Mobile World Congress 2012 Roundup

Mobile World Congress has just recently wrapped up in Barcelona, ending a show full of announcements from the major Android stakeholders. Just as we did with CES in January, in this roundup we’ll take a look at some of the headliners from the show, from the HTC One series to the new Sony Xperia lineup.

While not every announcement may necessarily be covered, here are a few that stood out for us.

HTC One Series

HTC One X

HTC used Mobile World Congress as a platform to launch their new One line, a series of four phones at various entry levels. The HTC One X, One XL, One S and One V were all announced by the Taiwan-based phone maker.

The One X is HTC’s new flagship phone, boasting a 4.7-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with ImageSense. The phone also features 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, all running on Ice Cream Sandwich overlaid by HTC’s Sense skin (which is coincidentally also in its fourth generation). Amazon lists the device with a release date of April 5th, 2012 and the regular high-end smartphone price of ~£500.

The One X also has a near-identical brother, the One XL – though the L doesn’t stand for large. Instead, it represents the phone’s LTE networking in a body sharing the same camera, operating system and screen size as the One X. Perhaps as cost compensation for the LTE connectivity, the One XL only has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor on board.

HTC One V

HTC’s mid-range flagship smartphone is now the One S, a device that touts a 4.3-inch display (with a resolution of 540x960px), an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video recording and a VGA front camera. The One S runs Ice Cream Sandwich with Sense, powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU.

The latest entry-level offering from HTC is the One V, an Ice Cream Sandwich/Sense smartphone equipped with a 480x800px 3.7-inch display, a 1GHz (the number of cores is not listed on HTC’s website) processor and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording. Unfortunately, it also comes in a fairly ugly casing that resurrects the “chin” design with an unattractive colour palette.

Sony Tablet P

Sony Tablet P

While Sony’s Tablet P wasn’t a new announcement at Mobile World Congress, the company did take the platform as an opportunity to unveil a release date. The dual 5.5-inch screen clamshell tablet features a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 4GB of storage and Android 3.2 Honeycomb – a pretty mediocre specification compared to competing devices.

The tablet has now launched on AT&T (since March 4th) for $399.99.

ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity Series and Transformer Pad 300

ASUS Transformer Pad 300

ASUS renamed its tablet lineup to the Transformer Pad series, bringing with it two new tablets. First, the Transformer Pad Infinity Series is a higher-end offering with a 1920x1200px Super IPS display, a 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front one. The tablet will come in both WiFi and LTE flavours, which each have pros and cons. For example, the WiFi edition comes with a 1.6GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip on board while the LTE version opts for a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core chip clocked at 1.5GHz, so, as with the HTC One X/XL, you’ve basically got a choice of faster processing or LTE.

The Transformer Pad 300 is a somewhat cheaper option from ASUS which comes equipped with a lower resolution of 1280x800px and only 16GB of storage, but otherwise pretty much the same specs and design as the Infinity.

Both of these two tablets have a 10.1-inch display, and are expected in Q2 of this year.

Sony XPERIA U and XPERIA P

Sony XPERIA U

Back at CES in January, Sony announced the XPERIA S (the phone industry sure does love the letter S, doesn’t it?), a phone that looks pretty well designed from both a hardware and UI perspective. In Barcelona, the company announced the XPERIA U and XPERIA P as additions to the lineup.

The XPERIA U is the smaller of the two, with a 3.5-inch display and a 1GHz dual-core processor, alongside a 5-megapixel rear camera. Apparently, the transparent bar on the phone allows it to change colour based on the notifications your phone gets, to add a whole new level of customisation to the device.

The XPERIA P features a very similar design with a larger, 4-inch display running Sony’s “Magic White” technology, allowing the display to be twice as bright when used in direct sunlight. The XPERIA P runs on a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, NFC and an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording.

Samsung Galaxy Beam

Samsung Galaxy Beam

The Samsung Galaxy Beam is certainly an interesting device featuring a 4-inch, 800x480px display, a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera… and a projector capable of projecting onto surfaces up to 50ft wide.

I’m not sure how many people have been waiting for the day that a smartphone would carry a projector on board, but their wishes have definitely been answered with the Galaxy Beam.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1-inch and Note 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

Samsung announced two 10.1-inch tablets at Mobile World Congress, both larger than their original namesakes. The Galaxy Tab 2 is a 10.1-inch tablet with a resolution of 1280x800px running on a 1GHz dual-core processor and Touch Wiz-skinned Ice Cream Sandwich. Both 3G and WiFi editions will be available, with 3-megapixel cameras on their respective rears and VGA ones on the front. It will launch in the UK sometime this month alongside its 7-inch counterpart.

If you’ve been trying to decide whether the Galaxy Note is a smartphone or a tablet, Samsung’s tried to add some distinction to its lineup by introducing the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note. This tablet is essentially a Galaxy Note, including S-Pen support, but scaled up and running Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung’s even preloading copies of Adobe Photoshop Touch and Ideas that have been optimised for the S-Pen stylus on the tablet, which features a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, a 3-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera and a 1280×800 resolution.

Growth, Nexus and Jellybeans

Google's Android booth at MWC (spot the guy who's using what definitely looks like an iPad)

There’s also been a handful of news tidbits coming out of Barcelona. Firstly, Google announced Android’s 250% year-over-year growth with 850,000 daily activations of the software, pushing the total number of Android devices past the 300 million milestone.

Additionally, there’s been lots of talk of Android 5.0 and its accompanying Nexus device. Through Google’s choice of confectionary at the show, many news outlets have taken this as confirmation that the next version of Android will be called Jelly Bean, and there’s been much discussion about who’s going to be making the next Nexus device. Apparently, LG might be in the running, while manufacturers like HTC cross their fingers to get another shot at making the flagship device. Reports say it’s still undecided.

Was your next phone or tablet announced at Mobile World Congress? Let us know in the comments!


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