Biggest MWC Handset Launches So Far: Galaxy Note 8 + More

The coolest smartphone party of the year kicked off in Barcelona over the weekend,  unveiling some of the most exciting mobile devices to come out this year — and to think, 2013 is only beginning!  Here are the top devices that will rock your world in 2013:

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 & S IV

Looking to address those who are torn between the 5-inch Galaxy Note 2 and 10.1-inch Note, Samsung releases Samsung Galaxy Note 8 that runs Android Jelly Bean at MWC.  This is an anticipated release following the success of iPad Mini and Nexus 7. It will feature multi-window app support and will come with an S-Pen stylus.

There’s also the official news of Samsung’s Galaxy S IV debut in the US, where demand for the South Korean manufacturer’s latest flagship smartphone is high. The timing is great for Samsung, as the Apple frenemy takes on the iPhone 5, but bad for other rivals like HTC, which preempted Samsung’s news with the launch of a new flagship phone all its own, the HTC One.

Samsung’s MWC news highlights the diversifying strategies behind mobile phone makers, particularly between Samsung and Apple, which are competing in the smartphone market despite a long-standing supplier relationship.  Here’s contributing editor John Casaretto on the subject, who appeared on this morning’s NewsDesk show with Kristin Feledy.


Huawei’s Ascend P2

With a quad-core processor that runs at 1.5GHz, Huawei claims that Ascend P2 is the fastest smartphone in the world. Being the fastest is an assertion that Huawei loves to make, as with the case of its D Quad smartphones from last year. The Ascend P2 has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2 megapixel front camera, and comes with a 16GB storage and 1GB RAM. It is 8.4 millimeters thin, with a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 infinity edge display which is by far the only flagship smartphone released this year without a 1080p screen. Nevertheless, the new device is sleek, slim, and very light.

Alcatel Idol X and One Touch Fire

The former is a high-end smartphone and is the company’s flagship device, while the other is its so-so counterpart to address the low-end market.

Idol X has a 1080p display and 5-inch screen, and is only 7.1mm thick with a 2.4mm bezel around the display. This makes the Idol X appear smaller for a phone with such large display. The specs of the phone will slightly vary in different countries: it’s either one or two SIM card slots, and an 8- or 11-megapixel camera. It runs on Android 4.2.1, which Alcatel skinned a bit but it’s mostly just redesigning the icons. Nothing major.

One Touch Fire, on the other hand, has a 3.5-inch screen and runs the newly-released Firefox OS. It’s a small phone that’s capable only of basic tasks.

Lumia 720

Known for its color and Metro UI, Lumia 720 retains the air of the original Lumia that runs Windows 8, only that its sexier and lighter this time. However, the 4.3-inch WVGA screen and 720p display is a bit disappointing.

HP Slate 7 and Lenovo’s New tablets

HP’s back in the game with a new 7-inch tablet that runs Android instead of webOS.  It has a 1.6GHz Arm Coretex A9 processor (whose manufacturer HP refuses to reveal), a 1024 x 600 LCD display and 1GB of RAM. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about HP’s new release.

To compete with HP’s budget tablet, Lenovo announced 3 new Android tablets: 7-inch A3000, 10-inch S6000, and 7-inch A1000, which is the cheaper version of A3000.

Other Mobile Announcements Outside of MWC

While Mobile Congress is a prime audience for launching new handsets, some of the more established companies do not wish to share the limelight with anyone, especially rivals. HTC announced their new smartphone ahead of MWC, but its wish of ever getting back on top of the smartphone market is crushed by Samsung’s confirmation of Galaxy SIV’s release this year.