MWC day one: the Empire strikes back

We know, there was an absolute flood of news from Mobile World Congress today, but day one in Spain has finally come to a close, and it looks like Microsoft is flexing all its muscle to try and lock up partners and rejoin the fight for mobile dominance. Seriously, this is Redmond's show: we haven't seen a new, non-prototype Android handset powered up yet, and that's frankly astonishing and somewhat disappointing. What else did we learn?

  • As expected, Windows Mobile 6.5 brings some much-needed interface enhancements to the table along with the Windows Marketplace app store and My Phone syncing, but some longstanding issues remain -- the biggest one being that it still doesn't support capacitive touchscreens. We spent some time with it, and while we're impressed with the new lock screen, honeycomb app launcher, and browser, it's obviously just a paint job -- it's still kinda laggy and the media features haven't been changed at all.

  • The Palm Pre is going to have full Flash support. So will Windows Mobile, S60, and Android, according to Adobe. BlackBerry and iPhone users are still out in the cold.

  • HTC launched the Touch Pro2 and the Touch Diamond2, which are super-evolutionary in the best possible way. Both are incredibly slick and well built, feature some nifty new calling features and UI tweaks, and will be upgraded to WM 6.5 for free when the time comes.

  • The hardware highlight of the show so far has to be the Samsung OmniaHD, which can capture and play back 720p video. S60, 3.7-inch AMOLED screen, yeah yeah -- it's a phone with freaking HDMI out. What more do you need to know?

  • Huawei had the only new Android handset we've seen on display. Only it wasn't so much a "handset" as a "non-working hunk of plastic." It'd be cool if it was real, but it's obvious to us that Microsoft wanted this to be its party, and those kids from Googletown weren't invited.

  • LG launched the Arena KM900 featurephone and the GM730 WinMo phone, both with variants of the S-Class UI. We'd be interested if the GM730 ran it as well as the Arena, but it doesn't. Way more intriguing: the GD900, which sports a super-cool transparent keypad.

  • LG also made a splash by announcing a deep partnership with Microsoft: WinMo is is going to be LG's "preferred" smartphone OS, and it's committed to launching an incredible 50 Windows Mobile devices through 2012. See what we mean by Microsoft's party?

  • Nokia forgot to launch the 8.1 megapixel N86 at MWC, instead unveiling it in Singapore. Hey guys, we're all in Spain -- you know, where the E55 and E75 launched?

  • Acer came to this gunfight with a spoon, launching four me-too WinMo 6.1 phones -- two of which most likely can't be upgraded to 6.5. We wouldn't take 'em if they were free.

  • Sony Ericsson showed off a vapor-y Symbian Foundation phone with a 12.1 megapixel camera codenamed the Idou. It's pronounced E-Do, and by the time you'll be able to buy one we don't think you'll be interested anymore.

  • Garmin-Asus let us play with the Linux-based nuvifone G60 and WinMo-based nuvifone M20. They're slick and have solid GPS features, as you'd expect. But why did they make us shoot the demo in a moving car?

  • There might be a HTC G2 called the "Magic," and it might be coming to Vodafone. There might also be an Android-powered LG KS360. There might also be no chance in hell these two are at MWC.

  • We spotted a GSM Palm Pre with a Vodafone SIM card, which could mean everything or nothing. But it exists!

Whoa, those are just the highlights -- you can check out everything that went down right here. We're hoping the rest of the week brings some crazy Android news, but we're not holding our breath -- Microsoft wanted to make a statement here in Barcelona, and after day one, we'd have to say it succeeded. Keep it locked, we'll be back tomorrow!

P.S.- Remember, if you're not loving all the MWC news, there's a special RSS feed just for you. Seriously though -- this stuff is pretty sweet.