From super-fast new smartphones to pen-friendly tablets, Mobile World Congress 2012 has set the stage for a standout year in mobile technology. At this year's show, we've seen superphones packing blazing fast cameras, styluses that double as headsets, an Android phone with a projector built in and much more. Perhaps the biggest theme of this year's Mobile World Congess was pure processing power as Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 made its way into phones for the first time, while both Intel and Texas Instruments announced faster mobile CPUs.
Many gadgets and apps introduced at Mobile World Congress pushed the envelope by offering improved speed and functionality, but these seven stood out from the pack.
Best Smartphone: HTC One X
HTC's newest halo smartphone combines the power of Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor with LTE connectivity inside a handsome chassis. But what sets the One X apart is HTC's new ImageSense camera coprocessor and software. The dedicated chip allows the phone to shoot images in a mere 0.7 seconds, snap stills while filming video or capture 99 photos in burst mode, then you can pick the best shot. The One X sports HTC's sleek new Sense 4 user interface on top of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, making the best Google OS look even better on a Super LCD 2 display. With so much power coming out of one phone, its no wonder the HTC One X is our best smartphone of the show.
Best Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
While many smartphone users can't wrap their head (or their hands) around the 5.4-inch original Samsung Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is more sensible and impressive. Samsung pairs the S Pen's doodling and handwriting recognition capabilities with a larger (1280 x 800-pixel) screen, adds Photoshop Touch for image editing and upgrades the OS to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Best Budget Smartphone: Nokia Lumia 610
Though the Lumia 610 will be marketed at budget-conscious consumers, Nokia didn't skimp on this Windows Phone's style or software. Available with a stunning metallic-edged black, cyan, red or white bezel, this handset (189 Euros unsubsidized) looks sexier than ,any high-end superphones. Even with just 256MB of RAM and a lower-end 800-MHz processor, the Lumia 610 provides smooth performance when navigating through Windows Phone 7.5 and using Nokia's suite of innovative applications. It's also the first phone to come bundled with Nokia Transport, a new app that helps you plan a route using public transportation rather than a car.
Best Enabling Technology: Nvidia Tegra 3 for Phones
Nvidia's mobile powerhouse, Tegra 3 made the move into smartphones at this year's Mobile World Congress, appearing in five handsets. The graphics-chip giant first showcased their quad-core CPU (later named Tegra 3) at last year's show. After months of anticipation, the first Tegra 3-powered tablet, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, arrived this past Fall. With the power of Tegra 3 behind them, such smartphones as the LG Optimus 4X HD and the HTC One X (Winner of Best Smartphone) have enough oomph to play even the most demanding games or crunch photos and videos at record-breaking speeds. And because of the Tegra 3's "4-plus-1" technology, which adds a fifth low-power core for running repetitive tasks with less juice, phone manufacturers are confident their devices will have enough battery life to get you through all those intense gaming sessions.
Best Accessory: Sony SmartDock
With Sony's new SmartDock, you can turn your Xperia P smartphone into a media center PC. The device hooks up to your home theater and allows you to run all your apps and content on the big screen while you sit on the couch. A living room-friendly user interface makes it easy to navigate using a remote control. You can even attach a keyboard to edit your documents or respond to emails as you would on a desktop computer.
Best Convergence Device: ASUS PadFone
It's three products in one. Powered-by a 1.5-Ghz Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB of RAM, the 4.5-inch PadFone offers a brilliant Super AMOLEDqHD display. But the real fun starts when you snap the handset into the optional PadFone Station tablet dock, transforming the PadFone into a fully-functional 10.1-inch tablet. The PadFone Station's 1280 x 800-pixel display was crisp and provided excellent color quality. The company also brought out a keyboard dock that turns the PadFone Station into a 10.1-inch laptop, all powered by the same handset. The ASUS Stylus Headset further adds to the experience, allowing users to write on the PadFone Station's screen and answer calls. The multiple talents of this ambitious hybrid are truly impressive.
Best App: PocketCloud Explore
You're out in the field with your phone or tablet, but that PowerPoint presentation you need right now is sitting on your home computer . . . or was it your office desktop? Available for both Android and iOS, PocketCloud Explore allows you to access and search content that's sitting on the hard drives of up to 10 Internet-connected PCs or Macs, right from your mobile device. PocketCloud Explore originally launched a few months ago, but at Mobile World Congress, its developers unveiled both Ice Cream Sandwich and an iOS versions of the application while showing off a slew of newly released and upcoming features. Users are now able to stream content from remote computers onto their phones and, in the near future, they'll be able to share remote content with a friend using Android Beam.