MWC 2013 Preview: What to Expect from Samsung, Nokia and LG

MWC-entrance

Mobile World Congress 2013 kicks off tomorrow in Spain, Barcelona, and to whet your appetite for some shiny new tech we thought we take a look at who is likely to be grabbing the headlines when the show kicks off Feb 25-29.

Samsung
While Samsung’s flagship S4 smartphone won’t be making an appearance, it has been rumoured that the Korea tech giant will be unveiling a slew of new tablets.

The first one is the much rumoured Galaxy Note 8, which is expected to get an official unveil at the show. Unlike Samsung’s Tab line of tablets, the Note 8 takes its design cues from its smaller brother, the Note II. The tablet is expected to be finished in the same Marble White and will be sporting a home button and back/menu touch buttons bellow the display, which means that device is expected to be held mostly in portrait, like a phone, rather than landscape.

The tablet is thought to be sporting a rear and front-facing camera, and there’s obviously a slot for an S Pen stylus. It’s thought the device is expected to target the mid-range market with a price tag of around £300-£350. The tablet is expected to be sporting an 8-inch HD display, 2GB of RAM and a 1.6GHz quad-core processor.

We’re expecting the Note 8 to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad Mini and Google’s Nexus 7, although it may be priced more closely to Apple’s offering than Google’s.

Samsung is also said to be preparing to launch a third generation of Android-based Galaxy Tab tablets, starting with 7-inch and 10-inch models that will make appearances at Mobile World Congress too.

Nokia
Nokia has announced a press conference for 25 February, which is right at the beginning of the Mobile World Congress. Although there is no further information about this announcement, it can be assumed that is going to be about new devices and services.

According to the latest rumours, Nokia will introduce at least one new high-end smartphone codenamed Catwalk. It’s thought it will have an aluminium chasis that’s will differentiate it from the current raft of Lumias on offer. Also, there is another model, codenamed Eos, which could come with Nokia’s PureView camera technology. Last year at MWC, Nokia unveiled their 808 PureView, a Symbian device with a camera resolution of 41 megapixels, so is Nokia planning to bring that tech to it’s Lumia range? We’ll know more next week.

Another rumour doing the rounds lately suggest that Nokia is developing a tablet based on Windows RT, with the possibility that the device will be unveiled at MWC.

The rumour came about after a video showing Nokia’s Music+ app on a tablet was quickly removed from a recent YouTube promotional video – leading many to speculate that the company has a tablet in preparation.

LG
With a lot announcements happening at MWC, a lot of manufacturers will be looking to show off their wares at pre-show events in order to try and navigate the impending tech quagmire.And that’s what LG has done with a teaser posted to their Facebook page showing off a new Otimus Prime G smartphone.

Although the official details for the 5.5-inch handset are light, early rumours suggest that a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera are in order.

The LG Optimus G Pro will find a home in South Korea in the coming weeks. It is unclear what other markets might offer the new smartphone. We hope to learn the full details of the new line of Optimus handsets at Mobile World Congress later this month.

MWC 2012 Review & Wrap Up

As the Mobile World Congress wraps up for another year, we showcase the highlights of the conference. The range of smartphones and tablets didn’t disappoint, and all the usual suspects were present, including Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG, with the latter three using the event to announce their smartphone releases for the year ahead.

Best-of-MWC

Newcomers

Mobile service provider Orange unveiled its first smartphone at MWC, the Orange Santa Clara. With a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460 processor and 16GB of storage, the Santa Clara runs using the Android Gingerbread OS and comes with an 8MP camera. It also has NFC capabilities, and is due to hit UK and European stores in the summer.

New Technology

Quad core phones had a large presence at this year’s Congress, with Huawei claiming their newest offering, the Ascend D, is the fastest smartphone on the market. During MWC, only Sony seemed to be sticking with the older dual-core processors, as smartphone manufacturers turn to devices with four processors to create faster, more powerful machines.

Also parading the quad-core hardware was LG’s Optimus 4X HD. As well as the extra processing power, the company’s new flagship boasts a high definition screen and a 4G receiver. Although LG stated that the smartphone has enough power to support hardcore gaming, they also added that, with normal use, consumers would only have to recharge the handset every two days.

Trailblazing down a different path, Nokia used MWC to reveal its 41-megapixel 808 Pureview. The company’s newest offering isn’t the sleekest on the market – with extra weight and Nokia’s Symbian operating system – however, the device’s powerful camera, with enhanced low-light performance and image compression, could make up for its flaws. See Jack’s article on it yesterday for more detail.

