We bring you a roundup of all the news to come out of MWC 2012 in Barcelona, including details on the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Nokia 808 PureView, Sony Xperia P and U, LG Optimus 4X HD, Orange Santa Clara, Asus Padphone, and loads more...
Mobile World Congress has a history for outing some of the year’s hottest handsets. It was dominated last year by the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S2, a device that is still rivalling the likes of the Apple iPhone 4S for the mantle of the king of the smartphone scene, though the follow up did not make an appearance this year.
However we were treated to a range of quad core smartphones, innovative tablets and even a tech loaded car.
While there was no Galaxy S3, Samsung did launch some impressive kit at this year’s show.
It brought an end to weeks of rumours, officially unveiling its latest touch and pen tablet at in the form of the repeatedly leaked Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
Following on from the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note, the Samsung Note 10.1 has adopted a more traditional 10.1-inch form factor with touchscreen controls and the less-standard S-Pen (a pressure sensitive stylus) and S-Note software, as well as specifically designed Adobe editing software.
In a press conference at MWC, the company said that the major difference between the Note and Tab 10.1 is the S-Pen functionality, which encourages a different user experience.
Elsewhere, Samsung expanded its array of personal media players with the Samsung Galaxy S Wi-Fi 4.2. With a 4.2-inch WVGA touchscreen display, it is described by Samsung as “the best of Android experiences with powerful gaming on the go.” It comes preloaded with FIFA 12 and a bevy of premium EA titles.
Finally the Samsung Galaxy Beam is a new Android handset that comes sporting an inbuilt projector. The ultra-bright 15 lumens projector allowing users to seamlessly share multimedia content with others, simply by painting a nearby wall with it.
Sony Mobile launches
Sony launched two new Xperia phones on the eve of the show, confirming leaked reports that had been circulating in the weeks prior to MWC. This was Sony Mobile’s first MWC after buying out Ericson’s share of the operation.
The Android-powered Sony Xperia P features a fetching aluminium unibody, a 4-inch reality display and an 8 megapixel camera using Sony's fast capture tech.
It has what Sony calls White Magic Display technology which aims to make the screen viewable even in the sunniest of conditions. The firm claims it's the smartest and brightest display on the market.
The Sony Xperia P also works with a Motorola Atrix-style smart dock that makes it easy to connect to a TV, and offers a laptop computing experience with the capacity to connect other peripherals.
The Xperia U – previously known as Kumquat – is an Android powered slim line smartphone with a 1GHz dual-core processor stashed behind a 3.5 in reality display (the size of the iPhone 4s)
Specs wise it’s fairly mid range, however its real streangth is the design. A “transparent element” in the curved back and transparent strip allow users to set themes and colours, then activate these with calls or texts, photos, and music. Each device comes with x2 colours in the box.
Both will be available in Q2, and join the Sony Xperia S, which was launched back at CES in January.
It was also announced that the 4.6-inch 1280x720 Sony Ion handset will come to the UK this summer.
HTC One series
HTC rolled out the One Series of mobile phones, comprising the flagship HTC One X, along with the brand's slimmest device to date - the HTC One S - and the HTC One V, the design of which is based on the popular HTC Legend.
The HTC One X sports a large 4,7-inch Super LCD screen along with a Nvidia 1.5GHz quad-core processor and NFC capability.
All three phones will include built-in Beats audio, as found on previous models such as the HTC Sensation XE and the HTC Sensation XL.
As well as improving the audio, HTC has taken time to improve the camera offering on its new handsets, with all three including the brand's new HTC Image Chip. This offers a 0.7-second boot-up time for the camera, along with a 0.2-second autofocus that's said to be faster than the blink of an eye.
The HTC One S features a slightly smaller 4.3-inch AMOLED screen, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and at 7.9mm thick, is HTC's slimmest device so far.
The One S will run on a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz processor.
Completing the One Series is the HTC One V. Clearly designed as a cheaper alternative to its two siblings, this diminutive handset sports an almost identical chassis design to that of the HTC Legend. However, it sports a larger, 3.7-inch screen and a thinner profile that its predecessor, along with a 1GHz processing chip.
All three of the new phones will be packing Android Ice Cream Sandwich along with an updated version of the HTC Sense UI.
Orange Santa Clara
Network operator Orange has launched the first smartphone sporting an Intel CPU – the Santa Clara.
Manufactured by Chinese firm Gigabyte, it has a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460 processor, Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, and an 8MP rear-mounted camera with a 10fps photo burst mode.
It also has a 4.03-inch 1024 x 600p display, 16GB of internal storage and integrated NFC.
LG Optimus 4X HD
LG's first quad-core smartphone was first outed on the company's website earlier this month, but was officially shown off at the show.
The Ice Cream Sandwich phone has a mammoth 1.5GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, all of which will then be aided by 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. A 4.7-inch 1280x720p IPS True HD screen directly puts it in line to rival the current Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
On the back there’s an 8MP snapper with a 1.3MP front-facing camera for video calls.
