With one of the tech industry’s biggest trade shows – the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – behind us, tech analysts and enthusiasts are awaiting the next event to glimpse at the future of mobile technology and innovation.
Mobile World Congress (MWC), held in Barcelona, Spain at the end of February each year, allows smartphone and tablet vendors to display their latest creations away from the crowded show floor of CES. It is here that the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, and Nokia, reveal to the world the direction in which mobile technology is heading. Let’s see what we can expect out of Barcelona this February.
Samsung is rumored to reveal two new Galaxy S5 devices this year, but it is unlikely that it will choose MWC to do so. Like last year, Samsung will likely hold a special event for its flagship devices. Additionally, a successor to its first, mildly successful smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, is rumored to arrive sometime this year alongside the flagship Galaxy devices.
Samsung will likely use Mobile World Congress to announce a less-expensive version of its widely popular Galaxy Note handset, with a rumored 5.5 inch 720p screen, an 8 megapixel camera, 16 GB of storage, the first-of-its-kind hexa-core processor, and a similar design language to its predecessor. Samsung will also focus on the release of its Galaxy Note Pro tablet, which has a whopping 12.2 inch screened a 2560 x 1600 screen resolution.
In addition, the Korean tech giant is expected to reveal midrange handsets and tablets with AMOLED display technology, a low power alternative to LCD. Finally, Samsung may announce a return to the Windows Phone market with a device currently only known as the SM-W750V. It is rumored to feature a 5 inch HD AMOLED display and support for 4G LTE. The Korean giant may even throw in some surprises at the trade show and venture into territories hidden from the rumor mill, such as curved display technologies for tablets.
LG is expected to release a “pro” version of its flagship handset, the LG G2. Not much has leaked about the LG G2 Pro, aside from whispers claiming that it will have a fingerprint scanner (to follow the industry’s latest focus on biometric security) and carry Google’s Android 4.4 KitKat software. The LG G2 is also expected to receive a “Mini” version, with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM as the original G2 but with a 4.7 inch screen compared to a 5.2 inch.
Sony has hit the ground running in 2014. Aside from the Xperia Z1 Compact, Sony has announced the Xperia E1 and Xperia T2 Ultra. Both the Xperia T2 Ultra and Xperia E1 are primarily made for emerging Asian markets.
However, Sony may have something special in store for the rest of the world as it prepares to launch the successor to its flagship waterproof smartphone, the Xperia Z1. The rumored Z2 may sport a 5.2 inch screen with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, also known as “2K”. Sony has supposedly developed a 20.7 megapixel rear-facing camera for the device. Inside the phone, the Japanese tech giant has purportedly included a whopping 3,700 mAh battery and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, though hopefully it will be upgraded to Qualcomm’s latest 805 processor before release.
Nokia might steal this year’s show, however. It is rumored to unveil its next flagship device, the Nokia Lumia 1820. Microsoft is set to take advantage of its recent acquisition of the Finnish phone maker and equip the flagship with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor capable to run at 2.5 GHz. The 5.2 inch powerhouse will possibly sport Ultra HD resolution, a 3,400 mAh battery for all-day battery life, and 3 GB of RAM, and at least 32 GB of internal storage. Nokia is also adding an improved camera to the phone, utilizing a Lytro-like camera feature with the ability to focus the shot post-capture.
If that was not enough to bring the Finnish phone manufacturer into the limelight at the tradeshow, Nokia is also rumored to announce its first Android smartphone, an entry-level device codenamed, Normandy. However, according to a Senior Executive over at Nokia India, the device will not be launched until March, where it will join the Asha lineup. Intended for emerging markets, the device is said to have a 4 inch WVGA (800 x 480) screen, 5 MP camera, dual-core 1.2 GHz chipset, 512 MB RAM and 4 GB of expandable storage.
The year 2014 is looking to be another “evolutionary” year, rather than “revolutionary.” While Samsung and LG have released smartphones with curved displays, they have received a lukewarm response. It is time for the tech giants to innovate in the industry. Screen resolutions are nearly indiscernible. Most affordable, mid-range phones have powerful specifications and can run most applications without any stutter. And Smartphone cameras have indubitably killed off the point-and-shoot.
If any tech giant desires to take lead in the smartphone race and establish itself within the hundreds of Android phones on the market, it must recognize the potential of innovation. Whether it be a revolutionary mobile payment system or an advanced form of biometric security which inhibits the need to remember passwords, the next-generation of smartphones must dare to think different. Otherwise, larger screens and faster processors will no longer be enticing enough to convince consumers to upgrade. Have any predictions of your own for Mobile World Congress? Sound off in the comments section below.