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Mobile World Congress Preview: 10 Hot Devices

Feb 25, 2012 (04:02 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=232601349


Each February, the GSM Association throws a huge bash for its wireless network operator, handset maker, and service provider members. Hosted in Barcelona since 2006, Mobile World Congress is the premiere mobile event of the year and attracts some 60,000 attendees. Sprawling across eight different halls at the Fira de Barcelona--not to mention countless off-site hotels and meeting spaces--MWC is often host to the biggest phone- and network-related news of the year. MWC 2012 looks to be another banner event, with lots of exciting news and announcements on deck.

While most attendees check out the newest offerings on the show floor, the big news is announced at press conferences held by major handset vendors. This year Hauwei, LG, Sony, and HTC are all jockeying for attention with new smartphones and surprises.

Other important events on the agenda include a Nokia press conference, an Intel keynote, a keynote by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and a Windows 8 preview by Microsoft.

Some of the devices that we expect to see include smartphones with four cores, high-definition displays, 8- and 12-megapixel cameras, LTE 4G, the newest Android operating system, the newest Windows Phone operating system, and screens that range beyond five inches.

But Mobile World Congress isn't all about phones, at least, not any more. MWC 2011 saw the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the HTC Flyer, and the LG G-Slate tablets. You can be sure we'll see more tablets at MWC 2012, too, including new gear from Huawei and possibly Asus.

Click through this slideshow to see some of the interesting devices that we expect to show up in Barcelona, starting with the Asus Eee Padfone.

Asus may have first taken the wrapper off the Eee Padfone at CES in January, but the hardware wasn't final, nor was the software. Since then it has metamorphosed from the ugly duckling we saw in Las Vegas into something, well, into something else. Asus will have the Eee Padfone in its final form available at MWC, and we hope to be impressed.

[ See our complete Mobile World Congress 2012 coverage, live from the mobile industry's hottest event. ]




HTC is teasing that its fans "will discover something fast" at the show. What does HTC have up its sleeve? The Tegra3, quad-core One X, of course. This fabled, four-core machine will run Android 4.0, offer the latest version of Sense, include a massive display, and pack enough bells and whistles to make your head spin. But will it make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs?

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Huawei is expected to show off the Chinese firm's Diamond series smartphones. We don't know much about these smartphones, but they will likely pick up where Huawei's Ascend P1 S left off at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

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LG made a slew of announcements in advance of MWC, including dueling 3-D Android smartphones, the Optimus 3D Cube, and Optimus 3D MAX. Both shoot 2-D and 3-D still images and high-def video. The Cube boasts the ability to edit 3-D video directly on the device, while the 3D MAX promises to be the "whole 3-D package," with support for 3-D video out to your 3-D HDTV. (Headaches available for free!)

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The Optimus LTE Tag incorporates near-field communications and ships with NFC-based tags (in the form of stickers) that can activate certain phone functions. For example, the tags can be placed in an office, car, or home, and when the phone is touched to them it can be set to switch to silent mode, to activate Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, to turn up the volume, or complete other actions. LG hopes to help spur NFC innovation with the LTE Tag. (Sorry, but you can't set it so that your spouse stops calling.)

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The Optimus Vu boasts a five-inch, in-plane switching display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 1024 x 768 pixels. It's also wider than the Titanic and will give you raging hand cramps. The device will include a stylus, similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Note, and looks like it might be another phablet in the making. The Optimus Vu will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, though LG says it will be updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich within three months of its release. It will ship in March.

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Nokia displayed a few handsets at MWC, with Microsoft's Windows Phone featured as the main attraction. Nokia hasn't made official plans known, but tipsters suggest we'll see a low-end smartphone called the Lumia 610 and a world-class version of the Lumia 900, complete with killer camera. Nokia is teasing fans with the below video.

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Panasonic has not strayed far from its home market of Japan for what feels like forever. That's what made the announcement of the Eluga ahead of MWC a surprise. This incredibly thin Android smartphone hopes to entice with a 4.3-inch, 960x540 pixel display, NFC, dual-core processor, and an 8-megapixel camera in a body that measures a wee 7.8mm. Now, if only we can do something to convince Panasonic to change the name.

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Samsung dropped word of these two low-end Android smartphones ahead of MWC, perhaps hoping that no one would notice them. Both share the bulk of their under-the-hood (and underwhelming) features, including 800-MHz processors, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, 4 GB of memory, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, and all the usual stuff. About the only thing memorable about these smartphone sequels, however, is that they pack NFC. We shall see if these pee-wee phones are all Samsung has to offer at the moment.

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The ZTE Mimosa, a new Android smartphone, is notable because it includes both a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and a Nvidia Icera modem chipset. The Mimosa X is the first device to contain a Nvidia modem, CPU, and GPU. The Mimosa X boasts dual-core processors and will ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Mimosa X will be available starting in the second quarter and it is aimed at the middle of the smartphone market. Champagne and orange juice are not included.

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