The first thing I noticed when I arrived was they made a mistake by having the reception in the lower ground floor thus robbing us of essential mobile signal. Not only that, they did not provide free Wireless access. A mobile-related event, without the ability to tweet? Hmm. Still the champagne was flowing - to the point that even Abul was already getting slightly drunk! We needed our access to twitter! And food!
At around 7.40pm we were finally ushered upstairs to the Ballroom (where thankfully there was signal), but not before being shooed up first. We were seated right up the front on table 3 with the people from Three Mobile and 3 Monkeys (table 3, geddit?) and a couple of journalists. Me and Abul were the only two to be invited as bloggers. Food was soon served and to be very honest I was not disappointed.
image by @adonisdemon
The seared fillet of snapper with saffron risotto was an excellent starter. Lamb was the main course in the form of braised neck fillet and sausage roll - a rather weird combination in my opinion, but I'm not going to complain. Finally I had one of the best desserts ever, their chocolate pudding served with salted caramel ice cream. Nom.
Well enough about food. The Mobile Choice Consumer Awards is all about the mobile tech. This year's edition is particularly important as it is their tenth edition. It was presented by comedian/presenter Mark Dolan of Channel 4's Balls of Steel - if you haven't heard of Mark or watched Balls of Steel before, I do suggest you do. Before the awards were presented, we had a little wager on the table on who could predict the most results. It was between me, Abul, Rob Kerr, Chris Hall and Ben Sillis. Here were the nominations including my picks:
To cut a long story short, me and Rob were tied with seven correct predictions each until the final category, which if my memory serve me correctly, was the Manufacturer of the Decade award. I decided to go for Nokia (Rob picked Apple). The reason being that while Nokia has been taking a battering the past couple of years, they have been leaders of the mobile phone industry (even if it isn't the smartphone industry) for the majority of the past ten years. Apple has been in the market for the past three years, and while they own the high-end market they have zero presence in the low to mid-end market. Fortunately for me, I was correct. I WON! :D
Phone of the Year: HTC Desire
Best Camera Phone: Nokia N8
Best Media Phone: Samsung Galaxy S
App of the Year: Comics
Most Stylish Phone: HTC Legend
Best Bluetooth Headset: Jawbone Icon
Best Social Networking Handset: Samsung Wave
Best Value Phone: HTC Wildfire
Best Mobile Sat Nav: Nokia N8
Mobile Choice Green Award: Sony Ericsson Elm
Readers' Dream Phone: Apple iPhone 4
Best Network: O2
Best Customer Service: Orange
Best HIgh Street Retailer: Orange
Best Online Retailer: Buymobilephones.net
Manufacturer of the Year: HTC
Manufactutrer of the Decade: Nokia
Some of the results I found to be genuinely bizarre. HTC Legend beating the Apple iPhone 4 as the most stylish device is one of them. I like the Legend (I had one for almost a month to review) and while it is very stylish, it is nothing to the iPhone 4. Still style is a pretty subjective matter, and someone on twitter joked about the iPhone 4 needing a bumber case to work which ruins its look. I do have a beef with O2 winning best network over Three Mobile, and the £210 HTC Wildfire getting the best value nod over the £70 QWERTY-toting INQ Chat 3G. And how did the Motorola Flipout get nominated for most stylish?
So anyway it is a democracy and the voters have made their decision, so I'm in no position to complain (much). :) So what did I win for getting eight out of 16 categories correct? Well the brilliant people at 3 Monkeys actually sent someone over and hand delivered a Piper-Heidsieck champagne on Friday evening (thanks Alexis!)... And Three? Well whatever it is, it is currently somewhere in a Royal Mail sorting office along with a Windows Phone 7 powered Samsung Omnia 7 review unit. I can't wait.
With the awards over, it was time to hit the party area. We were lead back downstairs to the Old Billiard Room where the organisers have set up a golf simulator and a PlayStation 3 hooked up to the PS Move.
Oh and a bar. With more champagne! :)
Thanks to the lovely people from Three UK for inviting us - shame they didn't win best network. Also thanks to the organisers of the event - I had a lovely evening.