MWC 2012: smartphones and tablets that dared to be different

MWC 2012: smartphones and tablets that dared to be different
While many of the smartphones and tablets that we got to check out at MWC 2012 relied on tried and tested methods of grabbing the audience's attention, such as high-quality displays or impressive hardware specs, other companies had decided to take a different approach and incorporate true stand-out features in their devices.

And these are devices that deserve some credit regardless of whether they succeed on the market or not. For their makers dared to think outside the box; to do things in an unusual way hoping that the crowd is going to like what they have created. Would you like to know which smartphones and tablets we think meet these criteria? Read along to find out...

Nokia 808 PureView

41-megapixel camera – sounds completely bonkers, doesn't it? Yet Nokia managed to stuff one into the Nokia 808 PureView, which is most likely going to be dominating the camera phone department for the rest of 2012. Of course, as we have mentioned before, megapixels are not indicative of a camera's quality, yet still, we have to admit that those camera samples look pretty good. And with such an outstanding feature, it wouldn't be surprising if the Nokia 808 PureView wins the hearts of many amateur photographers. Sadly, it runs the Nokia Belle platform, which in our opinion would not be of much help when it comes to sales figures.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Only a few minutes of one-on-one time with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 were enough for us to realize that a 10.1-inch display makes much more sense than a 5.3-inch one if you intend on using a mobile device for note-taking or creating artwork. And contributing to that are the improvements that the S-Pen, with which the Galaxy Note 10.1 is equipped with, has undergone. The results are better input sensitivity and accuracy, which makes hand-written notes easily readable. And if that is not enough, some Adobe apps, Photoshop Touch being one of them, have been optimized for the S-Pen, which is something that artists and graphic designers are going to be happy to hear.

Panasonic ELUGA

Waterproof phones – we have played with more than a few of them over the years. However, the Panasonic ELUGA is among the very few of them that actually look good. You know, like a proper smartphone and not like something that you would use in a self-defense scenario. At 7.8 millimeters, the handset is impressively slim, and if you didn't know, you wouldn't be able to tell that it is actually IP57 certified. It is also really light for a smartphone of this size tipping the scale at only 103 grams. Specs-wise, it is nothing spectacular, but still pretty good for a mid-range device. The Panasonic ELUGA sports a dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and a 4.3-inch qHD display.

Samsung Galaxy Beam

Samsung's first attempt to create a phone with a built in projector – a device we knew as the Galaxy Beam, did not make it too far. It was released in only a few markets, its projector (and key feature) was not too bright, and the software was somewhat half-baked. However, the new and improved Samsung Galaxy Beam seems like a much more promising device. First of all, the projector itself has a brightness output of 15 lumens, which is almost three times better than the predecessor. Thanks to that, the projected image is usable even at a width of 50 inches. The hardware is pretty decent as well – 4-inch WVGA display, 1GHz dual-core processor, and a 2,000mAh battery to keep the device running throughout the day. And even though we don't really see this smartphone becoming very popular, we are confident that it will be adored by a small, but loyal group of fans, as long as it gets priced accordingly, of course.

Asus Padfone

Is it a tablet? Is it a smartphone? No, it is the Asus Padfone – a uniquely designed blend between a smartphone, tablet, netbook, and a notepad. Actually, we were introduced to the Padfone concept way back in May of 2011, but at MWC 2012, we got to see the device its final form. What makes it so special, you ask? Well, think of the Asus Pafone as the modern Matroska dall – the set consists of an Android smartphone that goes inside a tablet frame known as the Padfone Station. The smartphone's hardware handles all the computations while the Station acts as a 10.1-inch display and recharges the handset's battery. You also get the Station Dock, which the tablet frame can attach to. The Dock features a hardware keyboard, which will definitely come in handy if you despise those pesky on-screen alternatives. And if that is not enough, the stylus, which has been thrown in the set for good measure, can also act as a Bluetooth headset. Seems crazy? Perhaps, but it may also be a concept crazy enough to work. There will definitely be people out there that will dig the Asus Padfone, and whether it will be a success from a market standpoint will become known after it hits the shelves by the end of April. 

LG Optimus 3D Max

Of course, the LG Optimus 3D Max is not the first smartphone with 3D capabilities that we lay our hands on. After all, the LG Optimus 3D and the HTC EVO 3D have been around since the middle of 2011.  However, what is common for yesteryear's 3D-capable smartphones is that they are bulky and cumbersome. Thankfully, the LG Optimus 3D Max is different. With a waistline of under 10 millimeters and weighing 148 grams, it is currently the super model of 3D smartphones, even though it is still nothing special when compared to many Android high-ends. Still, if glasses-free 3D is your cup of tea, the LG Optimus 3D Max is currently the smartphone to watch out for. And since 3D smartphones never really took off, it wouldn't be surprising if it doesn't have to face any competition in the near future. 

Acer CloudMobile and Acer Cloud

With its 4.3-inch HD display and 1.5GHz dual-core processor, there could be little doubt that the Acer CloudMobile is a pretty well spec'd Android smartphone. But when the smartphone finally hits the shelves, it will be hiding one extra trick up its sleeve. We are talking about the fact that it will be marketed as a device offering cloud features, hence its name. It will come with support for Acer Cloud, which is expected to behave similarly to the Apple iCloud service. Therefore, photos, music, and documents that you have stored on your Acer computer will be accessible on your Acer CloudMobile and vice versa. Furthermore, Acer claims that Acer Cloud will pose no limitations and will be free of charge.

