"A preview of what to expect at the biggest show for the mobile industry."
Mobile World Congress 2014 is just around the corner, and that means only one thing – it'll be raining new smartphones! The largest event for the mobile industry begins on February 24th, and we’re about to see some major launches among smartphones, tablets and mobile tech.
What we’ve gathered from a combination of leaks, rumours, teasers and even full-blown official announcements tells us that this year's show will be nothing short of huge. Samsung is set to take centre-stage with its Unpacked 5 event, and Nokia comes a close second with the imminent unveiling of its first Android smartphone. Plus, we’re expecting big launches from Sony, Huawei and HTC, and even an appearance by BlackBerry.
We’ll have all the juicy details for you during our extensive MWC 2014 coverage, but before it kicks off, here’s a little taste of what you can expect.
Despite its acquisition by Microsoft, Nokia seems intent on doing things its own way. Rumours about its first Android phone have been all but confirmed, with the latest news indicating that the Nokia X will see the light of day during the IPL tournament in India this year. We expect to learn more about the phone at Nokia’s press conference, but what we’re really curious to find out is how it will fit in with Microsoft’s plans.
Unfortunately, the Nokia X ‘Normandy’ has taken some of the spotlight away from potential Windows Phone devices, which may include an 8-inch Lumia 2020 tablet and a 5.2-inch Lumia 1820 flagship smartphone, among others.
Samsung has been heavily promoting its Unpacked 5 event, where we expect to get a first look at the Galaxy S5. From what we’ve gleaned so far, this year’s flagship may pack in a fingerprint scanner, 3D gesture support, 16MP camera, and according to the latest leaks, a 5.2-inch QHD display.
But Sony isn’t one to shy away from multiple launches, with rumours indicating we’ll get to see the Xperia Z2 aka ‘Sirius’ at MWC. The next-gen flagship will run Android KitKat with a redesigned UI, and feature a 20.7MP camera with DSLR-like features and 4K video recording.
We also suspect Sony will launch the long-overdue Xperia Tablet Z2, with high-end specs like a 10.1-inch full HD display and Snapdragon 800 processor in a wafer-thin 6.4mm frame.
LG clearly doesn’t believe in surprises, having already announced pretty much all its expected MWC launches in Korea. But we’re still looking forward to learning more about its new lineup, especially now that LG’s back in the game as Google's hardware partner for the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5.
Among the phones we’ll see is the LG G Pro 2, which offers some serious specs, including a 5.9-inch full HD display, 13MP camera with 4K video recording and Snapdragon 800 chipset. It retains the placement of the power and volume rocker on the back panel, as seen on LG's G2 and G Flex smartphones.
In a not-so-subtle teaser, Huawei gave us a hint about its MWC launches this year, while taking potshots at rivals ‘Fruit’ and ‘Somesong’. The video confirms earlier reports about a smartphone and two tablets. It talks about a tablet with a ‘beautiful slim design’ and a battery that will last several days, which we presume to be the MediaPad X1. There was also mention of a ‘multimedia’ tablet with LTE support.
The smartphone with an ‘amazing front camera’, as Huawei calls, it is presumably the Ascend P7, which leaks suggest will feature an 8MP front camera, in addition to a 13MP primary shooter. We've also seen another report, that says Huawei will launch the Ascend G6, a toned-down version of its Ascend P6 smartphone.
Our expectations about a grand HTC event at MWC have fizzled out, with the company announcing that the ‘All New’ HTC One (M8) will be launched at a separate event on March 25th.
What we will see at the show is the Desire 8, a mid-range smartphone with a 5.5-inch HD display, Android 4.4 and the latest Sense 6.0 UI.
That’s not all, folks
Apart from the above, there are several other smartphones expected to debut in Barcelona. Among them is Acer’s latest duo of budget Android smartphones, the Liquid E3 and Liquid Z4. Acer has been teasing the Liquid E3 on its Google+ page for a while, and it turns out that what we thought was a fingerprint sensor is actually a multi-function hardware button.
BlackBerry is also expected to showcase its Foxconn-made Z3 ‘Jakarta’ budget offering. The smartphone will offer the premium build of the Z10 and Z30 at an affordable price.
Chinese manufacturer ZTE has also announced two smartphones prior to MWC, the Grand Memo II LTE with a 6-inch display and the Firefox OS 1.3-powered Open C.
Clearly, an explosive phone fest awaits as as we head into the world's largest show for mobile tech! Keep watching this space for the latest updates from MWC 2014 as we bring you up, close and personal to all the action from the show floor.