The Best of the Rest

Samsung showcased their tablet range, including the new 10-inch Galaxy Note. Samsung’s product strategy executive, Hankil Yoon, admitted, however, that Samsung were still struggling to wrestle a chunk of the market away from competitors.

Mozilla announced they are opening up their own web app store ahead of the release of their new operating system, Boot to Gecko (B2G), which is based on HTML5. Handsets running B2G won’t store any data on the device itself, instead the handset will require an internet connection to display, well, pretty much anything. The Mozilla Marketplace paves the way for developers to start experimenting with this concept.

While most of the event’s buzz was focused on new hardware, operators NTT DoCoMo and SK Telecom showcased powerful new technology. SK Telecom revealed its Android operated robots, which function as a learning aid for children, while NTT DoCoMo unveiled its ticketing app, with which you can view and purchase event tickets just by tapping your phone against the relevant poster.

It’s no surprise that Google dominated MWC 2012. With more powerful phones, more OS competition, and rumours of an iPhone 5 on the horizon, however, we can only guess what next year’s MWC will look like.

MWC 2012: Android’s coming of age party

This year’s Mobile World Congress was the best ever. No – this isn’t one of those super-positive articles that vapidly attempts to befriend everyone. It genuinely was the best. Why? How about this: 41 megapixel camera; projecting mobile phone; a phone that plugs into a tablet. Does your iPhone do any of that?

Nokia-PureView

MWC 2012 – or as we like to call it, Android’s coming-of-age-party, was packed to the rafters with this year’s top handsets. Even Panasonic got in on the action, with its new Eluga and Lumix lines (more about those later). It seems that with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich finally providing a solid, versatile operating system for mobile users, mobile manufacturers have gone a bit mad. And it’s brilliant.

How Many MegaPixels?

The new Nokia 808 PureView has 41 megapixels. Forty-one. It accomplishes this through a 1/1.2” camera sensor – bigger than those found in a high-end point’n’shoot (and much bigger than in the iPhone 4S). The huge sensor means that it can digitally zoom without losing quality (probably up to about 5x), works better in low light and zooms 12x for 640×360 video.

It’s also got a Carl Zeiss lens at F2.4 aperture (awesome), a xenon flash and five-years-in-the-making “oversampling” technology, to make pictures super sharp. Basically, it’s the best camera phone ever – by a long way. And they paired it with Dolby 5.1 audio recording. Sick.

Panasonic has revealed a Lumix Phone 101P, with a 13.2 megapixel sensor. Yawn.

Project It!

Of course, if you want to look at stuff rather than photo it, you’ll need the Samsung Galaxy Beam. It has all the smartphone goodness of the other Galaxys (although not the size of the Note), as well as a 15 lumen projector, built right in. Shame it runs Android 2.3, but beggars can’t be choosers. If you want to project an image up to 50” onto a wall, this is your phone. No word on battery life or lamp life as yet.

Padfone?!

Sure, the Motorola Atrix was the original tablet where you could plug in a phone – but this will be better. Much better. From the geniuses behind the ASUS Transformer (there’s two new ones of those out, too) comes the PadFone – a tablet you can plug your phone into.

Or rather, it’s a big screen, which only activates when you put your phone in it. And the stylus acts as a Bluetooth headset. And you can plug in a keyboard. Its nuts, and it’s awesome, and it will be mine.

We haven’t been this excited about getting our hands on something since Gollum misplaced his precious a long, long time ago in a land far, far away (that’s right, right?).

The phone itself has a 4.3” AMOLEDqHD screen, a Snapdragon S4 dual core processor and an eight megapixel camera. It runs Android 4.0, which then scales everything up to the 10.1” display of the tablet when you plug it in the back. The tablet also comes with 5x the battery of the mobile, meaning you’ll be able to go on and on. No-one wants to carry two devices and have two mobile subscriptions – this solves the problem in one pretty need solution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1: Honeycomb is looking sweet on Samsung’s latest tablet

While I’m sitting in grey old London, some luckier gadget geeks are lording it up in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress 2011, where tablets are popping up like nobody’s business.

Latest to make its appearance is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, a far bigger version of Samsung’s 7in version.

