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Mobile World Congress 2012 - Expectations and Predictions

Mobile World Congress 2012 - Expectations and Predictions



Mobile World Congress 2012 - Expectations and Predictions

Mobile World Congress 2012 - Expectations and Predictions

Come end-February, the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 will commence in Barcelona, shining the spotlight on the latest mobile technology, trends and products. On our team's end, we have been rounding-up news to shed some light on the definitive mobile device convention of the year.

As was last year's spotlight primarily on Android devices, this year's focus seems to take on a more myriad nature of its own, shuttling between upcoming quad-core smartphones, LTE technology, bigger screens, and so forth. Here, we dissect the trends that we see prevalent in MWC and round-up some expectations and predictions that we have for the exhibition.

 

Quad-core Processors

Possible Sightings at MWC 2012

Much has been waxed and elaborated about the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processors late last year, with Tegra 3 smartphones projected for a Q1 release this year. We have seen it in action on the ASUS Transformer Prime, with MWC certainly setting the stage for more mobile devices to come.

The Tegra 3 processors will come with five times the performance of Tegra 2, and a fifth companion core for low power needs is said to take up 61% less power and offer up to 12 hours of video playback compared to the existing Tegra 2 processors. This fifth CPU core is called the Companion core and its main duty is to execute low-powered tasks like being on active standby, music or video playback.

With smartphones becoming more prevalent in day-to-day usage, performance and battery longevity are key aspects for manufacturers and users alike; the next-gen Tegra 3 quad-core processor is naturally the next step in the mobile industry with more manufacturers slowly ditching dual-core processors on their flagship products. Unsurprisingly, leaks, rumors and alleged details of possible quad-core equipped smartphones have been making its furious rounds around the Internet. Above, we've reported some of the confirmed and unconfirmed mentions made on the internet to-date, but we feel there's more to be shared during the event, so do keep up with our updates next week!

 

Android 4.0 Devices

Possible Sightings at MWC 2012

The Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 OS took the limelight towards the end of the year in the form of the Galaxy Nexus. Unfortunately, no other recent devices have been preloaded (yet) with the Ice Cream Sandwich variant. On the bright side, many existing Android 2.3 devices are slated for a Q2 to Q3 update to Android 4.0.

Those looking for Android 4.0 alternatives can rejoice for now - we are set to see a handful of ICS smartphones to be unveiled at MWC. Most of these devices are also equipped with powerful quad-core processors, making them top of the line flagship smartphones.

 

LTE and NFC Connectivity Options

Possible Sightings at MWC 2012

Aside from quad-core processors, LTE and NFC connectivity options are as prominently featured in this year's MWC. Most next-gen smartphones featured at the event are said to come with both features built into their hardware.

This is especially important in a local context, given the introduction of LTE services by Singtel. LTE data plan promises theoretical download speeds of up to 75Mbps, ensuring that consumers get download speeds that are improved by ten times from the existing HSPA+ speeds. While the service is expensive now, with the announcement of more LTE-ready devices at MWC, local users can expect to see some models brought to Singapore and this would also mean reduced service pricing with more users to benefit from it.

On the NFC front, there will be a growing infrastructure in Singapore, with NFC connectivity at more than 20,000 retail points and even on taxis from mid 2012 onwards. Meanwhile, manufacturers such as Nokia and Sony Mobile have plans to get the ball rolling on a consumer level, so we are expecting to see something similar in action from other major manufacturers.

 

Larger Screens

Possible Sightings at MWC 2012

Size does matter, and it is no different in the mobile device industry. The line between tablets and smartphones is blurring, with the latter getting bigger.

Last year, we saw the advent of 4.3- to 4.7-inch screens for smartphones with the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note splashing onto the scene late last year. LG has also officially announced the 5-inch LG Optimus Vu (4:3 aspect ratio) for MWC and the 4.7-inch LG Optimus 4X, joining in the rest of the manufacturers - HTC, Samsung, Motorola - in the screen size race.

