MobileCon 2012

White the Lumia 810's boxy design wasn't as exciting as Lumia 920 or Lumia 820, or and it wasn't displayed in the range of colors like the Windows Phone 8X, we appreciated the removable backplate and dedicated camera button. With a 8-megapixel camera and 1.2-megapixel "Skype-certified" chat cam, it should be a big hit with the photo-friendly smartphone crowd.

There's no firm release date or price from Nokia for the Lumia 810, but we're betting the phone makes it to market in time for the holidays. We can't wait to give it the TechRadar review treatment.

5. Mobile payment roundtable

What's it going to take to get digital wallets to take off in the U.S.? According to Ryan Hughes, chief marketing officer at mobile wallet company Isis, it's showing consumers the advantadge of mobile payments. "Consumers won't identify a problem until they see a solution to fix it," he explained at roundtable discussion that included five executives from leading digital payment companies.

According to Dekkers Davidson, head of mobile commerce at Barclaycard, it's still a new frontier. "I liken it to Lewis and Clarke, where we're a 100 miles out of Missouri and looking back over the ridge and saying, 'Ok, where are we going?'" Davidson explained.

Ultimately, it comes down to retailers and manufacturers adopting the technology. Apple famously left NFC out of its iPhone 5, opting instead for GPS-based technology for Passbook. Whether this will hamper or help the digital wallet has yet to be seen.

6. Hands-on with the LG Optimus L9

LG and T-Mobile are both working hard to become larger players in the U.S. smartphone game. Therefore it makes perfect sense that the two would team up to produce a 4G capable handset, the LG Optimus L9.

MobileCon 2012

The phone's 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 960x540 qHD screen make it a mid-range device, but that big 2150mAh battery and the chance to hop on a 4G network could make it an affordable option for users who want to high data speeds at a reasonable price.

Using the phone at MobileCon 2012, we enjoyed the playful combination of Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich and LG's own Optimus 3.0 UI, with its QuickMemo note taking app and animated screen swipe effects. We look forward to taking it to task with a full review.

7. Sprint's new 4G LTE offerings

Sprint got the MobileCon 2012 news mill running thanks to an announcement that it would add a pocketful of 4G LTE devices to its listings.

Among the pickups were the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and a Sprint Plug-in-Connect Tri-Mode USB, a dongle for instant connectivity while "on-the-go."

Sprint also grabbed the LG Optimus G and LG Mach, the latter of which we got to spend some hands on time with at the show.

8. Huawei hopes for growth

Huawei has carved out a niche for itself on Tier 2 carriers like MetroPCS and Cricket, but the company clearly wants more.

Reps from its U.S. mobile device division said it's a challenge to educate consumers not just on why they should buy its handsets, but how to pronounce Huawei properly.

Though an education campaign and competitive phones like the Android 4.0-packing Mercury will help Huawei claim a stake on U.S. soil, it's breaking into the Tier 1 carriers that will really make an impact.

A handset deal with Verizon is "happening," an exhibit hall rep for the company told TechRadar, so keep an eye out for Huawei's Tier 1 carrier presence to grow as time goes on.

9. LG for all

LG laid its handsets on the line at MobileCon 2012, letting TechRadar fiddle with the Mach, L9 and Optimus G at various intervals.

What really struck us about the Korean company's conference presence, however, was the fact that it also brought along budget phones like the Venice, which launched on Boost Mobile Oct. 10.