Ahmed Elbatrawy

What will your next mobile phone look like?


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br/The stylus is back! The Samsung Galaxy Note device has reintroduced the tool for more accurate touch screen control.
The stylus is back! The Samsung Galaxy Note device has reintroduced the tool for more accurate touch screen control.

br/Samsung's Galaxy Beam features a built-in image projector
Samsung’s Galaxy Beam features a built-in image projector

br/The fastest phone yet? BlackBerry showed off a device that pairs with a Porsche 911
The fastest phone yet? BlackBerry showed off a device that pairs with a Porsche 911

br/Nokia raised eyebrows with its new PureView smartphone, boasting a 41 Megapixel camera.
Nokia raised eyebrows with its new PureView smartphone, boasting a 41 Megapixel camera.

br/Motorola shows off its combined GPS tracking device and MP3 player, which also acts as a workout coach and tracks a user's performance.
Motorola shows off its combined GPS tracking device and MP3 player, which also acts as a workout coach and tracks a user’s performance.

br/People wander through the Android display area. With no official Apple presence at the Mobile World Congress, Android phones dominate.
People wander through the Android display area. With no official Apple presence at the Mobile World Congress, Android phones dominate.

br/Demonstrators dressed in curious bobble hats staff a Nokia stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Demonstrators dressed in curious bobble hats staff a Nokia stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

br/Duracell showcases its Powermat WiCC which can be used to wirelessly charge specially-adapted electronic devices.
Duracell showcases its Powermat WiCC which can be used to wirelessly charge specially-adapted electronic devices.

br/The robot symbol of the Android operating system guards a display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The robot symbol of the Android operating system guards a display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

br/A hostess holds a LG Optimus Vu, which boasts one of the biggest screens seen on a smartphone.
A hostess holds a LG Optimus Vu, which boasts one of the biggest screens seen on a smartphone.

br/Taiwanese phone giant HTC launched its new One range, featuring toughened Gorilla glass screens.
Taiwanese phone giant HTC launched its new One range, featuring toughened Gorilla glass screens.

br/Ford's launched its technology-stuffed B-Max car at the Mobile World Congress to tout its hi-tech credentials.
Ford’s launched its technology-stuffed B-Max car at the Mobile World Congress to tout its hi-tech credentials.

br/Nokia's Lumia 900 mobile phone
Nokia’s Lumia 900 mobile phone


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Editor’s note: Technology journalist Stuart Miles is CEO and founder of gadget review website Pocket-lint. He can be found tweeting at @stuartmiles

(CNN) — The devices announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) have better screens, are faster, and promise to do so much more than your current model — so what will your next phone look like?

The big push from phone makers this year is screens. It is the part of the phone we spend the most time looking at and the one that allows us to fully enjoy this pocket gateway to another world that we own.

At every turn, every company is keen to tell you just how good the screen on its latest device really is. Marketing speak, gobbledygook, and buzzwords that don’t mean anything have been trotted out to all those who show up.

Read more: Mobile jargon buster

Take Sony, for example. Aside from telling us that it can “make our dreams a reality,” its screen technology has not one, but two buzzwords associated with it — one of which even has the word “magic” in the title (WhiteMagic and Reality Display, if you’re interested). Both are designed to make the screen better when it comes to viewing it inside and more importantly for those sunny summer days, outside too.


41 megapixel camera on new Nokia phone

Of course, Sony’s press conference, like many at MWC, was held in a windowless room after dark so you have no way to prove the “sunlight” claims until months later.

But whatever tech manufacturers use it is clear that the screen is one area where many see they can differentiate against each other. And they are doing a good job. Resolutions are up, screen clarity is crisp, and some of the screens, Sony included, are stunning.


Ford goes high-tech with new vehicles

But soon that differentiator will be gone too, so the speed of your phone is being trumpeted this year as well.

At the show the big battle has been between Nivdia and Qualcomm, with many manufacturers hedging their bets and going for both. HTC’s new flagship phone features the Nvidia 4-Plus-1 quad-core Tegra 3 processor. Yes, four plus one does equal five, but don’t let that worry you. The best way to think of it is as a “ninja core” that does stuff you don’t really want to understand.

That’s great says HTC, but don’t forget our second flagship phone, made from a more premium material, that they incidentally use on space satellites, that features Qualcomm’s latest S4 chip. It might not sound as fast, but it supposedly is and it is better on the battery life too.

It’s not just Qualcomm and Nvidia though — Intel’s new mobile processor offering has also tried to squeeze in on the action, while others like Huawei and Samsung have opted to make their own chips that come with their own array of speed and performance claims.

The reality is somewhat different, however. There is no denying the latest and greatest phones are going to be “Superman fast,” offering you the chance to open an app that little bit quicker, but at the moment many manufacturers seem puzzled as to what to really do with all that power.

Read more: Phones that aren’t afraid of water

Asus’s answer is to create a phone that can transform into a tablet, before transforming into a laptop. It’s called the Padfone, and the company has deemed all the processing power so powerful that it is a “one device to rule them all” solution.

HTC has gone for the more traditional, safer, route of using the power that it has combined with the new improved crisp screen to create a better camera experience. The new One series phones will let you snap dozens of shots in burst mode so you never miss a shot. You will have lots of photos of the same thing to sort later, however.

Given the huge popularity of games in all the different app stores, not one company focused on gaming in their presentations this year. But then software as a whole has taken a back seat too as manufacturers still play catch-up following Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich launch in October last year.

Android is, of course, everywhere, but it is also fast becoming the elephant in the room when it comes to upgrades. “What operating system does it run?” is the standard question when presented with a new Android phone. If it is not the latest version, the question that quickly follows is “when, and even if it does sport the latest version, will it be upgradable?” Phone makers just can’t win.

It isn’t just “Mobile World Android,” although it feels like that sometimes. Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry OS 7 operating systems are at the show, but both taking a back seat, with the former opting to detail some small performance updates and the latter waiting for the next version to be revealed later in the year.

So what will your next phone be like? If MWC is anything to go by, it will be something fast with a big crisp screen, but very much the software experience you are probably already enjoying on your phone at the moment.






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Ahmed Elbatrawy