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Apple iPhone Influences New Phones at Mobile World Congress

Sometimes, you have to feel sorry for mobile phone companies. Hundreds of them have been in Barcelona this week to show off their latest handsets, software and services at the Mobile World Congress. Yet, the name on everyone’s lips was Apple, despite the Californian company playing no part in the show.

More than 18 months after it was launched, the iPhone continues to cast a long shadow over the mobile phone market. Apple’s flagship device has sold more than 17 million handsets worldwide, and consumers have bought more than 500 million applications, games and programs from the iTunes application store.

So it’s little wonder that many of the devices and services unveiled in Barcelona owe more than a little to the trail blazed by the iPhone. Manufacturers and network operators, desperate to ride out the economic uncertainty, are looking to the iPhone for inspiration, and are seeking new ways to open up revenue streams and maintain consumer demand.

Application stores have been one of the key areas of focus this year. Nokia, Microsoft, Orange and O2 have all announced plans to let their users quickly and easily download games and software to their phones. Research in Motion, the company behind the BlackBerry, is set to launch its app store this spring, while Google offers something similar through its Android operating system.

Many of the new handsets unveiled at the show featured more cutting-edge technology and processing power than was used to send man to the moon. Mobile phones can now do everything from surf the web at high speeds to double as an MP3 player, satnav or camera.

Sony Ericsson’s 12.1‑megapixel Idou phone is the shape of things to come, matching the sort of snapping power usually associated with high-end consumer cameras. As this photo technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, the stand-alone digital camera risks becoming a thing of the past.

So too camcorders. Most modern mobiles have the capability to capture video as well as still images, but none can do it with the aplomb of the Samsung Omnia HD, the world’s first mobile phone capable of shooting and playing back in a high-definition 720p resolution. Such is the quality of the device, and the clarity of its 3.7in touch-screen, that it stands to put some camcorders in the shade.

Third-party developers are spotting an opportunity to tap into the mobile market, too, by developing applications that not only make the best of new handsets’ touch-screen capabilities, but also their built-in GPS.

“Location-based services are on the brink of becoming a huge deal for both manufacturers and phone networks,” he says. “It means handsets will become a direct portal based upon exactly where you are in the world.

“With new software like Google Latitude, which allows you to see where your friends are in relation to your location, expect the emphasis to shift towards localised services, becoming more connected to the people and places around you.”

Despite the economic downturn, and all the talk of innovation and choice, many mobile phone makers are also keen to underline their green credentials. LG’s prototype solar-powered phone, and Samsung’s Blue Earth device, which goes on sale in the UK later this year, hint at an age beyond flat batteries and tangled chargers. That’s a more sustainable model of phone building and energy consumption.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

This entry was posted on Friday, February 20th, 2009 at 5:21 am and is filed under iPhone News & Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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