Circle this Sunday in your filofaxes phone fans, as this be the day the next few months' handsets get real (yo). Mobile World Congress is the annual week of droppage, where all those recent leaks from the likes of HTC, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, LG and countless others get scrawled on the walls of Barcelona's overheated convention centres. This is what we know so far:
The Taiwanese chappies have already stated they plan on scaling back their launches, instead focusing on just several key phones each year instead of the tidal wave of mediocre updates previously seen.
As well as actual tangible hardware (see below), HTC is rumoured to show off the Sense 4.0 UI, which sees new transition animations, a tweaked shortcut bar and plainer widgets – for those that actually want (or can’t get rid of) a skin on top of the slick looking Ice Cream Sandwich.
Together with Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, HTC is also expected to unveil a Spotify rival, though details are scant about that.
HTC One X / Edge / Endeavor (above): Whichever code-name you wish to call it by, this is expected to be HTC's first quad-core phone, which is sure to find its way into many of our Android lovers' pockets. Rumours have pointed at Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, with four 1.5GHz chips, along with 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. An 8MP camera capable of shooting 1080p video with stereo mics should look nice on the rumoured 4.7-inch screen. Image Credit: Pocketnow
HTC Ville (above): Apparently the Ville features a 1.5GHz dual-core chip backed up by a decent 1GB of RAM, and a good looking 4.3-inch 960×540 resolution display. There’s also an eight-megapixel shooter on the back; a front-facing VGA cam; four flavours of Wi-Fi (no 802.11ac sadly), and Bluetooth 4.0. Image Credit: Pocketnow
10-Inch tablet: HTC's Flyer tablet never really made the splash the company was obviously hoping for, but could a scaled-up version take on the iPad? We're really not confident.
Nokia's teaser trailer for its MWC showing promises a "pure view," which seems to suggest its wares will lean heavily to the image-capturing side. Just what we like to hear! But what else can we expect?
Nokia Lumia 910: Said to have a 12.1-megapixel camera bolted onto its 4.3-inch-screened body, we have also heard this Euro-variant of the Lumia 900 will contain 16GB of onboard storage, too. Image Credit: Typhone
Nokia Asha 302, Asha 203, and Asha 202: Unfortunately these appear to be low-end S40 handsets, so there's probably nothing to see here...
With the Galaxy S3 not making an appearance this year, Samsung's cancelled its press conference, and diminished all hope of any major announcements at the show. But we hope to get some hands-on time with the following devices...
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (above): Announced on February 13th, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 measures 10.5mm-thick, and will be Samsung’s first foray into the brave new world of Android 4.0. It’ll pack a 1GHz dual-core chip backed up by a decent 1GB of RAM; between 8 and 32GB of built-in storage plus a microSD card slot; a rear three-megapixel shooter plus a VGA front-facing cam for video calling, all fronted by a seven-inch 1024×600 screen.
Samsung 10.1-Inch Galaxy Note: Virtually doubling its current Note tablet in size, the 10.1-inch tablet is said to be aimed at the Wacom art tablet market. Little else is known about this mysterious product, though.
Can a name-change and boardroom shake-up at Sony solve the woes of its previous phone arm, Sony Ericsson? We'd like to see some solid handsets come out of the direction of new CEO Kaz Hirai, with the Xperia S, announced at CES, proving to be a good first step.
Xperia U (above): With the same design as the Xperia S, it looks like this previously-known-as-"Kumquat" phone will have a 3.5-inch display and mid-to-high-range specs (including a 1GHz dual-core processor and 5MP camera). Image Credit: ePrice
Xperia P (above): Otherwise referred to as "Nypon," this one is meant to feature a dual-core 1GHz processor; 4-inch qHD screen and 8MP camera. Image credit: IT168
Xperia Tapioca: Named after a root starch, Sony's third rumoured phone will be decidedly budget. Running on a single-core 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, the display is said to measure 3.2-inches and the camera just 3.2MP.
Like a cheap lap-dancer, LG isn't wishing to leave much to our imagination this MWC. In fact, much of its load was announced this week, including...
LG Optimus 3D Max (above): Another 3D phone from LG, this time with with a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP chip backed up by 1GB of RAM; 8GB of storage; a 1,520mAh battery; a dual lens five-megapixel 3D cam, and a 4.3-inch 3D WVGA display covered in the new Gorilla Glass 2. Unfortunately the Max is saddled with Gingerbread, but it’s got NFC, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to keep you connected, while being only 9.6mm thick. LG’s also touting 3D up-conversion for apps like Google Maps, Google Earth and “other road views” using an enhanced 3D converter.
