Samsung, LG, Nokia, Sony, HTC, Acer, and Asus are just some of the big names set to descend upon Barcelona's city center for the annual Mobile World Congress trade show. MWC 2012 will once again serve as the stage for some of the year's biggest new launches in the mobile industry, plus there's always the potential for a software giant like Google or Microsoft to spring a surprise announcement. To stay abreast of all that happens during the show, keep your eyeballs locked to this stream.
Apr 27, 2012
What does the word "launch" mean to you? Angry Birds players might define it as the righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate aviary agent, but phone manufacturers are much more elusive. Some see the launch of a product as the penultimate step before sending it out to retail shelves, while others — perhaps, most — seem to treat it as just an opportunity to drum up fresh consumer interest.Read Article >
To test where the world's major handset manufacturers sit on that sliding scale, we've decided to check up on the current availability of phones launched at MWC 2012, a show jam-packed with new announcements. Today marks exactly two months since the start of that Barcelona event, surely enough time for everyone to launch devices out of factories and onto cellular networks?
Camera performance has been a real priority for HTC with the One series and all three of its newly launched Android handsets come with a selection of important optimizations. Firstly, a dedicated imaging processor has been added to allow the One phones to manipulate pictures before compressing them to JPEG format. HTC expects this to result in lower image noise, greater color accuracy, and higher overall quality.Read Article >
Most of the improvements in the One cameras actually relate to speed. Startup time of the camera app is said to be 0.7 seconds and autofocus takes a blistering 0.2 seconds, making it quicker than the blink of an eye. Holding down the onscreen shutter button (you'll find no physical camera keys on these phones) automatically flips you into burst mode, with an intelligent selection menu then allowing you to pick the best shot of the bunch and discard the rest. There's no longer any need to switch between video and photo modes — the software buttons for capturing stills and video sit right next to each other now, and HTC's neatest trick is that it also allows you to snap photos while recording video. And if you want to pull out a still from a video recording you've already made, HTC lets you do that too.
At Huawei's MWC press conference today in Barcelona, the company has just unveiled a new Huawei-made processor, the K3. We'd heard rumblings that Huawei was considering the move, and it's a big one for the company to be sure. It's a quad-core A9 CPU, with 16 GPUs inside as well. Huawei claims it has the lowest chip temperature on the market, and the smallest footprint. Huawei compared the new processor to the chips inside the Eee Pad Transformer and the Galaxy Nexus, with the K3 coming out on top in each benchmark test. It's also remarkably power efficient, with up to 50 percent AP power saving — even at very high or very low temperatures.Read Article >
The K3 is inside the new Ascend D quad smartphone, and given how much Huawei is selling the virtues of the chip, it's likely to make its way across the company's product line quickly.
MWC is just getting under way, and Huawei's kicking off the show with a new flagship smartphone: the Ascend D quad. Part of the company's new "Diamond" series of handsets, the D quad is powered by a quad-core processor, and Huawei says it's "the world's fastest smartphone." It's running Android 4.0, with three capacitive buttons below the 4.5-inch, 720p display. The handset runs on Huawei's new K3V2 quad-core processor, clocked as high as 1.5GHz, and is just 8.9mm thick and weighs 4.6 ounces — it's not LTE compatible yet, but Huawei said it will be this year. There's an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter — the former shoots 1080p video. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound is integrated, along with earSmart technology that does some pretty remarkable things with noise cancellation. There's an 1800mAh battery keeping everything going, and given the sheer power inside this phone it'll need all the battery it can get — though Huawei claims its new processor tech should make your phone considerably longer-lasting.Read Article >
That K3 processor is the real hook here. Huawei claims the Ascend D quad is 49 percent faster than "the other fastest smartphones in the world," and though we're not sure what those phones are, it's a pretty bold claim. Reps focused on everything from the Dialer to the Gallery to rooting, saying over and over that the Ascend D quad is as fast as it gets. Throughout the company's announcement, various features of the D quad were compared to the iPhone 4S, Galaxy Nexus, and other flagship phones, none of which could measure up — Huawei's swinging for the fences with this device.
Spec-wise, the Optimus 3D Max is not especially notable beyond the fact that it can do 3D on its "brightened" 4.3-inch display. When not viewing 3D, the WVGA screen is passable, but viewing 3D content is as headache-inducing as ever. We think that the 3D Max is slightly better for viewing 3D content than the original Optimus 3D, but without a proper side-by-side comparison it's hard to say for sure. Both cameras on the 3D setup are 5-megapixels and in our very-brief testing they did the job but didn't impress. It has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, which did the job of driving Android 2.3 and LG's custom skin without too much complaint.Read Article >
We didn't get a chance to test out the NFC, but we're still intrigued by the LG Tag system, which lets users create their own customizable NFC spots that can launch apps or perform other actions when tapped.
