Come next week on the the 25th February, the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 will commence in Barcelona, shining the spotlight on the latest mobile technology, trends and products. On our team's end, we have been rounding-up news to shed some light on the definitive mobile device convention of the year.
This year's MWC, however, seems diminished compared to the fanfare of yesteryears' showings. One reason being, many mobile-related devices were already shown earlier at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013. The big tech event, which saw its conclusion in January, saw major phone manufacturers like Sony (Xperia Z), Huawei (Ascend Mate, Ascend D2), Lenovo (K900) and major chipset manufacturers like NVIDIA and Qualcomm flocking to showcase their flagship devices and next-gen chipset technologies.
Further jeopardizing the scale of this year's MWC event is the new trend for companies to hold their events separately from the annual mobile device convention, most possibly in a bid to stand out from the growing crowd of mobile-related news and be able to conduct events/showcase products on their own terms. This started with Samsung's popular Galaxy S III launch last year, which saw the company announcing their flagship device in London in May. Needless to say, the highly-anticipated S IV will reportedly follow suit as well, allegedly making an official appearance a month after MWC on the 14th of March.
Just earlier this week, Taiwanese company HTC announced their new flagship device, the HTC One, in another separate event held in London as well. BlackBerry (previously known as RIM) also chose to announce their new BlackBerry 10 devices much earlier in January of this year, instead of waiting a full month for the commencement of MWC.
Unsurprisingly, this year's event spotlight remains primarily on Android and Windows devices but this time, with nothing quite groundbreaking (as of yet). There are some interesting predictions (such as a Nokia's Windows RT tablet) but these allegations seem to hold very little water thus far. One exciting highlight of the MWC event would be the entry of newer mobile OSes like Firefox and Ubuntu, as these will hopefully set the ground for deeper product differentiation in the year to come.
Let's take a quick look at what to expect during MWC this year:
|ASUS not only has a 7-inch MeMO Pad, but a 10.1-inch, Tegra 3 variant of it is apparently in the works. Not officially announced yet, some people at Android Community managed to lay their hands on the device, and provided an unboxing preview video.
With the recent shift for companies to manufacture affordable tablet options to Apple's leading iPad in the 10.1-inch category, ASUS's MeMO Pad's estimated retail price of 300 euros makes it a viable competitor. It is said that the MeMO Pad 10 will be unveiled at MWC 2013, so do keep a look out.
|With three devices announced at CES 2013, you would expect the company to slow down just a little. That's not the case however, Huawei's MWC invite has hinted that the corporation will be unveiling "new products, performance goals and possibilities for the year ahead." We reckon that Huawei is referring to a myriad of devices, including a custom designed 8-core processor, a sleek P2 smartphone (plus a mini variant of it) and possibly, a higher-end Windows Phone 8 model.|
|Like Huawei, LG will be making a big show of its upcoming products at MWC 2013. Besides a 5.5-inch variant of the LG Optimus G Pro (which will come with a 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 13-megapixel camera), the Korean company is all set to feature its lower-end devices, including the dual-core LTE-enabled F5 and F7 and a refresh of its LG Optimus L Series smartphones.|
|Nokia, once the head honcho of the mobile industry, has been doing quite a fair bit of legwork last year, regaining losses with their flagship WP8 Lumia devices, the 920 and 820. While the likelihood of the Finnish company showing off a Windows RT tablet at MWC seems quite low, here's hoping they have some device for show at least. With a press conference primed for the first day of the convention, it is likely they will have a couple of new smartphones in store for us. Probably the famed 41-megapixel EOS WP8 Lumia device?|
While the unveiling of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S IV has been reserved for another date, the company is all set for MWC, with a few tablets of its own to share. The main attraction is of course in a confirmed upcoming Galaxy Note 8.0 sighting, a 8.0-inch "phablet" version of its Note 10.1 tablet that's rumored to cost between €450 to €480 for a 16GB, WiFi-only version.
According to SamMobile, its Korean source claims that Samsung will also launch a new generation of tablets under the brand name, Galaxy Tab 3. The Galaxy Tab 3 devices will include a 7-inch and 10-inch model, both of which will have Wi-Fi and cellular models. In addition, Samsung is said to be working on a high-end tablet under the codename ROMA.
|With the unveiling of its first 5-inch and quad-core Xperia Z at CES 2013, we aren't quite sure what will precede its flagship phone this soon. There are rumors circulating about an upcoming 4.6-inch 720p Xperia SP - nothing groundbreaking here - but more importantly, we are eager to see whether the allegations about an upcoming smartphone with a huge 6.44-inch 1080p display making an appearance here will bring Sony Mobile to greater heights.|
|Mozilla Foundation announced in January this year that smartphones running the OS will be available to developers in February, and in our opinion, just in time to be showcased at MWC 2013. The two smartphones will be codenamed Keon and Peak, with the latter showcasing higher-end specs. The dev phones will not be free, and pricing will be announced in early February.
Given that the operating system was showcased at MWC last year as part of the Boot to Gecko project, we wouldn't be surprised to see the phones this year at the huge mobile-centric event. Whether a mobile ecosystem based on yet another platform can sustain and succeed, that's the big question on everyone's minds. We've yet to see a key differentiator that Firefox can bring to the game, but we'll let market forces decide on that.
|Following its announcement for Ubuntu smartphones last month, Canonical has also announced a new version of its Ubuntu Linux operating system for tablet devices just this week. As such, Canonical plans to offer a developer preview of Ubuntu on February 21st for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, along with the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus smartphones.
If that's that case, we will be able to get a good look at Ubuntu running on these devices come 25th February. Stay tuned for our updates later next week.
Stay tuned for next week as we bring you MWC updates straight from Barcelona. For all the updates we've gathered to-date regarding the upcoming MWC event and partner news, check out our ongoing content round-up below.
MWC 2013 News Highlights