Galaxy-Tab-10

The biggest news about the Galaxy 10.1 is its operating system – Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb), which is the first incarnation of Android that has been specially designed for tablets. Having been offered a ticket to nowhere more exciting than Euston station this morning, I’ve been eagerly catching up with glimpses of everyone else’s hands-on experience with this latest toy, and it appears that the new OS is rather akin to Windows XP in both look and feel, as well as boasting a touch interface.

In face, it relies totally on the touch interface as there are no hardware buttons at all (which may or may not sit well with you) – although semi-permanent navigation buttons sit at the bottom of the screen.

Naturally, the Galaxy Tab 10.1’s closest rival will be the iPad, so can it beat the competition? Well its screen resolution is better (1280 x 800) and the AMOLED screen appears to be stunningly bright, and it has stereo speakers too. However, in terms of build quality, it seems clear that Samsung has done a bit of corner cutting as it is far more plasticky than Apple’s flagship product (although this does in turnmake it lighter).

It has an 8MP camera rear-facing camera (although we suspect that will be rather awkward to use) and it also has a 2MP front-facing camera for video calls. However, its textured back (a feature of Samsung’s phones too) makes it easy to hold in one hand and type with the other, while the dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 chip under the bonnet makes for a really speedy user experience.

The Samsung Galaxy 10.1 will come in both 16GB and 32 GB versions and should be available in March, although there is no word on pricing as yet.

More at www.samsung.com

Mobile World Congress (MWC) preview

With the Mobile World Congress MWC upon us we thought we’d give you the low-down on what is thought to be unveiled at the world’s largest mobile phone trade show.

Samsung-Galaxy-S-II

Sony Ericsson PSP Phone

One of the phones that it thought to be unveiled will be Sony’s PSP phone – now the amount of leaks recently would suggest that Sony is ready to show the world the future of mobile gaming, well at least until the NGP get released later this year. And with the arrival of extensive Xperia Play video it almost a certainty.

Samsung Galaxy S Mini

Having launched in July last year to much acclaim and eventual 2010 global sales that topped the 10 million unit mark, the Android powered Samsung Galaxy S marked Sammy’s first true competitor to the market dominating HTC Desire and Apple iPhone.

Called the S5830 it looks to be quite a bit smaller than the Galaxy S with a 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. The Samsung Galaxy S mini will apparently come with Google Android 2.2 Froyo, and will feature a Qualcomm MSM7227 processor and will come with quad band and WCDMA support.

Samsung Dual-Core Phone

After CES saw the battles lines draw in the dual-core phone war, we’d bet of bottom dollar that Samsung will be announcing their foray into battle with a dual-core Galaxy S2 (pictured).

HTC ‘Flyer’ Tablet

According to the ever-excitable rumour mill there is a high chance that a HTC tablet will be unveiled at MWC – if anything does surface we’ll be on hand to let you know. Expect it to run on Android 3.0 – other than that we can’t be sure.

Nokia N9

Can we expect Nokia to make a splash at MWC – maybe, but don’t hold your breath – there might just be too many announcements which would probably swamp Nokia in a sea of unveilings – but if it does happen we’ll get the scoop.

BlackBerry Curve Touch

?One of the most beloved BB phones, after a recent leak of the RIM 2011 roadmap reveals that the Curve is set to get a fully touch-based interface, removing the speedy keyboard.

Spec-wise the BlackBerry Curve Touch is looking at a mid-range 800MHz Qualcomm processor with 512MB of RAM, powering the 3.25-inch HGVA touchscreen. There’s also inbuilt NFC tech, GPS and a 5-Meg camera. We expect to hear more about the Curve Touch.

HTC Desire 2

PocketNow appeared to have stumbled across images of the alleged HTC Desire 2 while a further three suspiciously accurate albeit grainy images have since emerged. And that, it seems, is not all. Images of a button-less smartphone have also been spotted which could may also show up in just under two weeks time in Barcelona.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

Having already revealed four new members of the Galaxy smartphone family already, Samsung could complete the pack by revealing the sequel to the Galaxy Tab. Oled-info.com claims to have uncovered the specs which include an eight megapixel camera, 1080P HD video, dual LED flash, three megapixel camera amongst the most notable specs.

LG Optimus 3D smartphone

A launch that has an air of inevitability about it after we saw mobile 3D screens at CES, online retailer Phonehouse.nl, the Dutch arm of the Carphone Warehouse, has the LG Optimus 3D listed on its website. Apart from the revealing picture, no specs are listed. But it could be safe to say that 3D is on the MWC 2011 agenda for LG.