Features wise, the LG Optimus 4X HD has advanced 'Companion Core' technology which reduces the number of processing cores it uses when operating small tasks such as web browsing or texting.
However, when tasks such as HD movie playback or gaming are in operation the smartphone will then utilise the full quad-cores, thus saving on battery.
In addition you'll also find MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) connectivity which will make outputting high-definition video even easier.
It will be available in Europe in Q2.
Huawei Ascend D
One of the first widely-anticipated quad-core phones, the Huawei Ascend D is powered by Huawei’s K3V2 quad-core 1.2GHz/1.5GHz processor, which the company claims is the fastest on the market.
It also boasts a 4.5-inch 720P high definition touchscreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, a 8-megapixel BSI rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and 1080p full HD video-capture and playback capabilities.
Measuring 64mm narrow and 8.9mm thick, the Huawei Ascend D quad UK launch date is set for Q2 2012 – but a UK price has not yet been confirmed.
Panasonic Eluga Power
Having announced its return to the European smartphone market with the Eluga at its European conference in Hamburg, Panasonic unveiled the follow up Eluga Power at MWC.
Featuring a bevy of high-end innards the Eluga Power will be the Japanese manufacturer’s new flagship handset, with a dual-core processor and ultra fast charging times.
On the larger side of the smartphone bracket, it has a 5-inch 1280 x 720p HD LCD display with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 dual-core processor, and is just 9.6mm thick and 133g in weight.
It is able to reach a 50 per cent charge following just 30 minutes connected to the mains, and the 8-megapixel rear-mounted camera has 1080p Full HD video recording capabilities.
It will land running Google’s latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, have NFC on board, and is water and dustproof.
The Nokia 808 PureView 4-inch Belle smartphone comes with a mammoth 41MP sensor on the back, making it one of the highest resolution cameras to be put on a smartphone.
With a 4-inch high-resolution screen the 808 PureView is powered by a 1.3GHz single-core processor with 512MB of RAM and 16GB of storage for all those high-res images – and runs on Symbian.
Of course what everyone will be talking about is that camera. With a 41MP sensor the Nokia 808 PureView camera utilises some rather clever sub-pixel wizardry to squeeze a 41MP resolution into a 16:9 ratio.
That means of course full-HD recording in 1080p as well as 4x lossless zoom which will be a welcome addition considering smartphone cameras often suffer when zooming.
The lower end Nokia Lumia 610 Windows Phone smartphone was also introduced at the show. It features an aluminium body with a 3.7-inch screen 800x400 display.
With just 256MB RAM this is the first example of a Windows Phone handset that has gone below the previous specs bar set in place by Microsoft, Nokia have assured that apps still run comfortably minimising fragmentation.
It does however come with 8GB of storage so there's plenty of space for songs and apps while Nokia is offering 25GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage as well.
It will arrive in Q2 for around £200.
The Finnish firm also announce that the Nokia Lumia 900 will hit the UK later this year.
Delivered by Bill Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford the B-MAX will be the first car to arrive in UK equipped with Ford's SYNC technology.
Offering Bluetooth pairing and voice-activation from smartphones, MP3-player connectivity and live Emergency Assistance, SYNC will be also be rolled out to Fiesta, Focus, Cougar and Transit models. It employs Nuance tech to speak nine languages and to place emergency calls in localised languages.
Pitched as a small family car, the B-MAX has sliding rear doors and integrates its central body pillars into the hinged front doors, creating cavernous openings either side.
T3 was on site at MWC. We jumped in for a look and were impressed with its clever space. It sits between a Focus and a C-Max but is much more advanced in terms of in-car tech. Ford told T3 that it was also looking for partners to help develop its 'Applink' system - bringing voice-enabled smartphone app technology straight to the cockpit of its vehicles.
ZTE Orbit and Era
ZTE, which has made a name for itself selling smartphones that don’t break the bank, unveiled the ZTE Orbit smartphone, running on Windows Phone 7. It has 4GB of memory, HD Voice, and a 5MPx autofocus camera with LED flash.
It also launched the higher end ZTE Era – which comes with a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core mobile processor, Android ICS, a 4.3 inch QHD touch screen with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, and 8GB of memory.
The firm has simultaneously announced the MF668A data card which takes advantage of Microsoft’s Mobile Broadband Class Driver in Windows 8.
Having been previewed at CES, the Asus tablet/smartphone combo was officially launched at MWC.
The Padfone itself has a brand-new Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM,a 4.3 inch 960x540 Super-AMOLED qHD screen, and will run ICS out of the box.
The optional tablet dock has a 10.1-inch 1920x1280 Gorilla Glass screen, an 8MP snapper, and Asus Dynamic Display technology which allows the phone's screen is seamlessly transferred into tablet mode.