Phil at Mobile World Congress

Welcome to Barcelona and Mobile World Congress. And things are already pretty insane. And we're not just talking tapas here. Though if you want to talk tapas, I can go on for days. And if history repeats, probably will for a week or two once I get home. My wife's already prepared for me to eat only (and, yes, many) small portions of meat and cheese for days.

But enough about the food. 

Saturday was a travel and decompression day for many of us here. Arrive in the early morning after flying through the night. Find your apartment or hotel, get settled in, and head out on the town. Eric from Phonescoop got about 30 or so of us together Saturday night. Great to see friends old and new. And, somehow, we made it home.

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But enough about the drink.

Let's talk about about the news of the past week, and what we're about to see here in Spain.

Samsung's lurking, lurking, lurking ...

So the Korean manufacturer isn't having a formal press event, which is a shame because they're usually pretty great. But that hasn't stopped them from announcing products. Woke up this morning to news of the Galaxy Tab 2 and the Galaxy Beam. The former basically is the Galaxy Tab N, which is that version released in Germany to get around Apple's design patent complaints. They've added in Ice Cream Sandwich, which is nice, but Sammy needs to get its current devices updated ASAP. The Galaxy Beam is a 4-inch smartphone with a built-in projector and a 2,000 mAh battery.

I joked on Twitter last night that maybe this will finally be the year for projector phones to take off. We've seen these come and go over the years. Mostly go. The idea of being able to display video or whatever from your phone is still a novelty for most. I'm not really sure where Samsung expects this to fit in the scheme of things. Maybe they're just going for that niche.

There are rumors of a Galaxy Note 10.1 lurking around. So if the Galaxy Note is a big phone with a stylus, will a 10-incher be a tablet with a stylus? And will that be the only differentiator from the Galaxy Tab 2? Film at 11.

The HTC leaks

Looks quite impressive. But can I see what's in the box already?

LG is trying to kill us ...

I love LG. I really do. But announcing eight smartphones ahead of Mobile World Congress means we've got eight freakin' phones to take a look at from that manufacturer alone. It's a good problem to have, I suppose.

But don't blame any of us here when we start slurring specs together. One has LTE and a 5-inch screen and a dual-core or maybe quad-core processor, or maybe it's got a 3D display, or maybe it's god a high-def display with LTE and a dual-core processor and maybe it's an Asia-only device and ... and ... and ...

Apps and privacy policies ...

The California attorney general got together with the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google, HP, Microsoft and RIM -- owners of app stores, all -- and all have promised to conform to California law that requires mobile apps to have an easily accessible privacy policy if they collect data. 

In and of itself, this is a good thing. For the end user, this can be as simple as a visible link to a privacy policy on a webpage somewhere. It doesn't have to be in your face all the time, it just has to be there. Think of it like the various licenses you'd find at any business office. You don't have actually see the license to get your work done, you just have to know it's there. (Full disclosure: Our first-generation Android Central app doesn't have a privacy policy attached, though it does, like every other Android app, declare permissions at the time of install. You can find our site privacy policy and ToS at the bottom of this page.)

Some have said this may cause more work for the developer, because they'll have to find someone to walk them through the legalese. Good. Any app worth its salt should have a terms of service link. And, frankly, I couldn't care less about if it's more work for the dev. That's basic stuff. Chances are there will be a boilerplate anyway.

But I'm confused. I thought we were supposed to be concerned about simplified, easy-to-understand privacy policies, like Microsoft and the U.S. Congress are when it comes to Google.

Samsung Galaxy Note review

It's finally up. I really do like the phone. And I really don't want to carry something around that's that big. Like all things smartphone, it really comes down to personal taste, and that's mine. Doesn't mean it's not a good phone (it is), and it doesn't mean the stylus scheme doesn't work (it does).

But when people suggest we focused too much on the size of the device, I want to know what else they'd write about. The damn thing's 5.3 inches diagonally. That'd be like going on a date and completely ignoring the giant wart on her nose -- or maybe some more pleasant assets. You have to take an oversized phone's dimensions into consideration. You don't have to obsess about it (and I don't think we did), but size most definitely is important in this case.

Other things I think ...

  • Is it here yet? I don't know what Temple Run is -- all I know is I keep seeing announcements that it's not yet ready to be announced, and that if you do see it in the Android Market, it's probably spam or malware. That goes to show the danger of hypebeasting -- the building of hype when there's no real meat on the bone. (Plus it's kind of annoying to see that an app is still not ready.)
  • The BlackBerry Android Market World: This thing about Android apps being uploaded to the BlackBerry App World without developers' permissions is odd, but not necessarily new. We saw the same sort of thing happen with Google's core apps on GetJar. Turns out it was with permissions, but still kinda weird.
  • Bypassing the Market: Downloading apps to your computer directly from the Android Market? Not crazy about this. And I'm pretty sure Google feels the same way. I'm also not crazy (in principle) about seeing blogs share .apks just because the apps aren't available in certain location. Yeah, I'm being a little Polyanna about that. But this is in the same vein as those bullshit scraper sites that take your RSS feed and republish it with their own advertising -- even the ones that do so with good intentions as aggregators. On the other hand, it makes apps easier to upload to BlackBerry App World. (See what I did there?)
  • Swiftkey on the BlackBerry PlayBook: If RIM really is using some of the SwiftKey keyboard in its tablet, why not trumped the fact? It's a great keyboard. And it's not exactly like RIM's shy about touting its tablets Android capabilities.
  • Google Glasses: Someone needs to tell folks that despite the rumors, these Google HD glasses things don't actually yet exist. I can run polls on unicorns all day long, too, but that's not going to make them appear. And I've got a feeling that if these glasses do come to fruition, they're going to be a bit different than everyone's saying anyway. Alex Dobie brings up a good point: how much battery and radio do you really want to strap to your face?

OK, boys and girls. That'll do for now. Stay tuned for a deluge of Mobile World Congress news.