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Martphones That Stand Out From the Crowd

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BARCELONA, Spain — It is the modern phone maker’s dilemma. In the touch-screen era, how do you stand out from the crowdwhen most phones are near-identical glassy rectangles?
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Slide Show
New Phones Being Shown at Mobile World Congress
To get some attention, hardware makers are being forced to find new waysto appeal to buyers who are less interested in particulars like processor speeds than in what applications the devices can run, and how easily they can access their e-mail and Facebookon it.
“At theend of the day, there’s only so much you can do with a piece of glass,” said Chris Jones, an analyst with the research firm Canalys. “Software can make or break a phone.”
At the Mobile World Congresshere this week, some phone makers are responding by rolling out devices with a twist, hoping that they can grab a buyer’s eye with a unique feature like 3-D capabilities. Others, like HTC, are buyingor investing in gaming and entertainment companies whose services they can pipe into their mobile devices.
When it comes to applications, the iPhone still has the biggest selection. But phone makersseeking a strong rival to Apple’s healthy app economy have turned to Android, the mobile operating system created by Google that is the core software for devices from dozens of manufacturers.
AndyRubin, one of the chief architects and engineers behind Android at Google, said Android provided the “basic tools” to allow phone makers to create new models faster, since they do not have to worry...
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