MWC 2010 – software round-up

It’s been raining phones at Mobile World Congress. And while we’ve been salivating over the slew of new handsets coming our way over the next few mont

HTC Sense

HTC’s Sense skin isn’t new, but it has been given a thorough service for the new Legend and Desire Android phones. That should result in faster browsing, a sharper email client and better overall handling, but the real differences lie in Leap, which creates seven thumbnail windows (like Exposé on a Mac) to help navigate between screens, and Friend Stream, a social media aggregator that pulls Facebook, Twitter, etc, updates into a single location.

LG Air Sync

LG ‘announced’ its Mini GD880 at MWC (though we’d seen it before). But the real skills of this diminutive handset lie inside that 10.6mm shell. It’s the first of the company’s phones to pack Air Sync, a 3-way cloud network that keeps phone data linked to a PC. Contacts, pictures, videos and calendars are all ripe for synchronisation, but it’s the web browser’s History Sync, which updates the handset with the last 100 websites you visited on your PC, that caught our eye.

Samsung Bada OS

What’s Bada? Tricky question, but basically it’s Samsung’s attempt to bridge the closing gap between feature phone and smartphone. If it seems familiar, it should – it’s still skinned with Sammy’s TouchWiz GUI. They reckon it’s a “fully-fledged smartphone platform” but reports suggest the early build running on the new Wave handset is hamstrung (and a bit buggy). We’ll wait for a test of the finished product before we draw any solid conclusions.

Facebook Zero

Facebook haters, take cover. The social networking juggernaut's VP of user growth let slip Facebook Zero this week, a text-only version of the site. That makes it easy for developers to create free, lightweight mobile apps for less powerful platforms, which Facebook hopes will boost user numbers, leading to the fall of modern society. Or leading to folks shelling a shilling to get in on all the rich content action. It’s a big, orange, Facebook-shaped carrot, in other words.

BlackBerry WebKit browser

When you meet BlackBerry users, they’ll crow (quite rightly) about how good their push email is. Yet you’ll never hear them bragging about the BB’s underwhelming browser, known for stuttering its way through JavaScript and rendering in slo-mo. RIM’s new browser – due to hit future BlackBerrys – is based on WebKit (like Apple’s speedy Safari), and has upped its game with fast, trouble-free page loads and support for HTML5. Still in doubt? It clocked 100 per cent on the Acid3 test.

Flash Air and 10.1 Player

The announcement of the iPad reignited the feud between Adobe, maker of Flash, the browser plug-in for online video and games, and Apple, which wants to sell you those things on the side. But, as we’ve reported, it’s coming to Android (and others), and Flash Player 10.1 was demoed by Google CEO Eric Schmidt at his keynote. The new HTC Desire will ship Flash 10.1 ready. Air is available for Android now.

Windows Phone 7 Series

Microsoft has rewritten the book on Windows Mobile with its new OS, and stolen the show at MWC. There’s not a lot we can add here, but check out our 5 things you need to know, Windows Phone 7 in pictures and Windows Phone 7 vs iPhone OS stories.


Approaching MWC stealthily, Puma pounced on the opportunity to show off its new solar-backed phone. The custom OS offers a selection of sporty apps (pedometer, bike speedo, yachting compass, etc), plus a sarky calculator, Dylan the virtual puma and, of course, a mainline into the sports brand’s online shop.