The biggest mobile technologies tradeshow of the year will be under way in Barcelona next week, the 2011 Mobile World Congress.
For the first time, the number of attendees at this event (strictly closed to the general public) will surpass 50,000, which is understandable given that more and more exciting world smartphone and gadget premiers take place at the MWC.
This year’s focus will surely be on LTE technology, as hinted by CES a month ago where Samsung, LG, Motorola and HTC presented the first devices for the American market which support this 4G technology. It is expected that the majority of new smartphones that will be launched in Barcelona will support 4G technologies (at least HSPA+, if not LTE). Plus, we will surely see an array of other LTE equipment and witness the rollout of European LTE networks,
Apart from smartphones, the tradeshow will feature many tablets; those that were presented in the past month, as well as new models.
Samsung and Sony Ericsson will “steal” the show a day before it commences, this Sunday night (CET), as they will hold spectacular events to display their latest products.
For weeks, Samsung has been teasing the successor of the Galaxy S on one of its web sites, and it is believed that this phone will officially be called Samsung Galaxy S2. It will use Samsung’s own 1 GHz dual-core Orion chipset, and come with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, 32GB of internal storage, and an ultra slim 0.35-inch unibody design. The operating system will be Android OS 2.3, but Samsung has a few more surprises in store regarding the features of this device.
It is not impossible for the South Korean giant to launch the successor to the Galaxy Tab during the same event, given that it has recently ordered large amounts of NVIDIA Tegra 2 processors (which will, clearly, not be used in the new Galaxy S). Rumors that the Galaxy Tab 2 might have a 3D screen are less likely to be true.
At the same time, Sony Ericsson will present its XPERIA Play, the much-awaited hybrid of smartphone and portable gaming console. This is rumored to run Android OS 2.3 and offer control keys reminiscent of those on the PlayStation. The phone is expected to include a 4.2-inch screen and a 1 GHz processor with a 5-megapixel back-facing camera.
Sony Ericsson will also launch the XPERIA Neo, its representative smartphone among the 4.3-inch Android OS 2.3 devices. It will, like the Galaxy S2, come with an ultra-slim unibody and use Qualcomm’s 1 GHz Snapdragon chipset.
In addition to these two devices, Sony Ericsson representatives are reportedly planning a big surprise, but there is still no word on exactly what it will be.
At the same time as Samsung and Sony Ericsson, Nokia will also hold a press conference in Barcelona, even though big surprises are not expected when it comes to new devices — the Finnish manufacturer has no exhibition area at the show (just like last year).
Given yesterday’s announcement that it’s switching to Windows Phone 7, Nokia isn’t expected to have any new devices to announce for quite some time.
Expectations are much higher for LG and HTC, which have announced their exclusive launches for the first and second day of the show.
Thus, LG will present its Optimus 3D on Monday morning (CET), the first phone with the 3D screen that can be viewed without the need for special glasses. It will sport two back-facing cameras making it possible to record 3D videos. The Optimus 3D will most probably be using a Sharp screen, the same that Nintendo 3DS has; and 3D imaging can be turned off as well. The smartphone will include the Android OS and a 4.3-inch display, with the Tegra 2 dual-core chipset.
LG will also showcase its Optimus Pad, known as the T-Mobile G-Slate, and company representatives have hinted that a 3D user interface for Android OS will be revealed.
It’s clear what HTC will present during its event on Tuesday morning — the successor for the Desire (or Droid Incredible, as it is known on the U.S. market) will almost certainly be on the docket. The Desire 2 might feature a 4.3-inch screen and an ultra-slim unibody, as well as a dual-core processor.
However, HTC has rather tangled up the story surrounding this model with unclear information about other devices that will be launched.
One possibility that the Taiwanese manufacturer could present is a 7-inch tablet called the Scribe running Android OS 3.0. It might also unveil a smartphone which will use both Windows Phone 7 and the Android OS.
Even with all these smartphones, applications will get much of the attention at MWC, seeing that a special exhibition called App Planet (which was inaugurated last year) will take up the largest part of the show, and that all relevant companies which are in the mobile applications business will be represented.
Novelties are expected from Google and Microsoft as well, whose CEOs will hold the keynotes. Microsoft can hardly repeat the spectacle it hosted with the launch of the Windows Phone 7 in Barcelona last year, however, at least the first big upgrade of this mobile platform is expected to be released.
What will actually take place at the 2011 MWC? And what if the stated above are just rumors? Find out from our daily reports from the show floor.