If one thing in particular came out of the Mobile World Congress, it’s that the smartphone wars are in full swing.
Lots of handsets appeared, but we’re becoming increasingly difficult to impress with new screens, accelerometers, and gigahertz processors. It’s all about the software now, and the operating systems were the real stars of the MWC.
We thought a look at the different factions in this real-life, real-time strategy game would help you to choose a side.Android
As expected, Google’s Android platform is sitting pretty on more handsets than anything else, but this is a platform that has yet to really unleash its potential - especially when it comes to gaming.
But first things first. Getting Android onto a powerhouse device like the Nexus One was a big step forward, but that’s not the only smartphone in the running for king of the robots.
At MWC, Fishlabs promised versions of Rally Master Pro will come bundled on the Sony Ericsson Satio and Vivaz.
But perhaps most of all the sheer flexibility of Android was demonstrated, on sub-£100 phones, to serious silicon-burning next-gen smartphones. It’s only a matter of time before console quality gaming hits Google’s platform. Let’s just hope it arrives before hardware fragmentation kicks in.Windows Mobile 7
The curtains are still drawn on the latest version of the once popular Windows Mobile platform, but those who’ve sneaked a peak through the twitching lace have seen something very exciting.
Microsoft has been unusually bold and rebooted its smartphone platform. The older software isn’t expected to work, but from what The Vole showed off at MWC it’s going to sport a very flashy user interface, hot tech handsets, and a smashing new app store.
This is clearly an OS aimed at gaming every bit as much as business use(where the previous iterations were targeted). It’s set to provide a nexus point between computers, the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s media service Zune.
The mere fact that it’s harnessing the Xbox 360’s userbase and technology should be enough to make Apple and Google look up from counting their money.Bada
The name of Samsung’s new OS might be bad (almost to the letter) but reports of the powerful, Flash-equipped platform have been anything but.
Just like Microsoft, it seems Samsung is looking to its new smartphone operating system to unify its vast array of electronics, from netbooks to TVs, and is making the development kit very accessible to the programming community.
In many respects bada seems to have cherry picked from the best features of existing platforms like iPhone and Android, scrapped the corporate pride that’s keeping features off those platforms, and made a very attractive portal connecting developers directly to a huge consumer base.
Games are already being announced, despite only the Samsung Wave currently sporting bada, but it’s my prediction that this will be the platform to watch in 2010 - even more so than Android.MeeGo
There’s always an outsider that’s hard to get to grips with at these conventions, and at MWC it was MeeGo. This is an amalgamation of Nokia’s equally strangely titled Maemo and Intel’s Mobiln (now you can see where the rubbish name comes from).
Even Nokia struggled to say what sort of software or smartphones we can expect to see sporting the MeeGo brand, but there might just be a secret weapon buried in the confusion. The platform has essentially been given to the development community, to do with it whatever it wants.
It’s completely open source, which is a staggering move for two massive corporations to make, and appears to have even fewer restrictions than Android. Being Linux-based, it’s expected to appear in smartphones, netbooks, tablet PCs, TVs, and even "in-vehicle infotainment systems".
Handing a development platform over to the homebrew development community harbours a great deal of potential. Let’s just hope the hardware appears that’s willing to run it.PSN
Sony couldn’t let Microsoft’s announcement about its new smartphones connecting to Xbox Live go unchallenged, and rushed to MWC to tell the world that the PlayStation Network will soon be accessible through Sony Ericsson handsets.
To be honest, the announcement sounds like something of a knee jerk reaction to Windows Mobile 7, and I’d be surprised if anyone at Sony (or Ericsson) knew exactly how PSN will be accessible, and what it’ll offer in a mobile capacity if it is.
That said, if Sony does things right (stop laughing) harnessing PSN on a smartphone platform could make for a mighty powerful smartphone contender. It’s early days yet, of course.