Will this set the pace for other manufacturers to adopt the 5 and above-inch size for their devices? That plus the alleged appearance of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 adds more pressure for major players to conform: we wouldn't be surprised to see more devices of that caliber at MWC.

 

Affordable Feature Phones

Possible Sightings at MWC 2012

Nokia has not been resting on its laurels, with its constant promotion of its WP7 Lumia phones. That's not to say that it has abandoned its more affordable Asha line.

Three feature phones under the Asha portfolio are said to join the other three smartphones that the Finnish company is planning to unveil at MWC 2012. Running on the S40 platform, the Nokia Asha 302, Asha 203, and Asha 202 will most probably be targeted at emerging markets, one of Nokia's key sales area over the last few years.

We expect also Nokia to shed some light on how developers can take the next steps with both Lumia and Asha device ranges.

In the future, we expect Windows Phone OS to scale better on phones with more basic hardware, but we'll try our best to confirm Microsoft's timeline and commitment to widening the ecosystem with Nokia and other brands.

 

OS and UI Updates

 

Possible Sightings at MWC 2012

This year's MWC seems like a timely place to start talking about software updates and a few of the major vendors present will be doing just that. That includes RIM, Samsung, Microsoft and HTC.

The allegation that BlackBerry 10 devices will make an appearance at the event seems fairly unlikely given their projected release of Q4 this year. Nonetheless, we are expecting to see the elusive BlackBerry 10 operating system make some headway at the trade show, given their declining market share and propensity for bad press in 2011. One thing's for sure, we will definitely see the BlackBerry Play Book 2.0 OS in some form or another, given its release on the 21st Feb.

The last thing we heard about Samsung's homegrown operating system is that it will merge with the Linux-based Tizen, a piece of information that was revealed during CES this year. We expect to hear more details about the new platform as well as live demonstrations - keeping fingers crossed on seeing at least one to two bada-Tizen devices making their appearance as well, despite Samsung's no-press-conference act at this year's MWC.

Following in the last two years' footsteps, Microsoft is said to unveil more details about Tango, the next Windows Phone 7 update after the relatively recent Mango. In a bid to break into the entry-level market, the incremental Tango update will see products with a lower price point. Thus, Tango phones are said to sport a more relaxed criteria, including a downsized minimum requirement of 256MB RAM and inclusion of a 3-megapixel camera. If we are lucky enough, Microsoft might reveal some details about the Windows Phone 8 Apollo update, which will bring us more insight into its future Window 8 integration plans.

HTC has always been in the limelight for its innovative and polished Sense UI, and the Taiwanese company has chosen the best time to unveil its latest user interface version, Sense 4.0. An early leak has pointed out some interesting changes, including support for landscape orientation on the home screen, Dropbox and Beats Audio features.

Come rain or shine, transport strike or not, stay tuned for next week as we bring you MWC updates straight from Barcelona. Meanwhile, we'll be providing more updates till MWC 2012 does its curtain call. For the latest updates, you can check out our ongoing MWC 2012 news and articles round-up just below.

MWC 2012 News Highlights
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Delayed

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Delayed

NEWS / 13 Apr 2012

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, first glimpsed at MWC 2012, is expected to be delayed due to changes in its hardware, The Verge reports.

Mobile World Congress 2012 Highlights

Mobile World Congress 2012 Highlights

FEATURE / 02 Mar 2012

With Mobile World Congress 2012 coming to an end, here's a round-up of our hands-on experience with the latest smartphones, and all that you need to know about the major developments for the mobile industry in 2012.

Interesting Sights from Mobile World Congress 2012

Interesting Sights from Mobile World Congress 2012

FEATURE / 02 Mar 2012

Smartphones? Tablets? Innovative mobile technology? We have all that covered, but what about some of the funkier items we saw at Mobile World Congress 2012? We share some of the more interesting sightings from Fira de Barcelona in this photo gallery!

