really good mobile that can target the high end and lower end of the market, but there needs to be more models from HTC, Samsung, LG and others to give users a reason to switch.

With general consensus that Windows Phone 7.5 offers a truly solid yet different mobile phone experience to Android and iOS, Nokia obviously is pushing the potential for the OS to make its mark.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who came over from Microsoft to help rescue the ailing phone giant was, not surprisingly, very upbeat about the future of Nokia and the Windows Phone platform.

"What we are seeing is a very steady growth and adoption," said Elop but he stressed the main focus of the company was to "get the device into peoples hands".

HTC CEO, Peter Chou is probably in one of the best positions to make a realistic assessment on the current position of Windows Phone and of its potential as the company produces both Windows Phone and Android models and delivered a more sobering yet realistic message.

Admitting that you get a very good experience with the Windows Phone OS, Chou doesn't see it crushing the other two OS options.

"With the new Windows we are seeing a lot of positive signs" said Chou "It will not be like Microsoft in the PC market but I believe it will be a strong third OS."

This is bad news for Blackberry, which has been subdued to say the least at this years MWC and any increases in market share for Windows Phone may be at the expense of Blackberry.


Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments