The smartphone world never seems to stop turning. We've barely finished with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and we're already only weeks away from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. While CES was a largely American affair, MWC is all about European and world-wide releases, so it's definitely the expo to watch if you're living in the UK.
Microsoft - Entertainment Rating: 3/5, Surprise Rating: 4/5
Windows Phone makers Microsoft are expected to have a good presence at MWC. We’ll likely get a look at their low-specification Windows Phone Tango operating system, and Windows Phone 8 Apollo if we’re really really lucky. The new operating system should be another big step for Microsoft, and it'll be exciting to see if they debut it on some new hardware as well.
Verdict: Hold out hope for our first peak at Windows Phone 8!
Nokia - Entertainment Rating: 2/5, Surprise Rating: 2/5
With the rumours flying around about a likely EU launch for the Lumia 900, it’s quite possible that we’ll see the new top Windows Phone at MWC. The EU model could come with a bigger 12 megapixel camera than the 8 megapixel American version, so that could be a nice bonus. Otherwise, I doubt we’ll see much of interest for non-Nokia fans.
Verdict: Skip unless you’re a massive Nokia fan.
RIM - Entertainment Rating: 1/5, Surprise Rating: 1/5
Research in Motion will have a small presence at the Mobile World Conference. While no new phones are expected, it has been confirmed that we’ll see BlackBerry OS 10 working for the first time. Small steps, RIM, small steps.
With Samsung, it’s all about one phone: that Samsung Galaxy S III. Will we see it, or will we not? We’ve heard rumours going in both directions, with some saying that Samsung would be fools not to launch the highly anticipated phone here, but others countering that Samsung want to minimise the gap between its announcement and the US release, which was several months for the phone-of-the-year Galaxy S2. The new phone would definitely be the star of Samsung’s presentation, and is expected to include an upgrade to an HD display, Ice Cream Sandwich, and (maybe) use the Exynos 5250 high speed dual core processor.
Besides the S III, we’ll also likely see an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Tab line, as they haven’t been refreshed in a while. Expect to see quad-core processors and HD displays abound, if only so that Samsung will be able to keep up with Joneses (read: HTC). There'll also likely be more on the already-leaked Samsung Galaxy S Advance, a new phone that'll sit between the popular Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S.
Verdict: Tune in, but you may be disappointed if the S III doesn’t launch.
Sony - Entertainment Rating: 3/5, Surprise Rating: 4/5
Sony is going to be another interesting firm to watch at MWC, with the Sony Xperia U (codenamed Kumquat) and the Sony Xperia P (codenamed Nypon) expected to be announced. The Xperia U is a mid-range handset that we’ve already heard about, which should debut with a 3.5” display, 1 GHz dual core processor and a five megapixel camera. The Experia P is expected to be slightly worse than the Xperia S, offering a dual core processor and 4” qHD screen. We may also very well see some new tablets as well.
Verdict: Could be a good one, so definitely tune in if you’re a Sony fan.
ZTE - Entertainment Rating: 3/5, Surprise Rating: 4/5
ZTE is another budget handset provider that has started to make some waves. The success of its ZTE Blade last year proved that ZTE are capable of making solid, high value Android smartphones. ZTE is also due to show off its first Windows Phone, which could be be a great addition to its line-up - and Microsoft's.
Verdict: Definitely a good one to watch for Windows Phone folks.
That's All, Folks
And that's all for now - are you excited for the Mobile World Congress as much as I am now?
Be sure to read Part 1 if you haven't already, and stay posted for more of the latest smartphone news and other excellent articles from giffgaff. Thanks for reading, and farewell for now!
William Judd is a copywriter and technology blogger based in Bristol. If you'd like to hire me or just say hello, feel free to visit my website at williamjudd.com or chat with me on Twitter.