With Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 coming right up, we round-up some news that have made most impact in the mobile scene, and put in some of our predictions and wish lists of our own for the annual exhibition. Stay tuned for next week as we bring you MWC updates straight from the show floor in Barcelona.
|Acer has been keeping itself very quiet, and on a low profile in 2010. Though it made a renewed commitment to the mobile industry with its Android devices, there hasn't been any that managed to take our breath away. We should see more Acer devices running the Google Android OS. More importantly, MWC 2011 could be the arena where Acer reveals their earlier rumored device loaded with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7|
|Garmin-Asus would have parted ways by end of January 2011, giving ASUS free reign to reintroduce their brand name into the 2011 device lineup labeled with a "Garmin Navigation" logo. With this timely and official split, we might be able to expect new ASUS devices. The question is – will ASUS be renewing their partnership with Microsoft and announce new Windows Phone 7 devices, or will it focus on Google's open-source Android OS? These are the questions that would hopefully be answered during MWC 2011.|
|Dell has recently made a few aggressive moves into the mobile space, first with their (very confusing) Dell Streak. It joined the Windows Phone 7 party during the big launch from Microsoft, revealing the Dell Venue Pro. During CES 2011, Dell took the chance to announce its Dell Streak 7 and the Dell Venue. The former isn't just an upsized Dell Streak, as evident with the NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor that powers the Android device. Though the latter shares a similar naming convention to the Venue Pro, it is actually another Android 2.2 device.|
|HTC has been keeping a tight lid on what it might showcase at MWC 2011. It did, however, launch the HTC Thunderbolt at CES 2011. Positioned as a 4G device, the Thunderbolt bears a strong resemblance to the HTC HD7, except for its Google Android 2.2 OS loaded within. As far as we know, there will be a HTC press conference happening on the 15th of February, and with leaked images of the HTC Saga found on the web, we are hoping for more Android 2.3 based devices. Hopes aren't too high for new Windows Phone 7 devices from the Taiwanese company within the 1st half of 2011. What about a HTC tablet with Google Android 3.0? Let's just say HTC might toss us a surprise during MWC.|
|The Huawei brand isn't a newcomer in the mobile industry. But it was only recently that it made a concerted effort to enter the Singapore market. This big corporation isn't shy when it comes to its device lineup, with a whole slew of HSDPA dongles and Android devices bidding for attention in the saturated mobile industry. Should MWC 2011 be like any other year, Huawei will have a strong presence at this mobile trade show. The focus for Huawei, would probably be on devices powered by the Gingerbread variant of Google Android.|
|LG has showed its hand quite early into the year during CES 2011. The LG Optimus 2X has been announced as the company's first device using a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. At CES 2011, it was also used to demonstrate how the Tegra 2 chip is used to handle Flash content smoothly. This was followed by the LG Optimus Black, focusing on its new NOVA display which promises better power management compared to an LCD and AMOLED display. We'll only know for sure when we commence with some tests when the Optimus Black reaches our lab.
Fortunately, LG still has some more tricks up its sleeves in the form of a device with a glasses-free 3D display. Aptly dubbed as the LG Optimus 3D, the device is also armed with a dual-lens camera for 3D imaging. We'll be keeping our sights on this 3D phone when it makes its debut at Mobile World Congress 2011, and hopefully get some hands-on time with it.
|Microsoft has promised a copy-and-paste function to its upcoming Windows Phone 7 update, to be released in early 2011. During the Consumer Electronics Show 2011 (CES 2011), the Redmond company assured its impending arrival. However, no comments have been shared about the rumored Mango update, slated for a Q3 to Q4 2011 release date. This update includes HTML5 and Silverlight support on the Microsoft mobile OS.
But the more likely announcement we're looking at is the revelation of newer Windows Phone 7 models, tailored to new specifications. Previously, there were reportedly three variants of Windows Phone 7, otherwise known as chassis 1, 2 and 3. The current lineup, which includes the HTC HD7, Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7 fit the description of chassis 1, which is a full touch screen device.
|Similar to LG, Motorola made a big show of things at CES 2011. We saw the Motorola Xoom running Google Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and the appearance of the Motorola Atrix 4G. While we aren't expecting much new items for MWC 2011, we can hope that the Xoom tablet will make an appearance. Remember, during CES 2011, the Xoom was strictly hands-off to everyone, and it was running a video that demonstrates the Honeycomb interface. Perhaps, at MWC 2011, it is finally ready for some hands-on, this time without the Honeycomb video. Meanwhile, catch the latest Xoom commercial that debuted at Super Bowl if you've not yet seen it.|
|Nokia, once the head honcho of the mobile industry, will need to assure both consumers and investors alike that they can still catch up in this tech race. More importantly, everyone's eyes are on MeeGo, given how the Finnish company did not take the opportunity to make any mention of their MeeGo plans during their biggest event, Nokia World 2010. Even now, rumors of a Nokia and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 alliance have surfaced, and come 11th February, Nokia will be making an announcement during Capital Markets Day, with Microsoft being named as a partner in the announcement. Still, there might be something going for Nokia at MWC 2011, and we hope to see some updates for MeeGo and its N-series devices.|
|Typically, RIM has been a quiet vendor at MWC. This isn't surprising, given that the Canadian outfit have very little to show for within the year. More importantly, with stiff competition from its rivals, RIM has to find another angle to attract the attention. If MWC 2011 is anything like 2010, it'll be an apps showcase for the BlackBerry brand. However, there have been a few leaks on the BlackBerry front. The BlackBerry Dakota is shown to be like a BlackBerry Bold 9000, but with a capacitive touch screen. There have also been leaks for the BlackBerry Storm 3, which will reportedly be armed with a 1.2GHz processor. We'll have to see if RIM will be showing their hand at MWC 2011.|
|Samsung's mobile division has kept a low profile at CES 2011, sans the recent announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Player. The real question is – will we see an update to the Samsung Galaxy S, running Google Android 2.3? That could very well be the case, given how Samsung is doing a press conference on the 13th of February, touting an evolution at the event. And even though it was unintentional, you can catch a glimpse of the Galaxy S successor (as pointed out by Engadget) in Samsung's teaser video
Till now, there has been no news of a potential Samsung tablet appearance at MWC 2011. But with Samsung's recent order for a sizeable batch of NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chips, we won't be surprised if a new Galaxy S or Galaxy Tab makes an appearance with this dual-core ARM processor.
|The company's biggest announcement, and worst kept secret, is their PlayStation Phone. As of now, it has been announced as the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, with a mildly disturbing Super Bowl ad to go along with it. Even now, there have been numerous leaks of this gaming-centric phone. The most prominent appearance is a detailed preview of the device, which sheds more info about the device's hardware. This includes a Qualcomm Adreno 205 GPU and an app that showed itself as PlayStation Pocket.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is most likely the biggest highlight for this year's Mobile World Congress 2011. The Sony Ericsson Xperia arc, which was announced at CES 2011, will be playing second fiddle, but we expect it to make an appearance at MWC 2011. Likewise, another Xperia family member that has been leaked all over the web should make its debut at MWC 2011, that being the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo.