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MWC 2013 – What to expect

MWC 2013 is almost upon us. Each February, every mobile company worth its salt shows-off its latest wares in Barcelona at this bind-bogglingly busy show. It all kicks off on 25 February. But what will we see there? Let’s take a closer look at the devices to look out for.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

A petite tablet with a digitiser stylus S-Pen

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 sits between the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Galaxy Note 2 in size terms. It’ll have an 8-inch screen and a digitiser stylus. However, it looks like it won’t be insanely spec-heavy, suggesting it won’t be a wallet-decimating device. Leaked specs point towards a 1,280 x 800 pixel screen, a 5MP camera and a quad-core processor similar to that found in last year’s Samsung Galaxy S3. What we really need to know now is the price – if it sells for under £250, Samsung could have a seriously desirable Nexus 7 alternative on its hands.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

Another budget Android tablet

Samsung’s previous Galaxy Tab series tablets have tended to features 10.1-inch screens, but savvy to the popularity of the dinkier tablet, the next-gen model is expected to step down to eight inches. Yes, that’s exactly the same size as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. The difference is that the Tab will not feature a digitiser layer or S-Pen.  These omissions should let the Tab 3 reach new price depths for the series, with a price tag not too far off the Google Nexus 7’s.

Samsung Galaxy Young

A bargain basement Android phone for the kids

The Samsung Galaxy Young has already been officially announced, we’ve just not seen it in the flesh yet. It features a 1GHz processor, 3.3-inch screen and 3-megapixel camera. It’s a bottom-rung Android that should be perfect for younger or cash-strapped buyers.

Samsung Galaxy Fame

One step up from the Young, a cheapie Android phone

The Fame takes the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Young and bumps them up a notch, with a 3.5-inch screen and 5-megapixel camera. However, it should remain pretty cheap, perfect for entry-level contracts or pre-pay buyers.

Nokia Lumia Tablet

A Windows 8 tablet, made by Nokia

One tablet we’re not entirely sure about yet is the Nokia Lumia tablet. It’s an extension of the partnership between Microsoft and Nokia, but can Nokia really produce a tablet when it has been primarily “all about the phones”  in this sector? Well, it has already started showing up in presentations on the other side of the world. Expect a mid-price Windows 8 tablet with some of the colourful, friendly design of the Lumia-series phones.

Nokia Catwalk

The phone to walk all over the Lumia 920

It feels like the Nokia Lumia 920 only got out of the gate a moment ago, but there are rumours afoot suggesting it’s about to be usurped. Slinking by with the codename Catwalk, the phone is likely to be quite different to the Lumia 920. Reports suggest an aluminium, rather than plastic body, and much lighter frame. One of the most common criticisms levelled at the Lumia 920 was that it’s a chunky beast. At 185g, we tend to agree.

Nokia EOS

A phone with a fan-bloomin-tastic camera

One of the most exciting phone tech innovations of last year was Nokia’s PureView camera. Sadly, the device that used it, the Nokia 808 PureView was a catastrophic flop. Part of the reason why was because it used the dead Symbian OS – oh and just about no retailer under the sun was willing to stock the thing. The Nokia EOS will bring the PureView camera tech to Windows Phone 8. Who knows, perhaps someone might even buy this one…

Nokia Lumia 520

A super low-end Windows Phone 8 handset

Just recently, Nokia launched the Lumia 620, a fantastic Windows phone and the cheapest Lumia-series device to date. However, it’s apparently about to get one-upped by its brother, the upcoming Lumia 520. Although the naming suggests it’ll be slightly cheaper than the £150 Lumia 620, its screen is reportedly a teeny bit larger – four inches instead of 3.8. However, you miss out on a user-facing camera and – most likely – NFC. 

Nokia Lumia 720

A mid-range Windows Phone 8 phone

The Nokia Lumia 720 appears to be a fiddled-with take on the Nokia Lumia 820, most probably with slightly more aggressive pricing. It’ll feature a 4.3-inch screen, dual-core processor, 6MP main camera and 512MB of RAM. A fistful of its specs are cut down from the Lumia 820’s, letting Nokia shave a few pounds of the price. In theory, anyway.

Sony Note-a-like or WP8 phone

Well, they have to, don’t they?

