Mobile World Congress 2012 Preview Special

Next week will see the cream of the mobile industry descend on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2012, where a wide range of new handsets, services and apps will be launched and demonstrated. With more than 1400 exhibitors and many influential keynote speakers, it has become recognised as one of the world’s premier annual tech conferences.

If you’re wondering why there’s so much fuss surrounding MWC, it’s because the majority of major mobile manufacturers use the event to debut their brand new hardware, and this year will be no exception.

Here’s a rundown of all the rumours surrounding the new devices we’re likely to hear about over the coming week.

Nokia

Nokia makes its triumphant return to Mobile World Congress this year, and is expected to bring with it a range of new phones. Two new Windows Phones are top of the list, most likely a European Lumia 900 and the budget Lumia 610, while running a close second in the desirability stakes is the N8′s replacement.

A teaser video released this week suggests the leaked PureView name will be used, and any follow-up to the N8 is certain to feature an amazing camera, plus there’s a chance it will have a 1080p video recording mode too.

It won’t all be smartphones either, as Nokia could reveal three new Asha feature phones too.

LG

LG has made the most of this pre-MWC week, and has pre-announced a range of new devices set to be fully unveiled at the show. It’s a cunning attempt to give its new products as much exposure as possible before the chaos of  next week, and it’ll be interesting to see if the gamble pays off.

So far, LG has given us the Optimus Vu tablet/smartphone hybrid, the Optimus 3D Max, the new L-Style range of Android phones and the world’s first official quad-core phone, named the Optimus 4X HD. Can they have held anything back for the show itself? Perhaps a new Optimus tablet?

HTC

HTC has made it clear we’re not to expect as many new phones from them this year as we have seen previously, but what we do see will be exciting. Leaks from HTC began a while ago, concentrating on the dual-core Ville and the quad-core Edge.

Subsequently, the Edge became the Endeavor, and then both it and the Ville became the One X and One E respectively. They’re now rumoured to be joined by the One S, a single-core Android phone said to replace the Wildfire S.

A couple of teaser pages have appeared on Facebook, telling us we’ll discover ‘something fast’ and hear ‘something authentic’ on Sunday, but neither pages mention the One series specifically.

Finally, word has spread that a Tegra 2-powered tablet could also be unwrapped at the show, plus there has been talk of aPlayStation-certified phone, along with HTC Sense 4.0.

Motorola

Motorola’s new phone using Intel’s Medfield chip will probably be the headline device, but other than this, we’ve yet to see any evidence of new Motorola hardware destined for the show. The company could also focus on its Webtop software and laptop-style accessories.

Sony

Despite already having announced a Sony Ericsson-branded press conference, the devices will mostly likely only wear the Sony name, and the new top-of-the-line Xperia S will probably be one of those on display.

Additionally, we can expect the Xperia U, also known as the Kumquat, to be announced. This is a mid-range Xperia phone said to have a 3.5-inch screen and a NovaThor processor.

Given the recent re-branding from Sony Ericsson, Sony could throw up one of the show’s biggest surprises, as it needs to assert its presence as a force to be reckoned with in the market. Could we even see a Windows Phone handset from Sony?

Samsung

Although Samsung has said it won’t be launching the Galaxy S III, or even hold a big press conference, during MWC 2012, we can still expect a few new devices to appear. So far the Galaxy Tab 2 tablet has been unveiled, along with the Galaxy Mini 2 and Ace 2, and rumours have spread of the Galaxy S II Plus and the Galaxy Note 10.1.

This tablet would be a larger version of the Note tablet/smartphone hybrid, and could incorporate the same S-Pen stylus and associated technology. Aside from these, we know little else about Samsung’s plans for MWC.

Apple

Apple doesn’t have an official presence at Mobile World Congress, but it’s worth noting that we could see the invitations to the iPad 3 launch event sent out at the end of this week, or early next. This would be typical of Apple’s love of disrupting established events in which it doesn’t participate, and would certainly grab a fair few headlines.

Research in Motion

Like Samsung, RIM has already told us it won’t be launching any new phones during Mobile World Congress, but we can expect another look at the BlackBerry 10 software.

ZTE

Up-and-coming mobile manufacturer ZTE has already debuted the Mimosa X, the PF200 and the N910 this week, but has also announced it’ll be bringing eight other phones to the show.

They’ve not given away too much information, such as whether they’ll all run Android, but one will be have a quad-core processor.

Huawei

Another relatively new name hoping to beat the big boys at MWC. Huawei’s holding its press conference on Sunday, and could unveil its first quad-core phone, plus a new tablet.

One such device could be the Ascend D1 Q, of which press pictures were leaked recently, while the tablet may be a 10-inch version of its MediaPad. Will Huawei be able to match arch-rival ZTE’s eight-device line-up? We’ll have to wait and see.

Any Others?

These are the only ones who’re bringing exciting new mobile devices to MWC. Asus could finally show-off the PadFone, plus it has released a quick teaser video promising something ‘twice the detail, twice the fun;’ while Fujitsu has an exciting Tegra 3 phone with a 13 megapixel camera and Android 4.0.

NEC may have three Ice Cream Sandwich phones, and others aside from Motorola, such as Lenovo, could have phones using Intel’s Medfield chip. Finally, Panasonic should be demonstrating the Eluga, plus a possible Lumix-branded high-end camera phone, at the event, in order to mark its return to the European phone market.

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