In this week’s Brief: Nokia, Microsoft, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, NAVTEQ, Research in Motion, Telmap, RealVNC, and Telmap

The latest batch of smartphones, tablets, and apps debuted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The trade show hosted 50,000 attendees and 1,300 exhibitors, with all the big players in the mobile world in attendance. The show included an App Planet exhibition hall and keynote addresses from the CEOs of Cisco, Ericsson, and Telefonica. Nokia and Microsoft grabbed headlines with the announcement of a new alliance. Sony Ericsson meanwhile released its much-hyped PlayStation phone; LG unveiled a new tablet, the Optimus Pad; and RealVNC released a new VNC Mobile Solution for Automotive.

Nokia and Microsoft

Nokia and Microsoft announced a new alliance to collectively design, develop, and market mobile solutions. The alliance marks the union of the worldwide leader in software and the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer. Together, they’ll try to counter the dominance of the iPhone and Android smartphones. “By moving in the direction of the Windows Phone and partnering with Microsoft, we create an environment where Windows Phone is a challenger,” Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop said at the Mobile World Congress. “We have created a three-horse race.” Nokia will adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 software as its main smartphone software and will give its users access to Bing. Microsoft in turn will integrate Nokia Maps into the core of its mapping services and will merge Nokia’s app store, Ovi, into the Microsoft Marketplace. Nokia’s stock tumbled shortly after the announcement, with investors concerned that Microsoft got the better end of the deal.

LG Optimus

LG showed off its new Optimus 3D smartphone, which boasts two 5-megapixel cameras that can record, view, and share 3D content. LG also showcased its new Optimus Pad, the company’s first foray into the tablet space. The tablet has an 8.9-inch display and the same 3D recording and video capability as the 3D smartphone. The tablet will be released this spring in the US as the LG Slate with T-Mobile and in Europe as the Optimus Pad. It will compete with the likes of the iPad, the Motorola Xoom, and the new GALAXY Tab 10.1.

Samsung’s GALAXY Tab 10.1

Samsung announced its new GALXY Tab 10.1. The device has a 10.1-inch display with dual surround-sound speakers and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. The tablet will go on sale this spring to Vodafone customers first in more than 20 global markets. “As a leader in the Android-powered tablet market, Samsung is committed to providing a variety of feature-rich, always-on devices,” said DJ Lee, Samsung’s executive vice president.

Sony Ericsson’s PlayStation Phone

Sony Ericsson announced the Xperia PLAY, dubbed the “PlayStation Phone,” long before its unveiling at the Mobile World Congress. The idea of the phone is to deliver smartphone functionality along with an immersive gaming experience. In portrait mode, the Android smartphone appears like a standard Xperia phone; slide out the gaming control, however, and out pops a digital D pad, two analogue touch pads, and the four PlayStation icons: circle, cross, square, and triangle. A Qualcomm optimized Snapdragon processor delivers topnotch graphics to the screen with minimal battery consumption.

NAVTEQ LocationPoint

NAVTEQ showcased its latest innovative mapping solution—NAVTEQ LocationPoint. LocationPoint is a mobile ad network that delivers hyper-local mobile ads and special offers when consumers approach advertised locations. Built-in features make it easy for consumers to go, shop, buy, or save coupons for later use. NAVTEQ announced that it has forged new mobile partnerships with Research in Motion and Samsung. The company also added Telmap to its list of navigation and LBS app developers, which includes NDrive, Navigon, Appello, and Poynt.

RealVNC Mobile Solution for Automotive

RealVNC released its newest VNC Mobile Solution for Automotive. The solution provides remote access and control of mobile devices and desktop computers directly from in-vehicle telematics or infotainment systems. RealVNC’s technology enables virtually any mobile device to be automatically detected, accessed, and controlled from the vehicle’s touch-screen or fixed input devices, such as steering wheel switches and head unit buttons and menus. RealVNC has already signed agreements with automotive OEMs and equipment suppliers like Clarion, Wipro, QNX, Cybercom, Elektrobit, and many more.

Telmap Facebook Widget

Telmap announced a location-aware Facebook Widget as part of its Mobile Location Companion. With the widget installed, Facebook users can share their location and what’s on their minds through updating their Facebook status, thereby attaching a location to their thoughts and activities. The updated status—with the location graphically depicted by a map—will be available on the user’s Facebook wall. Users can access their Facebook account to update their status and share their location directly from the location companion either through the widgets carousel or through any location details screen in the application.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.