The Vu has a small button on the top that brings down a custom menu where you can select different pen sizes and colors, and then you can doodle on the screen. We use the word "doodle" intentionally, because this is a straight-capacitive screen and the styli that LG have on their display are the large, rubber type. Proper note-taking requires a full tablet or a more accurate stylus, neither of which apply to the Vu.Read Article >
If somehow the 4:3 aspect ratio and large size don't deter you, there is a lot to like with the Vu. The 1024 x 768 display is easy on the eyes and we weren't able to detect too much lag within any of the apps. Outside of the apps in LG's skin we did get a bit of lag from time to time, despite the dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor inside. Unfortunately, the Vu is running Android 2.3.6, but LG promises than an Ice Cream Sandwich update is on the way within the next three months.
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It seems to be growing increasingly difficult to keep device announcements under wraps these days, and Huawei has become the latest victim of some premature exultation. An advertising board at Barcelona Airport has started displaying a handset called the Ascend D quad, which the company will most likely make official at its upcoming MWC press conference today. Its name suggests that this will be the quad-core smartphone that was rumored a couple of weeks ago. Huawei is adding in an extra bit of relish by describing as "the world's fastest smartphone," while the capacitive Android keys up front remove any doubt about the operating system.
Feb 26, 2012
We are less than 24 hours away from Nokia's Mobile World Congress 2012 press event and it appears one of the company's new Windows Phone devices has made its way online. A single image of an alleged Lumia 610 handset was posted to Twitter this weekend by an unofficial Nokia_N8 account. We are unable to confirm the authenticity of the image, but specifications for the rumored device appear to have leaked too.Read Article >
Feb 26, 2012
Samsung has just announced a 10.1-inch version of the Galaxy Tab 2 Android tablet after revealing the 7.0-inch version earlier this month. The Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) will have a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 LCD and a 1GHz dual-core processor running a Touch Wiz-skinned version of Android 4.0. The 9.7mm-thick tablet has 1GB of RAM and will come in both a 3G + Wi-Fi and a Wi-Fi only version, with the former supporting quad-band HSPA+. Both versions will have a 3-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front-facing camera, as well as Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, and — interestingly enough — a proximity sensor on just the 3G version. There will be an option between either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory — which is expandable thanks to a microSD card slot. There's no pricing information available yet, but with mid-range specs like this we assume it'll be easy on the wallet. Samsung says it will launch in the UK sometime next month alongside the 7-inch variant.Read Article >
Samsung says that both the Galaxy Tab 2 tablets are "well-suited for home and family use," leading us to believe that the Tabs will represent the low end tablet option, while the Galaxy Note (which should be gaining a 10.1-inch member at MWC this week) takes up the high-end. We'd heard rumors that the next-generation Galaxy Tab would have a 2GHz dual-core processor and a 2560 x 1600 screen, but, clearly, the Tab 2 (10.1) announced today doesn't fit the bill. We'll find out soon enough if a new Galaxy Note family of tablets do.
It's only 4AM in Barcelona, but the Mobile World Congress news is already popping — Samsung just took the wraps off the Galaxy Beam, an Android 2.3 smartphone with a built-in HD projector. Outside of the projector, the phone's other specs are fairly pedestrian. There's a 4-inch display with an 800 x 480 resolution, 1GHz dual-core processor, 5MP back camera with flash plus a 1.3MP front-facing camera, and 8GB of storage onboard (plus a microSD slot). As for connectivity, it'll run on GSM networks thanks to quad-band HSPA+.Read Article >
While the specs are unexciting, the projector is the real draw here. It's rated at an "ultra-bright" 15 lumens and can project onto surfaces in HD up to 50 feet wide. There's also some custom software on board — Samsung calls it a "project dedicated" application to let users share specific pieces of content like photos, video, or games. We'll surely get to see this handset at MWC and will let you know our impressions.
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We've been expecting Samsung to bring the Galaxy Note branding to its next 10.1-inch tablet for a few weeks now, but now a journalist at Mobile World Congress has confirmed that there is indeed a Galaxy Note 10.1 that will be unveiled this week. Journalist Anders Frick apparently took a peek behind a large covered sign in a hotel that Samsung rented out in Barcelona and saw some signs that read "It's 10.1, it's Galaxy Note" and show a new Samsung tablet. There isn't much detail to be gleaned from his photos, but there definitely appears to be some sort of note-taking app on there, with embedded video and some page layout features. It's hard to tell exactly what else will make this tablet worth of the Galaxy Note branding, but we'll find out very soon.
Feb 25, 2012
The HTC One X leaks are coming fast and furious now. We got a look at some tentative specs from an online retailer in Italy earlier this morning, and now Greek site FullGSM has leaked what it claims is the full product sheet for the phone. According to the document, the Android 4.0 device will feature a 1.5GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD2 display, and 32GB of storage. The phone is also reported to have NFC capability — noted as being compatible with Google Wallet — along with MHL support, and a f/2.0 8-megapixel camera with a backside-illuminated sensor. The camera is said to be a special "dual shutter" model that will allow users to take video and photos simultaneously.Read Article >
The specs notably contradict those that leaked this morning, and with branding for the phone in full display on the document, there is a real air of authenticity here. We've included the full sheet below for your perusal and will update you with any new developments.
