As the year draws to a close Which? Mobile takes a look back at an eventful 12 months in mobile. Who screwed-up the worst? Who filed the most lawsuits? Find out in the Which? Mobile 2010 Awards.
Winner: Microsoft, Windows Phone 7
Ok, so Microsoft’s launch of Windows Phone 7 was relatively low key. But the operating system itself is a massive step in the right direction for the software giant, which has spent the last few years pushed into irrelevancy by the likes of Apple and Google. Next year will be a crucial one for Microsoft, and could see the beginnings of its re-emergence as a major player in the industry.
Biggest mobile phone fail
Winner: Apple, ‘antenna gate’
The iPhone 4’s antenna problem probably didn’t quite merit the level of media coverage that it got, but it did spark off one of the best press conferences we’ve ever seen, with CEO Steve Jobs managing to peeve off a number of manufacturers by claiming their phones all have the same problem. The aftermath of ‘antennagate’ saw a top Apple exec lose his job, but tellingly no real damage to iPhone 4 sales.
Best feature phone
Winner: Sony Vivaz
The Sony Ericsson Vivaz is at the very high-end of the feature phone category and manages to pack a quality 8.1Mp camera and music player, as well as 3G and wi-fi connectivity. However, with a new breed of budget Android smartphones proving extremely popular, the feature phone is a slowly dying breed.
Most expensive phone
Winner: Stuart Hughes-designed iPhone4
Five hundred diamonds, gold plating and a five million pound price tag, makes this iPhone 4 surely one of the most lavish and expensive handsets in history. We’re pretty sure all that customised bling has invalidated the warranty and for five million pounds you could have probably hired Steve Jobs to personally fix the antenna problem himself.
Most inventive mobile phone TV advert
Winner: LG Optimus 7
LG aren’t exactly known for their inventive mobile phones, but this kooky ad for its Windows Phone-powered Optimus 7 wins the best mobile phone TV ad by a wide margin in our books. Who knew a phone could kick so much ass?
Best smartphone operating system
Although Windows Phone 7 grabbed most of the headlines in the latter half of the year, 2010’s major success story has been Google’s Android, which has gone from strength-to-strength since its roll out last year. Market growth of Android phones has been explosive, and unless Nokia starts to get its act together it looks like Google is all set to dominate the budget smartphone space.
Winner: iPhone 4
Despite the antenna problems, it’s very hard to give the award for the best smartphone of 2010 to anything other than the iPhone 4. The original iPhone pretty much set the standard for what a smartphone should do and whether it’s web-browsing, apps or multimedia, the iPhone 4 continues to lead the way.
Weirdest phone feature
Winner: JCB Floating phone
We’ve seen a number of waterproof phones in the past, but the JCB Toughphone is the first floating phone we’ve come across – perfect for making hands-free phone calls while in the bath. A weird but, we guess, welcome development in mobile phone technology.
The lawsuit-filer of the year award
The mobile phone industry is currently bogged-down in patent lawsuits, with nearly every big name manufacturer allegedly indulging in patent infringement. But when The Guardian compiled a chart of ‘who’s suing who’ the level of this legal quagmire was truly exposed. With 8 lawsuits currently filed against everyone from Apple to Motorola, Nokia was the most sue-happy company of the year.
Ugliest phone of 2010
Winner: Alcatel 808
Oh dear, poor Alcatel. The 808 really does set new standard of ugliness in the mobile phone world. We can only guess that a focus group full of 14-year old girls are to blame, but you would think that, being a French company, Alcatel would know something about style…
Executive rant of the year award
Winner: Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is never one to shy away from confrontation. Back in October the Apple CEO conducted an epic 5 minute rant against Google and BlackBerry makers RIM, concluding with the claim that 7 inch tablets are “useless unless you include sandpaper so users can sand their fingers down to a quarter of their size.” The best thing about the rant? Apparently Jobs was eating a sandwich while doing it. What a guy.
Best mobile phone product placement
Everyone may be talking about the Nokia N8’s multiple appearances in Tron, but this year saw an even more audacious example of cinematic mobile phone product placement. A manufacturer managed to travel back in time and get its phone featured in a 1930s Charlie Chaplin film. Unfortunately the picture quality isn’t good enough to reveal who was behind the stunt, but we reckon Apple is the only company ballsy enough to tamper with the space-time continuum.
Winner: Alcatel OT-209
At 99p The Alcatel OT-209, as far as we can tell, is the cheapest mobile phone around. It won’t win any awards for its specs or looks, but for the price of the diamond-encrusted iPhone 4 above, you could buy 5 million OT-209s. And you know what that means? Yep, a house made out of phones.
Winner: Nokia C3
Not many phones offer a Qwerty keyboard, Mp3 player and wi-fi for under £50, but the C3 shows that Nokia still knows how to keep the lower-end of the market happy.
Winner: John’s Phone
We can’t decide whether the pencil and paper contacts book is supposed to be ironic, but we do like the gall of releasing a mobile phone that can’t even send a text message. John’s Phone is like some weird protest against the current smartphone explosion – all you can do is call, receive calls and hang up.
Winner: Nokia N8
When we unboxed the Nokia N8 and held it in our cynical little hands we felt a flash of hope: ‘perhaps this really is a new beginning for Nokia’, ‘maybe the N8 really can take on the iPhone’. We liked the weight, the feel, the design… and then we turned it on. Despite its expertise in hardware, Nokia’s Symbian operating system is still the elephant in the room and if Nokia wants to challenge Android and the iPhone next year it will have to radically rethink its gameplan.