05 Mar World’s Fastest Phone, World’s Thinnest Tablet & Samsung’s Answer To The iPad Mini: MWC 2013
Eager to know what 2013 will serve up in the mobility space?
The Mobile World Congress (MWC), held annually in Barcelona has a sneak preview just for you.
While much of the technology and products unveiled this year at MWC may not be entirely ground-breaking, or evolutionary, handset makers from Samsung to Nokia to Huawei revealed what they had planned for consumers.
To get a taste of what MWC served up this year, check out the slideshow below!
Huawei Unveils The “World’s Fastest Smartphone”
Chinese manufacturer Huawei has pulled out all the stops this year, announcing they have developed the “World’s Fastest Smartphone”, the Ascend P2.
The 4G LTE handset, Huawei states, can reach download speeds of up to 150 Mbps (depending on the network). In addition to this, “Huawei’s proprietary ‘swift sharing’ supports uploads and downloads two to three times faster than other smartphones in a Wi-Fi environment,” the company said in a statement.
Another interesting feature lies within the handset’s touchscreen. The 4.7 inch IPS HD in-cell touch display, has been revealed to offer enhanced responsiveness to the point where it can be used with gloves. Huawei stated that users can “perform any function, under any light” due to automatic brightness calibration.
Apart from the above, the handset offers fairly standard specs. The phone runs on a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, with 1GB of RAM and features Android’s 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. The phone has a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera with 16GB internal storage.
While an official statement states the Ascend P2 will “be available globally around the second quarter of 2013,” a Huawei Australia spokesperson said there is currently no definite launch date for the local market.
Samsung Takes On Apple’s iPad Mini
Samsung has expanded its range of mobile devices with an 8-inch tablet with phone call capability, providing direct competition with Apple’s iPad mini.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 is being marketed by Samsung as a tablet, filling in the gap between the 5.5 inch Galaxy S Note II and the 10.1 inch Galaxy Note.
In terms of specs, the Galaxy Note 8 features the latest version of the Android OS, Jellybean 4.1.2 and comes with a stylus pen that allows users to write or draw on the screen. It also features its multitasking feature launched in the Galaxy Note 10.1, which enables users to split the view in two to run two apps simultaneously.
The specs are respectable, with the handset running on a 1.6GHz A9 quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage expandable up to 64GB using the MicroSD slot. The 8inch screen has a screen resolution of 1,280 X 800 megapixels, with 189ppi. It features a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera (which is more or less in line with other tablet offerings) and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera.
Nokia Announces Low End Lumia Range
In order to fill out its mid to low range offerings and appeal to the price conscious, Nokia unveiled two new additions to its Lumia range at MWC 2013.
Nokia announced the Lumia 520 and 720, both of which aims to bring some of the fancier features of its 4G flagship phones (920 and 820) to a more affordable price range. Both phones feature the latest version of the Windows Phone OS (WP8), however that’s where the similarities end, with the 720 targeted less towards those interested in tech specs and more for social networking, while the 520 is simply a budget phone with a few high end features.
Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop said that people deserved the same rich experience in a handset, regardless of how much was spent.
Rounding off the low-end spectrum of the Lumia range, the 520 is a great option for those after a smartphone on a tight budget.
Though the 520 does not offer impressive tech specs, Nokia has included its HERE mapping and navigation software, its Mix Radio free streaming music service, in addition to its digital lenses camera filters and cinemagraph animated GIF creator.
While the 520 certainly doesn’t have the same sleek look as the rest of the Lumia range, it does feature Nokia’s glove-friendly sensitive touchscreen technology in its 4 inch screen. The screen has a resolution of 800 X 480 and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. Its 5 megapixel rear-facing camera has missed out on Nokia’s proprietary PureView technology as well as making do without a front-facing camera.
The 520 does not support 4G, NFC or wireless charging unlike its high end siblings, however, for those after a budget smartphone the 520 is decent option.
The 720 has differentiated itself from its low-end sibling, with a sleek design and great camera technology.
It is the thinnest Lumia to date, measuring in at only 9mm, sharing the rounded style and curved screen of the 820. The bright Lumia colours come in a matte finish, with the exception of a high gloss white option.
In terms of the camera, the 720 (unlike the 520) feature Nokia’s PureView technology found in the 920 and 820, offering a 6.7 megapixel rear-facing lens, complete with Carl Zeiss optics (and branding), a new f1.9 aperture to boost performance of low light photography, in addition to a new digital lens that lets people take enhanced self portraits using the 1.3 megapixel front-facing lens.
The 720 runs similar specs to the 520, running on a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, along with 512MB of RAM. It offers 8GB of internal storage which is expandable up to 64GB via the microSD card slot. The 720 does have a slightly larger screen than the 520, coming in at 4.3 inches, however it sports the same resolution of 800 X 480. Nokia have also included its range of software add-ons, including its HERE mapping and navigation software as well as its free streaming music service.
NFC is another included feature, however wireless charging (which comes standard in the 920 and 820) is an optional extra.
First Firefox OS Devices
Mozilla.org first revealed its plans to develop a mobile OS named after its web browser (Firefox) a year ago at MWC 2012.
This year’s MWC saw the company announcing that four phone makers will release devices later in 2013, with its early partner, ZTE displaying its first Firefox OS smartphone the ZTE Open. The Firefox OS is built entirely using HTML5 and open web standards, which means that app developers can easily port applications over to Firefox OS and for independent application developers to create new apps for Firefox OS.
The ZTE Open is due out later this year, which sports fairly basic specs. It offers a 3.5 inch screen with a screen resolution of 480 X 320 megapixels, a Qualcomm processor based on the older ARM Cortex A5 CPU and has 256MB of RAM and 512MB of expandable storage.
One thing to note is that the Firefox OS and subsequent Firefox OS devices, was developed to target the low end market to make more affordable options for those wanting a smartphone.
To check out Firefox OS in action, check out this video below:
World’s Thinnest 10.1 Inch Tablet
While Sony may not be top of mind in the tablet space, the Xperia Tablet Z features some fantastic specs and beats all other tablets in thickness (or lack thereof).
The Xperia Tablet Z comes in at only 6.9mm, which is currently the thinnest on the market. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 inch measures in at 8.9mm thick while the 4th gen Apple iPad comes in at 9.4mm. For those seeking a sleek, slim fit tablet to carry around, Sony’s got you covered.
In terms of specs, the Xperia Tablet Z runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, with a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of internal storage (expandable up to 64GB via microSD card) and NFC connectivity. The 10.1 inch full HD reality display features a respectable 1920 x 1200 megapixel resolution, with a 8.1 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2 megapxiel HD front-facing camera.
Sony have thrown a few great features to entice those not swayed by the title of “world’s thinnest”. For the more clumsy among us, the tablet is able to withstand being submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The Xperia Tablet Z also features Sony’s battery STAMINA mode that can improve the device’s standby time so you can get more out of the tablet. If you have a few Sony products laying around at home such as a Sony TV or Sony Playstation, the tablet can be transformed into a universal remote, allowing users to control these devices directly from the tablet.
The Xperia Tablet Z will be available at Sony Stores and other authorised dealers in the second quarter of 2013. The device will retail for around $749 for the 16 GB and $899 for the 32 GB in Australia.