MWC 2012: Sony Mobile Communications

MWC 2012: Sony Mobile Communications

FEATURE / 02 Mar 2012

Sony Mobile Communications kickstarted MWC 2012 with a new name and a new NXT series, Xperia P and Xperia U. Here's a round up of the news and interesting developments at the annual mobile device trade show.

MWC 2012: Nokia

MWC 2012: Nokia

FEATURE / 02 Mar 2012

One year after announcing its partnership with Microsoft to adopt Windows Phone 7 as its main mobile platform, Nokia stole the thunder away from the competition at MWC 2012 with a nifty trick up its sleeves. We round-up all the news and developments on the Finnish company.

LG Cradle-Shaped Wireless Charger Maximizes Convenience

LG Cradle-Shaped Wireless Charger Maximizes Convenience

NEWS / 02 Mar 2012

Designed in the shape of a cradle, the WCD-800 allows the phone to be positioned vertically or horizontally, so users can make video calls or watch HD movies while charging.

Ubuntu Helps Bring Out the PC in Every Dual-Core Smartphone [Updated with Video]

Ubuntu Helps Bring Out the PC in Every Dual-Core Smartphone [Updated with Video]

NEWS / 01 Mar 2012

A new product from Canonical, titled Ubuntu for Android, is aiming to help turn your smartphones into full-blooded PCs. After docking your smartphone, users will be able to use it as a replacement for the CPU in the traditional desktop setup.

Hands-on: LG Optimus Vu [Updated With Video]

Hands-on: LG Optimus Vu [Updated With Video]

FEATURE / 01 Mar 2012

The 5-inch LG Optimus VU stands out not only because of its large form factor but also because of its unique 4:3 ratio. How does it fare under our scrutiny? Let's find out.

Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 & Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Hands-on: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 & Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

FEATURE / 01 Mar 2012

MWC saw the debut of two Google Android ICS Samsung tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. Both sound overly similar? Read on to find out more about what each individual product entails.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available to Download

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available to Download

NEWS / 29 Feb 2012

Windows 8 moves from developer preview, to consumer preview at Mobile World Congress 2012. And if you can't wait to try it out, here's the good news: Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available to download.

RIM Demonstrates Confetti Concept for PlayBook

RIM Demonstrates Confetti Concept for PlayBook

NEWS / 29 Feb 2012

At MWC 2012, Research in Motion showcased a concept named Confetti that lets its PlayBook tablet share an extended working space across multiple devices, based purely on its Wi-Fi and camera module.

LG Demonstrated Voice-to-Video Conversion over LTE Network at MWC 2012

LG Demonstrated Voice-to-Video Conversion over LTE Network at MWC 2012

NEWS / 29 Feb 2012

LG showcased the world's first voice-to-video conversion over a LTE network at the MWC 2012. Based on LG's proprietary technology, the demonstration allowed users to switch back and forth between high quality voice and high resolution video call modes during a current conversation.

Mozilla Demos Boot to Gecko at MWC 2012

Mozilla Demos Boot to Gecko at MWC 2012

NEWS / 29 Feb 2012

Boot to Gecko marks Mozilla's first foray into the smartphone realm. We spotted Mozilla's new operating system at Mobile World Congress 2012 and did a quick hands-on. Read on to find out more.

Intel to Show More Aggressive Presence in Smartphone Scene

Intel to Show More Aggressive Presence in Smartphone Scene

NEWS / 29 Feb 2012

Intel is aiming to play a more significant role in the smartphone landscape with its new Atom platforms. In line with this goal, Intel has established partnerships with different device manufacturers and service providers worldwide.

Hands-on: LG Optimus 4X HD & LG Optimus 3D Max

Hands-on: LG Optimus 4X HD & LG Optimus 3D Max

FEATURE / 28 Feb 2012

LG follows suit in the quad-core race with its flagship LG Optimus 4X HD and beefs up its 3D smartphone portfolio with the Optimus 3D Max. Let's take a quick look, shall we?