• Mobile World Congress 2013 gets under way in Barcelona
• Sony and Samsung announce new tablets

• Samsung issues invites to Galaxy S4 launch 
• Nokia unveils cheaper smartphone models
16.25 Launhing Nokia’s new 105 smartphone ,CEO Stephen Elop, says that Nokia hopes to capture an important part of the smartphone market. “We did this because regardless of what you spend on a mobile phone you always want, and you deserve, the very best experience,” he said. What the launch video here:
16.04 LG Optimus G phablet takes on Samsung – LG has unveiled a new 5.5” phone is one of four Optimus series devices that LG has revealed at MWC. Although Motorla currently claims to be the largest 4G manufacturer in the world, LG has an initial target to sell 10 million smartphones each quarter and double sales of its LTE devices in 2013. The company said that “flagship models from the G and Vu: series will target the premium segment while the F and L series will be positioned as more mass audience smartphones for 4G LTE and the 3G markets, respectively”.
15.42 Matt Warman on Motorola:
Motorola ought to be really struggling to attract attention: UK boss Andrew Crowley says they’re going in to most media briefings freely admitting that, aside from the UK launch of the HD Razr, “there is no news from us”. But the firm is gearing up for what it calls something “seriously exciting”: The first fruits of their new relationship with owners Google? The deal completed in May and Crowley says it takes one to two years to build a phone from scratch. That means time to get excited is approaching. For now, however, Motorola must maintain what momentum it has, and Crowley says things like “smart actions”, which automate certain aspects of the existing Razr, were those that were “most heavily breathed upon by Google”.
15.28 Something that does look a bit different is the Asus PadFone 2:
It features a “fully featured 4.7” Android smartphone with industry-leading specifications that docks with the unique PadFone 2 Station to become a lightweight, but fully featured, 10.1” tablet”.
15.10 Joe Jenkins again:
What is striking from walking the floors at MWC is just how similar all the products look like whatever their apparent USP. That isn’t news to anyone but when smartphones and larger-screened devices are before you in their thousands it is apparent that the industry is in dire need of the design skills of another Sir Jonathan Ive.
As if to make Joe’s point for him, HP have just sent us this picture of the Slate7:
It is “an affordable Android Jelly Bean consumer tablet that provides easy access to Google Mobile services”. It also features features a 7-inch diagonal screen, weighs 368 grams and is an “ideal trusted personal companion, featuring a stainless-steel frame and soft black paint in gray or red on the back”, apparently.
And as Matt Warman says:
The HP Slate 7 is perhaps the most perplexing product at MWC: while Mozilla thinks there’s mileage in a new operating system, HP is ditching Web OS, now sold to LG and originally acquired for more than a billion dollars, in favour of Android. Nothing wrong with that if you’ve got money to burn, but the Slate 7 is a bog standard android tablet. Why HP thinks the world needs another one of those is anybody’s guess.
14.53 LG has released its new “phablet” – a cross between a smartphone and a tablet. The LG Optimus G Pro has a 5.5-inch screen, a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 2.1 megapixel camera on the front and can record video on both cameras. It has 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage runs on the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Operating System. Watch the video here:
14.36 Another update:
From the look of these monster-sized goggles rivals hoping to beat the Google Glass project to a product launch have a little work to do yet:
“I am painting a Japanese picture,” said this colleague trying out Brilliantservice’s prototype Viking specs. His finger was transformed into a virtual paintbrush and there emerged on a nearby screen a picture any three year old would be proud of.
14.21 As if the scantily clad women were not providing enough entertainment, the Android robot has been doing the rounds:
14.06 Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 8. Following the success of Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad Mini, Samsung had widely been expected to launch the new size, which runs Android Jelly Bean and features the S-Pen stylus and multi-window app support pioneered by its Samsung siblings.
13.29 Booth Babe-watch continues. Benedict Evans points out that the ZTE stand is staffed by a team of underdressed young women. TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas notes that things are much the same over at Acer.
13.20 Are you wondering about the strangest gadget at MWC? This wireless pet feeder will take some beating:
It works via an app or email, according to our man at MWC, Matt Warman. He adds: “Nothing more needs to be said.”
12.41 The Chinese manufacturer Huawei has announced what it says is the fastest smartphone ever, the Ascend P2. It has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor but the real speed boost comes from the “ultrafast” LTE Cat 4 connectivity, which Huawei says will deliver up to 150Mbps download speeds.
However, as Matt Warman points out, the speed boost for LTE is not that simple in the real world:
It’s the world’s fastest phone because it can use Huawei’s networking expertise to connect to 4G networks better than its rivals. But networks are already throttling back bandwidth, so it’s a fast in theory rather than actually a product that will make a difference in practice.
12.17 It’s not just Benedict Evans who thinks Motorola is having a hard time at MWC this year. Here’s mobile blogger Eric Zeman:
12.10 Numbers out today from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech show that Windows Phone has increased its market share in Britain by 240 per cent, year-on-year. Admittedly, it’s coming from a low base – Windows Phone users now make up six per cent of the British smartphone market, compared with 2.4 per cent the year before.
