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Mobile phones are set to take on a whole new dimension and at this week’s GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as several vendors fight for survival up against the Apple iPhone, the Blackberry and the up and coming Google Android operating system.

HTC is set to reveal a brand new touch phone running the Google Android OS. This is the phone which Telstra is believed to have secured exclusive access to for at least 3 months.


Unlike their current model which is currently being sold by Optus the new model ditches the slide-out keyboard for a full-touch interface.


In an effort to counter both the iPhone and several Google Android phones from the likes of  Lenovo, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung  Microsoft is set to mount a big marketing campaign to try and pump some life into their struggling Windows Mobile offering which HTC appears to be dumping in favour of the Google Android offering.


While many consumers take a wait-and-see approach with the Google open source Android platform several vendors are banking on the platform to stimulate their struggling operations.


Motorola has spent the last six months developing new handsets based Google’s OS. The company that is still struggling to find a hit on par with its Razr phone is set to launch an Android-powered device that has strong social networking features.


Samsung was expected to have at least one Android smartphone at the show, but it recently said its handsets would be delayed until the second half of the year. The company will likely focus on handsets like the UltraTouch, the Acme i8910, as well as the revamped TouchWiz user interface.

 

Many attendees will cram in today to hear what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has to say at his keynote: a Microsoft phone seems unlikely, but there’s likely to be major improvements to the Windows Mobile operating system, which has been outshone by Apple’s iPhone, Android and the forthcoming Palm Pre in the smartphone department. Also expected: MyPhone: a Web synching service.

Some new phones that will be there for sure are the Nuvifone range from the new joint venture Garmin-Asus. There’ll be at least two models on show, the 3.5-inch G60 – pictured – and the smaller M20. The M20 appears to be a Win Mobile phone, but the M60’s operating system hasn’t yet been confirmed – many are predicting Android.

The phones will focus on “location-based services” using Garmin’s GPS technology. Phone calls show the caller’s exact position, and location information is added to other apps including e-mail, photo sharing and social networking.

Smartphones apart, the industry is bracing for a downturn. No 1 mobile phonemaker Nokia has revealed sales of its handsets dropped almost 20 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. Research firm Gartner predicts that annual handset sales will fall as much as 4 percent in 2009.

*Computer Daily News
 

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