Mobile World Congress: What To Expect

Mobile World Congress

On Monday, the mobile IT world will take center stage in Barcelona, Spain, with Mobile World Congress. It's the telecommunication industry's biggest annual trade show and launch pad for smartphones, tablets, wearables and everything mobile. This year's MWC, from Feb. 24 to 27, will feature a slew of mobile product announcements, along with keynotes from Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg, and IBM's Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty.

As the buzz builds on what will be announced, here is a roundup of what to expect.

Samsung S5

The big money is on Samsung unveiling a Galaxy S5 handset -- an update to its S series smartphones. Samsung's big Unpacked 5 event is slated for Monday. It's expected the new S5 will feature an updated user interface, 5.25-inch, 2,560-×-1,440 display, and possibly a fingerprint reader that will help Samsung keep up with Apple and HTC.

Nokia Goes Android

As the ink dries on Microsoft's $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia, the Finnish mobile device maker is expected to unveil the Nokia X on Monday morning that runs on the Android OS -- not Microsoft's own Windows Phone 8 OS. According to those familiar with Nokia's launch details, the X smartphone won't look or act much like an Android phone because of extensive customization to run Microsoft and Nokia services and apps instead of Google's.

Sony Set To Release Phone

Fresh on the heels of formally announcing exiting the PC business, Sony is expected to double down on its mobile play at MWC. On Monday, the Japanese device maker is expected to unveil a refresh of the Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone. According to sources close to Sony, the company will announce a D6503 Sirius smartphone, which will feature a 5.2-inch display, 20 MP camera and powered by Qualcomm's MSM8974AB SoC processor.

Sony rumors also point to the release of a new 10.1-inch Xperia Z2 tablet, which sports a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3 GB of RAM and a thin 6.4mm waterproof body.

LG Smartphone Launch

LG will head to MWC set to release no less than five new handsets, including the LG D830, LS740, D410, D320 and MS323. All will run the Android OS and are successors to the Optimus G Pro phablet. The G Pro 2 comes with a massive 5.9-inch 1080p display, a 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 processor and a 13MP camera.

Huawei To Announce Smartphones And Smartwatch

Chinese-based telecom equipment maker Huawei holds a press conference Sunday, when it's expected to announce a successor to its Ascend P6 smartphone. The Wall Street Journal also is reporting Huawei will join the wearable device fray with a new smartwatch that will compete with Pebble and Sony's SmartWatch 2.

Keynotes: Zuckerberg

MWC will feature a number of keynotes from mobile industry leaders. Fresh on the heels of its blockbuster $19 billion acquisition of mobile messaging firm WhatsApp, Facebook's Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg will deliver a keynote on Monday. All bets are on that Zuckerberg will be talking about the business imperative behind snatching up WhatsApp and its 450 million users.

Keynotes: Rometty

IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty will take the stage on Wednesday. It will be less than two weeks from Rometty's keynote at IBM PartnerWorld, where one central theme for IBM is growing its mobile business. Stay tuned for Rometty to talk about the burgeoning Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) market expected to be worth $5 billion in hardware sales alone for 2015.

Other powerhouse keynote speakers include John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco; Joseph Tucci, chairman and CEO of EMC; Michel Combes, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent; and Jan Koum, Co-Founder and CEO of WhatsApp.

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Wearable devices won't be as big at MWC as they were at CES this year. But big players such as Samsung are expected to introduce successors to its Galaxy Gear 2, according to reports by The New York Times. New wearable gear from Samsung includes a smartwatch with beefed-up battery life and a GPS tracker that will be compatible with a wider selection of Android devices. Galaxy Gear 2 will run on Samsung's own Tizen OS instead of Google's Android, according to a USA Today report.

Wearables We Know Of

Like many companies, Sony isn't expected to announce any new wearable devices at MWC, however it will likely show off new SmartBand apps such as LifeLog, an app debuted at CES that reportedly tracks mood as well as activity. According to Bloomberg, HTC is expected to display three devices, including an update to its Qualcomm watch and a music-playing bracelet built on the Google Now platform.

Longshot: BlackBerry Phone

As part of a strategic partnership between Foxconn and faded phone maker BlackBerry, rumors are swirling that MWC might be the venue for BlackBerry to announce a new handset called Jakarta -- an inexpensive BlackBerry designed for the Indonesian market.

Mobile Processors

Intel is expected to announce a new 64-bit processing architecture geared specifically toward tablets based on its Bay Trail-T technology. The news comes from a leaked road map obtained by VR Zone that outlines the chip giant's announcement slated for Feb. 24, coincidentally the opening day of MWC.

Samsung also is expected to release a new 64-bit chipset of its own called Exynos mobile processors. In a tweet from @SamsungExynos published Wednesday, Samsung wrote "Continuing our market-leading innovation and leadership, we bring you our latest innovations. Please stay tuned." Exynos is a series of ARM-based System-on-Chips (SoCs) developed and manufactured by Samsung.