BlackBerry Torch 2

Despite the Torch seemingly only being available for a relatively short time, RIM could be looking to a sequel to the touch screen Smartphone already. Tipped to fix a lot of the main internal problems that dogged its predecessor, namely the sluggish computing power, the BlackBerry Torch 2 will have a 1.2GHz processor with 512MB of RAM, which should see it whip around BlackBerry OS 6.1.

Battle of the Dual Core Smart Phones: LG Optimus 2X and Motorola Atrix

Overview

With the Mobile World Congress upon us, two manufacturers have already started the next tech race in mobile phones.  The world’s first handsets to be powered by dual-core processors – in the form of the LG Optimus 2X and the Motorola Atrix. We’ve taken the two heavyweights through a spec-based show-down to see which one produces the most bang for your buck.

Battle-of-the-Dual-Core-Smartphones

Form Factor

Both of these handsets are almost identical in size and looks, with the LG Optimus weighing at 135g and the Atrix tops the scales at 139g. Despite being identical in thickness to the LG and almost the same in width, it’s managed to gain valuable millimeters off the length. Not only does this mean that it’s slightly more compact than the LG, it also means that it weighs in a whole 4g less. We call this round a draw.

Display

Moving on, we look at the most important part of any smartphone – the screen. Both the Motorola Atrix and the LG Optimus 2X have 4-inch screens so they’re pretty evenly matched in terms of size. But, the LG comes with a rather standard 800 x 540 pixel resolution screen, the Motorola on the other hand has a whopping 960 x 540 and comes with something called ‘Corning Gorilla Glass’ for extra durability – we’re not what it is, but were sure no Gorillas’ were harmed in the making of this phone. The winner for display is the Motora Atrix, but it’s a close call.

Engine Room

Not much between the two here as they both run the Nvidia Tegra dual-core processors – they are both turbo charged smartphones. The only difference is that while the Motorola runs double the ram of the LC with 1GB of RAM. The LG runs on an standard measly 512MB., it’s unclear just how much this difference in RAM count will affect performance, but it’s safe to say that there will be some noticeable difference when it comes to speed of operation. We call this round a win for the Motorola

Storage

Smartphones are only really smart when they are filled with loads of smart apps – these require a decent storage locker. Especially as some Android apps need to on the on-board storage and not the microSD card. This makes space a massive importance. The Motorola chalks up another winning round thanks to its 16GB memory that can be upgraded to 48GB using a microSD card. The LG only offers 8GB of space, which is expandable to 32GB.

Camera

Cameras on smartphones are big business – it’s one of the first things consumers look at when considering what phone to buy – gone are a murky picture quality and now we have cameras that can give any digital cameras a run for their money. The LG handset pulls ahead with the inclusion of an 8-megapixel camera, the Atrix on the other hand has a standard 5-megapixel camera. Both phones offer a flash along with a front-facing camera for video calls, but only the LG offers full HD 1080p video capture and playback. Both phones offer a very useful HDMI port for hooking up to a high-def TV.

Software

Both of these phones will run Android 2.2 Froyo at launch – with the LG device upgrading to 2.3 Gingerbread. There’s no word from Motorola, but we would bet our lives it’s in the pipeline. Both of the phones use their own customized versions of the Android interface – the LG operating its Optimus UI and the Motorola running its own Motoblur equivalent. As there’s very little between them, and the difference between UIs is a matter of personal taste, we have no choice but to declare this round a draw.

Battery

The better your smartphone the more juice its going to use – the Motorola has a 1930mAh battery – but it does have a lot of features to power, not least the higher screen resolution. The LG has a slightly less powerful battery (1500mAh), but it does have slightly fewer demands on its power supply. However, we have to give the win to the Motorola as its battery is considerably more powerful and both phones do run the same clock speed.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that both these phones are amazing and a conclusion on them would probably be a lot easier if we knew the price. We would expect the Motorola to bit a bit cheaper – but at the moment we just don’t know

When it comes down to the numbers – the Motorola 4G emerges as the slight victor. Its fantastic screen, speedy processor and impressive memory capacity should help to you to choose between the two.

Despite being pipped at the post, the LG Optimus 2X is by no means a bad phone – it’s quite the opposite. Although being slightly behind the Atrix in terms of specs, if we were given either phone we’d be more than happy – it will comes down to person taste. For us it’s the Motorola – but we’d happy to have the LG too.