Photo: Dan Frommer, Business Insider
The annual Mobile World Congress, the big show where tech companies gather in Barcelona to show off their latest smartphones, tablets, and other mobile gadgets, is in just a few weeks.We took a look at the rumoured and pre-announced gadgets that companies like Sony, Samsung, HTC, and RIM plan to show off at MWC this year. Keep reading to see what they are.
HTC announced a few weeks ago that it plans to reduce the number of smartphone models it launches each year. Instead, it's going to concentrate on a handful of premium devices. That all starts with the HTC Ville, which will be the company's first phone to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC's 'Sense' skin. HTC does a great job at modifying Android, so we're looking forward to what it has in store for Ice Cream Sandwich.
After delivering two tablet flops last year, it looks like HTC is going to try again with a 10-incher tentatively called the 'Quattro.' PocketNow has details on the tablet, claiming the device will have a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the same zippy chip that powers the excellent Asus Transformer Prime. It'll also integrate Beats Audio (like most new HTC products). No word on which version of Android it'll run, but we're guessing it'll be the latest version, Ice Cream Sandwich.
HTC's last 10-inch tablet, the Jetstream, was pretty decent, but cost a whopping $700 with a two-year contract from AT&T.
We already got a look at two of Sony's upcoming Xperia phones, the Xperia S and Xperia Ion, and we expect Sony to continue chatting those up. We've also heard rumours about some other possible Xperia models, but nothing too solid yet.
In addition to all those Xperia phones, Sony will also be showing off the PlayStation Vita, the new update to the PSP. The Vita will have only been around for about a week in the U.S. by the time MWC starts, so it'll be the perfect time to drum up more buzz for it.
The Vita has a huge touchscreen plus a touch sensitive pad on the back for extra control. You can download games from Sony, so there's no need to buy physical cartridges. (Although you still can if you want.)
Sony's Tablet P, the clamshell dual-screen tablet that can fold up and fit in your pocket, has yet to arrive in the U.S. But we did see it at CES this year, and it sported AT&T branding on the 3G model. It's coming. No guarantees, but we're hoping Sony will provide some launch details at MWC.
The Tablet P currently runs Android Honeycomb, but Sony says it'll get an Ice Cream Sandwich update soon.
In the past, Samsung has used MWC to show off its new Android-based 'Galaxy S' phones. But it looks like this year is going to be a disappointment. Last week Samsung said it would not show off the rumoured Galaxy S III at MWC. That left us hoping for a new Galaxy Tab tablet instead.
Samsung confirmed with PCMag that it won't hold a press conference for new product announcements at MWC this year. So it looks like they'll just show off current devices like the Galaxy Note instead. Bummer.
By the time MWC starts, the new PlayBook 2.0 software update should be available. (Assuming RIM keeps to its promise that it'll launch in February.) PlayBook 2.0 will let you control your tablet via your BlackBerry smartphone using taps and swipes. You'll also get a native calendar app, something that has been missing since the PlayBook launched in April 2011.
Finally, RIM hopes to solve its app selection problem by allowing Android developers to port their apps to the PlayBook.
RIM is pretty much betting the entire future of its company on a new mobile operating system that won't be ready until this fall at the earliest. The OS will be called BlackBerry 10, and it'll be based on the same one running on the PlayBook right now. There's a good chance RIM will show off an early preview of BlackBerry 10 at MWC.
We just got official word that Microsoft will launch a free public beta of Windows 8 on February 29 at MWC. It's especially significant that Microsoft is releasing the beta at an event focused on mobile since Windows 8 is designed to run on both tablets and desktop PCs.
The Lumia 900 was one of the hottest gadgets at CES this year, but we're still waiting for an official launch date and price. So far we know it'll run on AT&T's 4G LTE network and have the latest version of Windows Phone 7. Plus, it's pretty darn gorgeous.