Mobile World Congress 2011: New Features Up the Wow Factor
Mobile World Congress 2011, which takes place in Barcelona, is set for Feb. 14-17, and The VAR Guy is getting revved for the nifty technology innovation that always comes from the show. VARs and MSPs — and pretty much anyone out there whose productivity is tied to the usefulness of their mobile devices — might want to pay close attention to the raft of new stuff expected to be demoed at the annual mobile confab. Looking to upgrade? Our resident blogger urges you to hold off a few months. Here’s why.
There’s a lot of innovation happening these days in the mobile space, and by summer 2011 we’ll be seeing a whole host of new technologies that will increase the productivity factor of the devices and add a certain “wow” factor. Vendors are likely to be pushing the following at MWC 2011:
- Dual-Core CPU – The VAR Guy wants it all with his phone — speed, multitasking, video-chatting and high def. (The VAR Guy also wants world peace and to win the lottery.) He also wants a phone that can offer up realistic games and even does some impressive 3D-rendering of pie charts. What The VAR Guy needs is a phone with a dual-core CPU. System on a chip (SoC) designs are getting more and more powerful, and dual-core CPUs for phones are the natural progression, like they were for computers. Right now, Motorola is showing off the Motorola Atrix — one of the first dual-core phones available that just happens to run the Android OS. Android plus dual-core SoCs should put to rest a lot of complaints about Android’s sluggishness.
- 4G/LTE – The bleeding edge is available right now from any of the major U.S. carriers. But battery life is the biggest casualty. 4G is still relatively in its infancy, and power consumption and chip design for 4G networks hasn’t quite matured — yet. By by the time the summer of 2011 rolls around, phones should be easily able to handle the new coming standard. The VAR Guy’s advice: Make sure your new phone supports 4G for the best investment possible.
- High-Resolution Screen – Pixels are so passe. The iPhone 4 ushered in a new era of digital displays that are super-crisp and nearly the same standard resolution of desktop monitors 10 years ago. Vendors will be looking to squeeze every last pixel they can onto a screen, and the next wave of phones should have a resolution somewhere in the 800×400 range. Right now, no phone has yet matched the iPhone 4’s whopping 326 ppi, but (again) the Motorola Atrix comes close to both resolution and DPI. (Here’s a very non-scientific method for finding a quality screen: Bring the phone within an inch to your face and focus your eyes on the screen. If you can make out boxy-pixels, the phone is not for you.)
- Front-Facing Camera – The VAR Guy is a little camera shy. But video-chatting is become more and more popular (much to The VAR Guy’s chagrin), and so every vendor out there will soon be boasting about the megapixel size on their front-facing cameras, while also pushing their own video-calling service. Another piece of advice: Unless you like taking pictures of yourself, don’t get too caught up on the quality of the front-facing camera — both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks compress the image quality for video-chatting. Instead, make sure the phone is running an OS that supports video-chatting software such as Yahoo! Messenger or Skype.
One last note: make sure your phone supports expandability through a micro-SD card, or something similar, and make sure it supports large card formats — 32GB and up — for the best longevity.
The VAR Guy probably will be upgrading his phone this summer to take advantage of all the new features being shown off at Mobile World Congress 2011. The channel, too, will see its share of mobile upgrades as well, especially as smartphones become even smarter and companies want to take advantage of that intelligence. It’s going to be a good year for mobility.