Sony is one of the few companies whose MWC activities aren’t more-or-less known. We’d bet £1.50 that we’ll see either a large Samsung Galaxy Note-style Android device or a phone running Windows Phone 8. Sony hasn’t teased either officially, but when we’re unlikely to see a new flagship phone after the Sony Xperia Z was revealed so recently, Sony will have to fill its MWC stand with something.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

A top-end tablet

Sony’s last tablet was the Sony Xperia Tablet S. It was nice ‘n’ slim, but its specs didn’t turn any heads. It’s a mid-range tablet more-or-less. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z will fill-in the gap up at the top-end. It has already been unveiled in Japan, and may well make its international debut at MWC 2013. It offers a Full HD screen, 10.1 inches across, is water resistant and just 6.9mm thick. It’s crazy-light for a tablet of this size too, at 495g. It’s pretty yummy, but probably won’t come cheap. Make that definitely.

Acer Liquid E1

An also-ran Android

Acer may have more goodies in store for us at MWC 2013, but the one phone we know about so far I the Acer Liquid E1. It’s a 4.5-inch screen Android phone with a dual-core processor and qHD resolution – way below what you get in top-end Androids like the Samsung Galaxy S3, and even worse compared with the upcoming 1080p competition of 2013. However, if it sells on the cheap it could represent great value.

Asus MemoPad 10


Asus has already launched the MemoPad 10, so we’ll almost definitely see this budget tablet at MWC 2013. It will sell for around £110, and so naturally has to cut a few corners. It features a fairly low-res  1,024 x 600 pixel screen, single-core 1GHz processor and at 8GB of memory at the entry level. What we want to know is if its screen is going to be godawful – if so, the deal’s off.

Asus Fonepad

A phone-y take on the Nexus 7 design

Did you know that Asus makes the Google Nexus 7? Well it does. And now it’s going its own way with the 7-inch tablet, with the Asus FonePad. It’s a 7-inch tablet with a similar screen to the Nexus 7, but has an aluminium body, and an Intel Atom processor rather than a Tegra one. Early reports suggest it’ll cost almost £300, but fingers crossed it’ll be cheaper than that when it lands.

Huawei Ascend P2

An 8-core monster

Huawei unveiled a pair of high-end Android devices at CES 2013 in January, but it has left the real big guns for MWC 2013. The Huawei Ascend P2 is an eight-core Android phone with a 13-megapixel camera and 4.7-inch 1080p screen. That makes it a little bit smaller than the slightly lower-end quad-core Ascend D2. It may even be the only eight-core phone we see at MWC 2013. 

Huawei WP 8 phone

Huawei’s first WP8 phone

This one has been touted for ages. Huawei’s likely to show off a Windows Phone 8 mobile at MWC 2013, unless it really has just been teasing us all this time. We don’t know any further details as this time, though.

LG Optimus G Pro

A giant phone

Although it made the Google Nexus 4, LG has slipped off the phone radar in recent years. But is the LG Optimus G Pro enough to get it back on track? It’s a large 5.5-inch phone, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The important thing about the G Pro is that it uses the brand-spanking-new Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, which should make it blazingly fast. However, as far as we know it does not use a digitiser stylus.

LG Optimus L-Series II

A series of Android phones

Filling up the cheaper end of the range are the LG Optimus L-series II phones. There are three of them. They have 4.3-inch, 4-inch and 3.2-inch screens, and roughly ape what the Samsung Galaxy series of phones offered…. Back in 2011. Our hope is that they sell at rock-bottom prices, because otherwise they don’t have much of a chance in such a built-up market.  

ZTE Firefox OS

A Firefox OS phone

ZTE may be the first company to show off a Firefox OS phone. It teased that it would in its MWC 2013 event invites, saying that we should get ready to hashtag “ZTEMozilla”. Mozilla is the company behind Firefox and the Firefox mobile OS. It’s an experiment, certainly, but should make this one of the most interesting things to come out of MWC this year.

ZTE Grand Memo

A ZTE take on the Galaxy Note

Samsung really is becoming a trendsetter for 2013. Everyone seems to be out to ape the Samsung Galaxy Note’s success, and ZTE’s is to be called the ZTE Grand Memo. Note, Memo – see the similarity? It’ll feature a 5.7-inch screen, 13MP camera, the Android OS and a thin 8mm-thick bod. If ZTE does its usual trick and sells the Grand Memo at a seriously aggressive price, this could be one to watch.

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