LG Optimus L3: We'll definitely see this phone announced at MWC according to LG, which has already confirmed it will have a 3.2-inch display and reside in their new "L range" of ultra-designed handsets.
LG Optimus L5: Scant details are known about this one, but LG has confirmed it will also sit in the L-range, and launch in the first half of 2012 with a 4.0-inch screen and Ice Cream Sandwich.
LG Optimus L7: Presumably this will be the big flagship, with LG confirming its 4.3-inch screen and ICS-ness.
LG Optimus 4X HD (previously known as the X3) (above): Announced the Thursday prior to MWC, the Optimus 4X HD measures 4.7-inches, and packs Nvidia’s latest and greatest chip, which it’s calling a 4-PLUS-1 – four traditional processing cores plus a fifth “battery-saver” core that deals with less demanding tasks like playing music and when your phone is in standby. The CPU is also joined to a 12-core GPU, so games should fly on this beast.
The Tegra 3 chip is clocked at 1.5GHz and is backed up with 1GB of RAM; 16GB of storage; a 2,150mAh battery, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There’s no 3D here thankfully, just a traditional 4.7-inch “True HD” IPS screen with a resolution of 1280×720. It’s also got an eight-megapixel shooter with Backside Illumination on the rear coupled with a 1.3MP front-facing snapper for video calling.
LG Optimus Vu (above): This tablet was officially unveiled by LG on the weekend, with a 4:3 ratio IPS screen, measuring 5-inches. It’s fairly well equipped with “Rubberdium” pen for stylus action, while a dual-core 1.5GHz processor is backed up by 1GB RAM, 32GB of storage and a 2,080mAh battery that should keep it chugging away nicely. It’s also got an eight-megapixel shooter on the back and a 1.3MP front-facing cam for video chat. There’s even an LTE-chipset in there for 4G-equipped markets (that’s not us), and it’s all crammed into a pretty svelte 8.5mm thick frame.
LG Miracle / Fantasy (above): Whatever superlative they heap upon this phone, the main thing you need to know is it's said to run Windows Phone 7. A phone with a 1GHz processor; 4-inch WVGA NOVA screen; 5MP camera and NFC. Maybe. If Windows Phone 7.5 adds support for it. Image Credit: GSMArena
Fujitsu's spreading its wings and launching in Europe with a bunch of new smartphones that will hopefully ape some of that futuristic tech our Japanese friends have been using for years. Little is known about the actual phones, but we do know they're all bound to be quite high-end; waterproof, and possibly feature biometric security systems.
Another Japanese company to propel its wares onto our shores is Panasonic. They've already announced one handset, but another is said to be close on its heels...
Panasonic Eluga (above): Is that meant to be a cross between "Beluga" and "eulogy"? We're really not sure what message Panasonic is meant to be sending out with this one. Nonetheless, it's only 7.8mm thin, is waterproof, has NFC, and an 8MP camera. There's also a 1GHz OMAP processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, plus a 960 x 540 OLED qHD screen. Unfortunately, it's been saddled with Gingerbread, though an ICS update is on the cards for spring.
Panasonic Lumix phone: Panasonic's Lumix range of cameras is top-notch, so anything that bears that moniker is sure to get us snappers feeling a little hot under the collar. Little else is known about this one, unfortunately.
Asus PadFone (above): Asus has shown this off before, but not formally introduced it to the masses as yet. But this 4.3-inch tablet/phone combo has us hot under the collar with its purported quad-core Tegra 3 processor.
ZTE's got eight phones for us! Chances are, at least seven of them will be entirely ignorable. We do know some shit about some of their shit, though...
ZTE Mimosa X (above): Powered entirely by Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 processor, it will run Ice Cream Sandwich, and pack a 4.3-inch 960×540 screen, a 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing camera, and 4GB of storage.
ZTE PF200: With a 4.3″ capacitive touch screen, 8megapixel rear camera and 1080p front-facing cam for really pulling out those crow’s-feet when doing video chats, it's also said to include DLNA support, MHL integration for sharing data via USB and a built-in NFC chip. Just in case Europe suddenly starts giving a toss about contactless payments.
Know something more about any of the devices above? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org if so.
Top image credit: Whizchickenonabun