Mobile World Congress is just around the corner; in fact, I'll be taking off next Saturday and landing in Barcelona around 2:00 p.m. on Sunday just in time for all of the fun to start. Sunday, so far, is looking to be one of the busiest days with events from Sony, HTC and others already planned. When I'm not busy stuffing my face with tapas and red sangria, I'll be hunting the show floor and meeting with as many companies as possible to bring you the latest news from abroad. So what can you expect?
NVIDIA will be in the spotlight and will no doubt take the stage and show off the true power of its quad-core Tegra 3 chipset, which will launch in tablets and smartphones during the first quarter of this year, and rumor has it HTC will have at least one quad-core device. Let's quickly go through several of the rumors that have surfaced recently, which should give us a bit of an insight into what to expect during the show.
The TechnoBuffalo team has already written extensively on what to expect from HTC during the show. We hope to hear more about the highly rumored HTC Edge/Endeavor phone that could end up launching with a quad-core processor — likely provided by NVIDIA, as well as a 4.7-inch screen with a 720p resolution, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a super slim 0.4-inch form factor. We're also hoping to see the HTC Ville, which first leaked in early December. The Ville is rumored to pack an 8-megapixel camera, a 4.3-inch qHD display, Android 4.0, a 1,650mAh battery and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. Next up is the rumored HTC Primo, a Beats audio device with entry-level hardware including a dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz, a 5-megapixel camera and 512MB of RAM. Finally we might get a glimpse of the HTC Quattro, a tablet that will reportedly be equipped with a 10.1-inch display, a quad-core processor, 16GB of storage, a 2-megapixel camera, Scribe stylus support and 1GB of RAM. It remains unclear if all of these devices will be announced, just a few, or many more, but HTC typically puts on a good show at Mobile World Congress so we can't wait for its press conference.
Sony Ericsson, now simply known as Sony, should have at least two new devices during the show. Early leaks have suggested the company will announce the Nypon and Tapioca, two Android-powered smartphones. The Tapioca, referred to also as the LT21i, may offer a 3.2-inch display, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, an 800MHz processor and a 3.2-megapixel camera. The Nypon, also known as the LT22i, is said to be a bit more on the higher end, with a 4-inch qHD Reality display, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video and more. The Tapioca could launch in July while the Nypon might launch as soon as this April.
Most rumors have suggested that LG will launch the successor to the original Optimus 3D, possibly named the Optimus 3D 2. I hope it offers a full HD display and improvements to the 3D technology used in its display, since the original Optimus 3D had pretty awful viewing angles. We're also hoping that LG will announce the quad-core X3, although that's still up in the air.
A number of recent leaks have also pointed to LG releasing a new Windows Phone called the Miracle or Fantasy during the show. LG has so far sat on the sidelines since launching the Quantum on AT&T more than a year ago, so I'm excited to see what kind of new hardware it announces. The latest images and whispers suggest LG's new Windows Phone device will be equipped with 8GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, a forward-facing VGA camera and a 4-inch NOVA display with a WVGA resolution.
Samsung won't be holding a press conference this year, so we're not expecting a ton of new devices. Even still, recent leaks have suggested the South Korea-based company will launch a "Galaxy Note 10.1." We're not exactly sure what kind of device this might be, since the Galaxy Note's 5.3-inch display is already super big for a smartphone. However, it's possible that the device will run Android 4.0 and offer the same S-Pen support as the Note does, all in a larger tablet form factor. We'll have to wait and see!
Microsoft is expected to discuss its mobile and desktop operating systems during Mobile World Congress. On one front I'm expecting the company to announce—or at least discuss—Windows Phone Tango, the successor to Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango), and I'm also expecting to hear more about Windows 8. Windows Phone Tango is rumored to require less memory than Mango and will offer improved MMS services, allow users to export and import contacts from their SIM cards and more. However, some applications might not be supported by Tango since rumors suggest it won't have the same hardware requirements as Mango. I've also long expected an official Skype client for Windows Phone, which is rumored to be in testing now, and wouldn't be surprised if that's unveiled during MWC, either.
Microsoft may also announce the consumer preview of its Windows 8 operating system, which will run on tablets, desktops and notebooks, during its Mobile World Congress press conference. The public beta is expected to launch by the end of February, so MWC seems like a good time for the Redmond-based firm to show off the latest features.
Nokia is expected to launch a number of handsets during Mobile World Congress, although none appear to be particularly drool-worthy just yet. The Finnish phone maker may launch the European version of its Lumia 900, although it has shot down rumors that it will offer a better 12-megapixel camera than the 8-megapixel shooter on AT&T's model. In addition, Nokia is expected to launch a watered-down Lumia 610 Windows Phone, possibly running Windows Phone Tango, as well as several Asha-branded handsets for emerging markets.
Perhaps we'll hear more news on the software front from Nokia, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it announces a couple of new applications that will be exclusive to Windows Phone, but that's purely speculation.
It might be too soon, but it's possible either Motorola or Intel will discuss Intel's entrance into the mobile phone market. A story surfaced just a few weeks ago that suggested Motorola was hard at work building the first Android-powered Intel Medfield smartphone. The device is said to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but little else is known about the phone at this point. I really hope to hear more about the device but I feel like Motorola might not be quite ready to unveil it.
Little is known about what Huawei has in store for the show. However, early rumors suggested that the company will launch a new Diamond series smartphone, likely powered by Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The phone is said to be the "smartest, fastest and most high-performing smartphone," yet, so there's definitely something to get excited about.
Acer has been relatively quite and we don't typically see its handsets show up in the United States. Even still, the company may announce a new CloudMobile Android smartphone. The device is said to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and feature a 4.3-inch HD display and Dolby sound in a body that's just 10mm thick.
ASUS could launch its ASUS Transformer TF300T tablet during Mobile World Congress. The device is rumored to offer a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 10.1-inch IPS display with a 1200 x 800-pixel resolution, an 8-megapixel camera and more. The company may also announce a watered down ASUS Transformer Prime with a dual-core processor, although additional specs on that device are still slim.
ASUS is expected to announce the Padfone, a 4.3-inch device that can snuggle up inside a 10-inch tablet. Specs are still slim on the Padfone but several rumors have suggested it will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
On Monday, ZTE announced two devices that it will unveil during Mobile World Congress. One, the N910, will offer an 800 x 480-pixel display, a 5-megapixel camera and LTE support. ZTE has confirmed the N910 will launch in the United States, although it's unclear exactly when. The second device, the PF200, will feature a 4.3-inch display with a qHD resolution, an 8-megapixel camera, a 1.5GHz processor, a front-facing camera with full 1080p support, NFC and LTE support.
Mobile World Congress is going to prove to be an exciting show; I'm probably most excited to see what Microsoft, NVIDIA and HTC have in store, since I'm a huge fan of Windows Phone and am really excited to see the power of quad-core processors and how HTC implements them. Still, there's no doubt going to be more than a few surprises, too. TechnoBuffalo will hit the ground running on Sunday, February 26th when the fun begins, so be sure to check back!