10 Hot Products From Mobile World Congress 201312:00 PM EST Mon. Feb. 25, 2013
Mobile World Congress 2013 kicked off this week in Barcelona, and this year's show looks to be dominated by super-size smartphones and tablet-phone hybrids, or "phablets." Here's a look at 10 products set to take center stage at MWC 2013.
Hewlett-Packard got back into the tablet game in a big way Sunday, introducing its first Android tablet. The HP Slate 7 comes with the Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system and a 7-inch display, plus an affordable price tag -- starting at $169. The tablet features a dual-core 1.6GHz chip based on ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture, plus 8 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM and microSD support for expandable storage. The Slate 7 comes in a stainless steel frame and packs a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front. HP's Android tablet will go head-to-head with other smaller Android tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7. The HP Slate 7 will be available in the U.S. starting in April.
Samsung's highly anticipated new tablet kicked off MWC 2013's opening night. The Galaxy Note 8, Samsung's 8-inch Android tablet, looks to compete with other smaller tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and, of course, Apple's iPad Mini. The Galaxy Note 8 comes with a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 1,280 x 800 display resolution, as well as improved S-Pen capabilities that allow users to control the tablet's menu and back buttons with the pen. The tablet will launch in the second quarter this year, but Samsung hasn't yet revealed pricing for the new Galaxy Note model.
Last week ahead of Mobile World Congress 2013, LG teased two more Android smartphones -- the Optimus F5 and F7 phones -- and they're big. The Optimus F5 is a 4G LTE device with a 4.3-inch display and a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, plus 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The Optimus F7, meanwhile, is even larger with a 4.7-inch HD display and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, plus 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage; both phones have a microSD card slot for up to 32 GB of additional storage and run the Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 operating system. Pricing details haven't been announced, but LG said the Optimus F5 will be released first in Europe sometime in the second quarter.
Prior to MWC 2013, Asus teased a "metallic miracle" in a slick video that shows a large spaceship hovering over Barcelona, promising "the next mobile transformation." And on Monday, the company introduced its little miracle, called the Asus FonePad. The new device is a 7-inch Android tablet with phone functionality running a 1.2GHz Intel Atom processor with 16 GB of internal storage and 1 GB of RAM. The Asus FonePad is priced at $249, but availability hasn't been announced yet.
Acer is unveiling a whole new lineup of smartphones in Barcelona, and at the top of the list is the Liquid E1. The Android device comes with a 4.5-inch HD display and a dual-core 1GHz processor, plus optional dual SIM cards and a dual speaker system with DTS Sound. The Liquid Z2, meanwhile, is Acer's new entry-level smartphone that reportedly sports a single-core 1GHZ processor and a smaller, 3.5-inch display. The two phones will be available this quarter, but Acer hasn't revealed pricing or launch dates.
ZTE introduced the first official smartphone running on Mozilla's new Firefox operating system. Not much is known about the device itself, which reportedly features a 3.5-inch display and an ARM Cortex A5 processor. The OS, however, is the big draw: The open-source platform enables every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application, according to Mozilla. In addition to the ZTE Open, Mozilla said more Firefox OS phones from Alcatel and LG will be introduced soon, with devices from all three vendors using Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile processor.
ZTE is getting into the phablet, or smartphone-tablet hybrid, market with a new device: the Grand Memo. The 5.7-inch phablet reportedly sports a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 13-megapixel camera and the Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 operating system. The device also comes with 2 GB of RAM plus microSD support and a "one-hand" T9 keyboard that can attach to either side of the Grand Memo's screen. No word yet on pricing and availability.
Nokia has kept a tight lid on its plans for this year's MWC. The smartphone maker is expected to introduce new editions of its Lumia series of Windows Phone devices. But there have been rumors that Nokia has a Windows 8 tablet ready for Barcelona; Nokia has reportedly been working on a Windows RT tablet for some time, which would build out the company's Microsoft-focused mobile portfolio. Will Nokia's Windows 8 device be a full-size tablet or a phablet? Stay tuned for more.
Huawei Sunday added another product to its growing Android arsenal with the new Ascend P2. The super-size smartphone, which runs the Android Jelly Bean 4.1 operating system, comes with a 4.7-inch HD display, 16 GB of storage, and a special feature called "magic touch" that allows users to interact with the touch screen while wearing gloves. Huawei's version of Android also comes with a customer user-interface called Emotion UI on top of the Android OS.
While most products taking center stage this week at MWC are smartphones and tablets, mobile chip manufacturer ST-Ericsson will be showing off its new high-powered processor, the NovaThorL8580, which pushes the limits of smartphone chip speeds. The quad-core chip, which is based on ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture, has a 2.5GHz clock speed but during MWC this week, ST-Ericsson will be demonstrating a version of the chip that runs at a whopping 3GHz clock speed, plus a multimode LTE advanced modem. The NovaThor L8580 also has a 0.6V-low power mode that consumes 50 percent less power while running at 1GHz.