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2/18/2010
05:25 PM
Fritz Nelson
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Full Nelson: 10 Most Memorable Moments of Mobile World Congress

Great phones, new apps, amazing technology demonstrations, photos, funny stories and more than you can cram into a single article.

As the world's most amazing mobile event winds down, it's time to ponder some of the more significant and interesting things from Mobile World Congress and Barcelona. By all accounts, this was one of the busier, more successful shows in quite some time. While learning to speak fluent Spanish and master Flamenco dancing, I managed to collect the following highlight reel.

1.) Skype-Verizon ink deal. This announcement got quite a bit of fanfare, and deservedly so, as the companies will offer a special version of Skype that actually works as a tool of presence on particular phones (many Blackberry models and several Android phones). While Skype has been on the iPhone for a while, it's just an app that can take advantage of WiFi to make Skype calls, and has not included true presence. With this relationship, Verizon finds a way to keep Skype continuously running without draining the phone's battery. The odd thing is that it works over the 3G network; so it goes through a gateway into the Skype VoIP network. Skype Out (to make calls to regular phones), Skype-to-Skype, and Chat all work like they normally would. No Skype video yet. Other carriers (globally, especially) in the works. This is coming imminently (Skype said weeks), and will be especially attractive to small and medium sized businesses ... and, uh, people who use Skype.

2.) My favorite new phone. I've done a review of it here (and you can watch the video demonstration below), but among a hoard of new phones, each with its own idea of just how we all want to interact with our mobile device, this company, despite its right-hand bias, has come up with something radically different. As with any design, it will take living with it to see if it's that effective and simple, but there hasn't been an innovative UI like this in many years. Now if it just could get beyond being an Access-Linux (LIMO) phone so that the app developers could target it, and find its way into some tier-1 mobile operators' business strategies, it might get somewhere.

3.) My favorite chip. OK, that sounded silly, but BeCeem made a major announcement that seemed to fly under the radar a bit. This company claims to have shipped the most 4G chips in the world (3 million in 2009). So far, this success has come from WiMax, which is the more widely deployed 4G technology. But now BeCeem is making a chip that does WiMax, WiFi and LTE, and it can do hand offs between those networks while roaming. It will be available later this year, but the company has already signed a deal with Motorola, and is working with operators around the world. Below is a quick video with BeCeem (pronounced Be Seem) VP Lars Johnson.

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