Android overload at Mobile World Congress

We tech bloggers spend a lot of time talking about the struggle between iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. It seems like every week a new survey comes out proving that one is beating the others, with iOS and Android trading places as the "winner."

I like Android a lot, but I think both its greatest weakness and its greatest strength is the wide variety of hardware that it's available on. For true Android geeks this vast selection of handsets is amazing, but for the average consumer who just wants a new phone it can be quite daunting.

The Mobile World Congress is happening in Barcelona, Spain this week, but as is typical these days a few companies couldn't wait for Day 1 of the show to start talking. Samsung, Sony, Huawei and HTC either held press conferences or spoke privately to the press yesterday, and I have to tell you, I'm already losing track of the vast number of handsets and tablets being announced. I'm not in Barcelona so like you I'm following various gadget blogs who have reporters on the scene, and scrolling through post after post of shiny new handsets is just causing my eyes to glaze over. And I'm a fan!

I don't know what the solution is (if a solution is even needed) but I guess it's going to take the smartphone equivalent of Amazon's Kindle Fire. Some heavyweight brand is going to have to heavily customize Android and put it on a device that can somehow rise above the noise and get traction. I thought Samsung might be that company but it doesn't seem to be happening yet.

In the meantime the best we can do is sift through the announcements and pick out our favorites. I think the 'winner' of The Day Before MWC was probably HTC who showed off its new One series of handsets. Its top of the line model, the HTC One X, features a quad-core Tegra 3 chip (Nvidia now wants us to call this the 4-PLUS-1 architecture, I guess) and a 4.7" 1280 x 720 screen with Gorilla Glass [Electronista]. The bad news is that this model of the HTC One X won't support LTE; according to AndroidCentral an LTE-friendly version of the device will be coming to AT&T and it'll include a Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon chip inside. It'll be interesting to compare the performance of the two versions of the One X.

For a broader overview of the HTC Press Event, I'll send you to AndroidGuys who did a nice rundown of the event.

It's going to be a busy week for smartphone and tablet aficionados if Sunday was any indication, but I'm going to temper my enthusiasm with the knowledge of the many filters these devices have to pass through before they land in my sweaty hands. First, will they all launch? In the Android world it seems like a lot of devices are announced but never quite make it to retail. Assuming they do launch, will they launch in the US? And assuming they arrive here, will they arrived on my preferred carrier? Because at the end of the day all that really matters are the devices that show up on the local phone store's shelves.

Even with all those filters in place, I still think there are too many to choose from for the average consumer. Isn't it easier just to buy an iPhone and be done with it?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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