The open source platform that got attention: the LiMo Foundation's Linux-based stack. LG Electronics, Panasonic and Samsung all demonstrated mobile handsets using it.
Windows Mobile resurgent?
By contrast, Microsoft's proprietary Windows Mobile was the platform of choice for a number of high-profile smartphones unveiled at the show, and Microsoft announced a significant upgrade: Version 6.5 with a new look to the UI, and the inclusion of IE Mobile 6, its first full-fledged Web browser for the mobile OS.
LG Electronics plans to make Windows Mobile (now rebranded to just "Windows") its primary operating system. The company plans to boost its volume of available Windows by 10-fold this year, and has 26 new models on tap for 2012 alone.
At MWC, LG announced the LG-GM730, with LG's 3-D S-Class UI, due out in mid 2009 with the current Windows Mobile 6.1, and an updated version in the second half of the year, with the just-announced Windows Mobile 6.5.
Other Windows phones included HTC Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 (HTC created the first US Android phone, T-Mobile's G1), and the recently announced Toshiba TG01.
But the phone that caught official attention at the Congress, winning "Best Mobile Handset or Device" from the judges, was INQ Mobile's INQ1 Social Mobile, first announced last November and now going into expanded global deployment.
INQ is a unit of Hutchinson Whampoa, created to bring to market a very low-cost 3G phone that nevertheless would give users a superior Web experience. It's designed to do that by integrating into the phone's user interface a range of Web applications: Facebook, Skype, Windows Messenger, Last.fm. It supports push e-mail and interfaces with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino. The intent was to make social networking and Web access much faster, smoother, and more intuitive.
The proprietary operating system incorporates Qualcomm's Java-based BREW application development framework.