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Day 1: Mobile World Congress comes with plenty of buzz, devices and opportunities.

The first day of MWC has been a little less busy that recent years, but still plenty of foot traffic and lots of first day announcements. New phones from all the main players and a slew of devices on the Android platform. Microsoft launched its new Windows® Phone 7 Series and I’m excited that Qualcomm announced that it will power this with its Snapdragon integrated chipset.

Slide out keyboards appear to be in many of the new phones and even detachable keypads with Bluetooth so gaming can be somewhat remote. The new Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 which comes in two sizes caught my eye; the smaller, mini pro with a 2.6inch screen is very neat and fits nicely in the palm of the hand. The touch screen is also very responsive. It is one more Android device to add to the list and Google does appear to be gaining a good share of the mobile OS space – if the number of new Android devices is anything to go by.

The big talk though today has been around the Wholesale Application Community, (WAC) though I hear that the the name will change. Twenty four of the worlds leading operators with over 3 billion customers are coming together to create a viable, cohesive and open industry platform for mobile app developers. The idea is to reduce the complexity for developing applications across multiple platforms. There are over 15 different mobile application stores but in a survey presented by Distimo at the Mobile Applications – Innovation vs. Fragmentation stream, over 63% of users only use one store. Interestingly, pricing varies widely from platform to platform where the cost difference for the same application or game can be tens of dollars. And selling lots of $0.99c apps is not necessarily more profitable than selling less at $9.99. Quality counts and it would appear that users on the whole will pay for something with a good user experience that is well written.

On a lighter note, the most surreal demo I have ever seen is on the NTT DoCoMo stand where they are demonstrating eye controlling earphones. A written description would not come even close to seeing the thing in real time. One to drop by if you are at the show, if not, you can find it on YouTube.

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