And where are the new users coming from? According to the data:
26% switched from Symbian
17% switched from Android
6% switched from BlackBerry
2% switched from iPhone
47% were first-time smartphone buyers.
12.04 More from Joe Jenkins, who has been keeping an eye out for scantily clad women – in the name of journalism, obviously:
I can report the first sighting of the trade fair’s obligatory ‘Booth Babes’: at least a dozen, smiley and near-identical blonde women in tight, fluorescent green t-shirts marching purposefully through a throng of middle aged men. Matt Warman’s excellent article from the Consumer Electronics Show in La Vegas highlighted the anachronism of young women hired by exhibitors as decorative additions to their dreary product stands. Should we boycott these exhibitors? Probably not. But I’ll keep you posted on the most gratuitous offenders.
11.43 Analyst Benedict Evans has been exploring the trade show floor:
11.29 Reaction to Nokia’s announcements (see 10.45, below) from Forrester analyst Thomas Husson:
Nokia’s announcements today mark a new milestone in executing its smartphone strategy and bringing Windows Phone to low-end smartphones with the launch of the Lumia 520 and 720 devices. For now, Nokias has only sold 14 million Lumia devices so far – not enough to establish Windows Phone 8 as the third ecosystem. More challenging for Nokia is to capture high-end market share – in the light of the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement.
11.11 Possibly the biggest mobile story this morning is not about MWC at all. Samsung has chosen today to invite media and analysts to attend a launch event in New York on March 14th. The invite includes the tagline “come and meet the next Galaxy” as well as the phrase “ready 4 the show”, leaving little doubt that the Korean firm will announce the Galaxy S4 but the decision to release the invite this morning is significant too, as Matt Warman says:
The traditional tactic of spoiling everyone else’s party by announcing you’ll be having a better one has previously been adopted by Apple and it shows the scale that Samsung has now reached.
10.56 Joe Jenkins, our Mobile Editor, reports that not all eyes in Barcelona are fixed on new phone and tablet launches at MWC.
Overheard: one MWC attendee from the UK in baggage collection at Barcelona airport mentioning nonchalantly that he has a mere 15 tickets for Barca v Real Madrid tomorrow night. Jealous, me? While the city’s taxi drivers are delighted with the influx of up to 70,000 extra punters, they talk only of the Cop del Rey semi-final. The consensus? 2-0 to Barca. I suspect that those lucky enough to have tickets to the city’s other main event this week will have to summon up great reserves of energy to take their seats in the high-banked Camp Nou at the end of another long day. The sheer size of the Fira Gran Via’s eight convention halls, a total of 240,000 sq metres, will test everyone’s endurance.
10.45 As well as smartphones Nokia also announced two new ‘feature’ phones. The Nokia 301 is, the company says, a “high-performing, classic 3G phone”. The Nokia 105 will cost just 15 Euros and will last up to 35 days on a single charge.
10.15 Nokia tends to announce its flagship devices at its own events these days but the Finnish firm did have some new handsets to show off at MWC this morning. The company unveiled two new Windows 8 smartphones, the Lumia 520 and the Lumia 720.
The 520 is the company’s cheapest Windows 8 handset and has a four-inch display, a 1GHz dual-core processor and 8GB of storage. The 720 is a mid-range device, offering a 4.3-inch display, 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB RAM. Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive, said:
While some competitors have tried to replicate our tech at the top end we’ve expanded it. Adding it to the mid and low end. Today we are bringing elements of our Lumia handsets to our lower end devices.
10.00 At CES last month Sony announced the Xperia Z smartphone, an impressive handset that, among other things, can happily survive being dunked in water. Today, the company has followed it up with the Xperia Z tablet, which is waterproof too.
Now you can safely enjoy The Unbiased Blog in the bath. Here’s Matt Warman again:
So yes, the software is just what you’d expect – it’s Android with some of Sony’s entertainment apps, augmented with a remote control and an easy ability to put media onto a TV, of any brand. Sony says that in large part it expects the tablet to be used within the home, either as a companion device or as an additional screen. That’s why it’s concentrated on excellent graphics, thanks to a quadcore Snapdragon S4 processor, and that waterproof and dustproof function. The 8MP camera is decent, but it’s as much about being used for Skype as it is about taking pictures. Implicitly, too, Sony is acknowledging that there still aren’t enough Google tablet apps.
MWC, dominated by Google, will set the tone for an industry that is maturing: in previous years, the search giant had a stand so huge it even featured a helter-skelter to get from top to bottom, and offered a permanent stream of smoothies and ice creams. This year, the company is so dominant in mobile phones it’s not even bothering with a stand at all. It’s key to everybody else’s displays, at no expense to itself.
09.30 Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of Mobile World Congress, the annual trade show for the mobile industry, which begins today in Barcelona. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the four-day show to see the latest gadgets from the likes of Nokia, Sony and rising Chinese firm Huawei.
However, the event has now grown to such a size that the biggest companies prefer to make their announcements at their own events, to ensure that they are not lost in the noise. Samsung and Apple, the top two mobile manufacturers in the world, both announce their flagship handsets at their own events and even smaller rivals, like HTC and BlackBerry, have chosen to unveil their new devices separately, rather than at MWC.

Source: The Telegraph

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