So, what do you, guys, think of our list? Have we missed any smartphones and tablets from MWC 2012 that also had such notable features? Let us know by dropping a comment below.



1. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Isn't the Galaxy Note 10.1 just a Galaxy Tab 10.1 with an S-pen?

3. A.aoudi

Posts: 125; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

Yes it is and it is not the first tab with an s pen. HTC did something similar last year and it did not work out but this is a lot better

9. gp284

Posts: 120; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

and a slightly faster processor and right now the current 10.1 doesn't have ICS

18. Mario1017

Posts: 336; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

he meant the galaxy tab 2 is the same as this, not the original

11. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

no its not...the NOTE can open multiple windows to multi task while the Tab can not

19. Mario1017

Posts: 336; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

he meant the g tab 2 10.1, not the old one. and all android devices can open multiple windows and multitask....

2. A.aoudi

Posts: 125; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

Lets face the truth and no one can disagree everyone did great innovation. Samsung with a projector phone and a note tablet, Nokia with its 41 MPX , Panasonic with a dual core waterproof phone and Huawei did a good job too with the ascend and LG trying to win the 3D game. ASUS padfone is a good too but except 1 company and that is Sony which is currently releasing dual cores and has kept quad cores for next year. Sony did not think different. Xperia P is just not the answer.

6. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

I wouldn't say Huawei was exactly innovative. All they did was raise the bar on the current standard of high-end. They certainly did make a statement that they're a force to be reckoned with now, but (along with HTC and Sony) they didn't really "dare to be different" with any of their products, as did ASUS, Samsung, and Nokia.

12. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Huawei did more then raise the bar..they put the challenge out there that they WILL have an LTE capable QUAD CORE later this year...the other makers said its impossible so they will only make Dual Core LTE devices...and the battery on the Ascend D XL..awesome!

7. r41nier

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

the transparent antenna on Xperia P will eliminate the Aluminum antenna problems existing on previous Aluminum phones and tablet. that's a design innovation.

20. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

The N8 already had this 2 years ago with antennae housed in the plastic end cap, away from the aluminum unibody.

25. Snoobab

Posts: 175; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Preach, brother! :)

4. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

No, Sony was actually different. They were the only ones outdated. :p I still like Sony though, I have Neo with a promised ICS update! :)

8. samnote

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 02, 2012

i love my samsung galaxy note so much...i got mine from thailand...and i had no problem using with at&t sim card.

10. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

HUAWEI ASCEND D series ANNOUNCEMENT THAT said quad core LTE will be out later in the 2nd half of the year...ALL OTHER MAKERS SAY ITS impossible...

13. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I would disagree on the Acer and cloud service..just recently cloud services have been going down for hrs at a time...thats not something i can deal with especially if thats my MAIN source of storage of service isn't perfect and till it gets stable enough I will trust my data to onboard or removable storage

14. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

How many years are they gonna say the Samsung Beam is different???? ...its done the same thing for the past 2 years at this show and it still hasn't shown signs of being a hit or anything different..sure the specs have increased but so what.... ....its a gimmick like 3D and it'll stay a gimmick and won't sell enough to make a splash but Samsung will milk this cow till its has too..its spent too much time and effort in development to toss it'll throw a Galaxy name on it to impress people and hope because it carries a Galaxy name people will flock to it

15. matthew04101

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 08, 2012

this is all you got from MWC 2012 ? MWC sounds boring, either that or 2012 is just boring ifself........yawn! someone wake me up by the end of the year please.

16. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I agree about the Nokia 808 PureView and Asus Padfone that they are def 1 of the most notable at MWC2012 ...offering 41 MP in order to be able to zoom at 4x optical without loss is fantastic but sadly its on Symbian..Not windows..but who knows..maybe it'll happen..fingers crossed ...the Asus Padfone is radically different in that each device fits in each other and as they fit in each other you get a better experience.. then by docking each piece the maximum battery capacity keeps increasing and charging the less charged device...thats innovative ...but how much is this gonna be bundled for?.I can't see trying to market three pieces of separate hardware and not throwing the consumers a bone on the price if they decide to buy all 3 at once...under $700 for all and it should sell fast

17. Tommyp1972

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Can't believe Motorola had nothing good at the show..odd... THIS was the year I was hoping for these to be standards on all high end phones ..Quad Core LTE ..2.0-2.5 Ghz or higher Dual Core ..higher quality(not MP)cameras ..2GB of Mem ..MHL ..NFC ..2000+ mAh batteries ..gorilla glass ..1280 or higher displays ..Ice Cream Sandwich ..less bezel more screen ..shapes other then rectangles if I'm paying $300 or more possibly for a SUBSIDIZED phone then give me something that far exceeds the previous generation..give me something that says WOW..because frankly these new phones didn't do it..they were very good to excellent but nothing here said WOW..I GOTTA HAVE IT NOW!!!

21. Stoli89

Posts: 333; Member since: Jun 28, 2010

I'm still waiting for a phone that offers BOTH a good Xenon for stills and a powerful LED for video/torch. Of wait, another first for the Nokia 808.

22. hari120

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

"Sadly, it runs the Nokia Belle platform, which in our opinion would not be of much help when it comes to sales figures." Go die fanboyyyyyy

23. Rockimaru

Posts: 29; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Kony 2012

24. Snoobab

Posts: 175; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Nokia Belle is the sheeeet!! Don't hate.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.