Feb 24, 2012
With Mobile World Congress almost here, Asus has released another teaser that only slightly hints at what we'll see from the company in Barcelona next week. Unlike yesterday's teaser, which hinted at tablets with enhanced screen resolution, the latest video is a bit less clear. Under the tagline "Red, white, and blue, what can we play?" the 16-second clip shows someone finger painting, followed by the line "colors in transformation, endless possibilities." We already know that Asus will be showing off new hardware at MWC, and this teaser suggests that its lineup will include a device that's offered in a wide range of colors, or possibly even a tablet focused on creative types. Of course, with the show kicking off on February 27th, we won't have to speculate for much longer.Read Article >
There's little we can deduce from this except that we'll presumably be getting two more numbered captions before the announcement. At the event, it's possible we'll be seeing the HTC One X that was purportedly leaked yesterday, or maybe the One S or Ville. Until then, we're left wondering how something at a phone announcement can sound "authentic."Read Article >
Update: Oh, HTC, you clever dog: if the countdown ends on Sunday, then the number we'll be seeing is 1. Get it?
Samsung will soon officially announce its first quad-core mobile processor, a successor to its current Exynos chip. At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference, Samsung offered a look at the new processor, which comes in dual- and quad-core format and will use 32nm rather than 45nm technology. The chip is supposed to have 26 percent higher performance than its 45nm predecessor, and Samsung promises a 34 to 50 percent improvement in battery life. It's also supposed to improve video framerates by about a quarter.Read Article >
With this chip, Samsung is apparently optimizing for battery rather than pure performance, with an eye towards more efficient smartphone power use and heat management. When the chip is released, it will be competing with Nvidia's quad-core processor, which was announced last year. We'll also be waiting to see if it's officially unveiled at MWC.
Feb 23, 2012Read Article >
Qualcomm Atheros is releasing a family of new chips for 802.11ac — an emerging, faster wireless standard set to overtake 802.11n. If you're a manufacturer ogling Qualcomm's Snapdragon 4, the single-stream WCN3680 with 802.11ac and integrated Bluetooth and FM complements the Snapdragon's impressive benchmark scores and built-in 802.11b/g/n connectivity. On the other hand, if you're looking for a standalone Wi-Fi module, you could do worse than the QCA9860 (3-stream) and QCA9862 (2-stream) 802.11ac/a/b/g/n and Bluetooth combo chips. The modules offer up to 1.3Gbps transfer speeds, tying Broadcom's BCM4360, as well as some fancy CPU use-optimizing architecture for faster transfers and longer battery life. We're hoping to see some new 802.11ac devices at MWC next week, and we'll keep you posted with what we find.
Feb 23, 2012Read Article >
We've already seen leaked benchmarks for the LG Optimus 4X HD (née X3) and they're quite good: it grabbed a Quadrant score of 4,412, well above even the Galaxy Note. LG says it will be available in Europe in the second quarter.
Feb 22, 2012
The year's greatest celebration of mobile technology, Mobile World Congress, kicks off next week in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. With the exception of Apple, virtually every major phone manufacturer around the world takes MWC very seriously — it's a consumer electronics show whose buzz level is rivaled only by CES — and we're expecting a slew of announcements starting with press conferences from Huawei, Sony, and HTC this coming Sunday, February 26th. Though we'll undoubtedly get a surprise or two, there have been enough leaks and teasers in recent weeks to give us a pretty solid idea of what to expect, so let's take a look.Read Article >
Feb 22, 2012
A purportedly leaked document has revealed a trio of new devices coming to T-Mobile, including the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, HTC Ville, and Huawei Prism. Samsung and T-Mobile have since officially announced the Galaxy S Blaze 4G, which will be coming out in March and will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, while the other two devices will likely be officially revealed at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month.Read Article >
A video of a prototype HTC Ville — reported to be a 4.3-inch dual-core handset that's less than 8mm thick — was leaked from France at the end of January, giving us an early look at what the device looks like. Meanwhile, Huawei is rumoured to be unveiling a new series of "Diamond" smartphones, which could well include the Prism. Unfortunately, the leaked document is an accessory sheet without any specs, so we'll likely have to wait until February 27 when MWC kicks off in Barcelona to learn more details.
Feb 22, 2012
Nokia has given us a little hint about what it intends to reveal at Mobile World Congress early next week via a teasing video clip. Offering viewers the chance to "capture a pure view," the ad shows a highly detailed closeup of a snow-freckled tree branch and a majestic view unto a rural landscape. Pure detail, pure depth, and pure definition are the not-so-humble promises accompanying the impressive visuals.Read Article >
It's clear that Nokia is cooking up something extra special from its camera department, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to suspect that the video we're seeing today is a direct sample from whatever hot new product the company is working on. If that is indeed the case, then it's instructive to see that the YouTube clip is available in full and glorious 1080p, making the device that shot it the first among Nokia's lineup to offer 1080p video recording. That's even more encouraging when seen in the context of comments from Damian Dinning, Nokia's imaging chief, on Twitter recently, saying that when Nokia steps up to 1080p, it will do it "like no other."