We're just a couple of days away from MWC, the biggest mobile event every year. All the companies that make mobile devices will be there showing their products that should launch a few months from now. So let's see what the big players will bring to the table at MWC and in the first half of 2012.
HTC is willing to be more flexible in 2012, and they're finally going to stop using Qualcomm-only chips, and will give Nvidia chips a try. HTC and LG, as well as a couple other companies will be fighting over who gets to be the first one to market with a quad core Tegra 3 processor. HTC's device that will have it will be called the HTC One X (formerly known as Endeavour).
This seems like a great idea for HTC to start over with a new memorable phone brand like the "One". The Tegra 3 device will be One X, and most likely the one featuring a dual core Krait chip will be the One S. They will also show an entry level device called the One V. The One name I like, but the letter thing it sounds like they are copying LG, who was already copying Samsung. Plus, when all their phones will become "One" then the word One meaningless and becomes as generic as "HTC" in their phone names, only that it makes them longer.
HTC is rumored to also show their quad core tablet Quattro, a gaming hub, and also a streaming music service that will compete with services like Spotify. HTC is trying to find new ways to differentiate from the competition, so this is why they've bought shares into OnLive, Dr. Dre Beats Audio, and now this. They don't want to rely only on a skin to differentiate, but it's not yet clear whether this strategy will pay off.
Samsung may not make a big splash at MWC this year, probably because they will want to make their own events later in the spring where they will announce the Galaxy S3 and their next generation tablet. But Samsung is a very big company, and they have a lot of new, less important products to offer such as: Galaxy S Advance, Galaxy Mini 2, Galaxy Ace 2, Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy Tab 7.7, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus N, Galaxy Ace Duos, Galaxy Y Duos, Galaxy Y Duos Pro.
We might also hear more about the Galaxy Note 10.1 and 7.0. Samsung seems to want to try a whole slew of different device sizes, and variations of their products. I'm not sure this is such a smart strategy considering it hasn't worked so well for HTC and Motorola in 2011.
We haven't heard too many rumors about big products of Motorola, other than the Defy Mini and Motoluxe, and there might not be a whole lot of surprises, other than perhaps yet another Droid RAZR device, after they've already launched the original one, plus the MAXX version and the "Developer Edition" in Europe.
I'm not expecting very big things from Motorola until they are completely integrated into Google, which unfortunately might not be at least until the end of the year, or maybe even 2013. But once they are fully merged, I expect to see a lot of new exciting products coming from Google, and I'm not just referring to phones or tablets.
LG is starting the year strong with a full line-up of devices ranging from 3.2" to 5". The 5" LG Vu is supposed to compete with the Galaxy Note, but even though I think the Note is quite big for most people, at least it looks almost reasonable. The Vu on the other hand, with its 4:3 ratio, looks kind of silly, and even though it has a smaller display than the Note, it looks bigger.
They will also show 3 new devices L3, L5 and L7 that will have 3.2", 4" and 4.3" displays, respectively. They will also show the Optimus 3D MAX, which is their successor to the Optimus 3D in US. And last but not least, their new flagship device, formerly known as X3, but now renamed to Optimus 4X, which will have nothing else but a Tegra 3 chip, and will compete with the HTC One X for the first quad core phone to market.
Sony has just finished completely acquiring the Sony Ericsson division, so in 2012 they will try to reinvent their phones under the Sony brand. That means better design, higher quality builds, and more competitive hardware. While I don't think they will compete in hardware specs with the best of the best devices on the market, they should get awfully close so people who like their phones' design and cameras, can forgive their slightly outdated specs.
At MWC we should expect a whole range of Xperia devices, from lower end 3.5" Xperia U, to the mid-range Xperia P with a 1 Ghz processor and qHD display, and up to the dual core Xperia S and probably a new generation of Xperia Play. If there's any device that Sony wants to make competitive spec wise, it should be the Xperia Play. It would be a real shame if it still had the Snapdragon S3 in it, and instead it should have the newer dual core Krait, which although isn't a whole lot better in the graphics department, at least it has a very powerful CPU.
Huawei is a company to watch from now on. Their devices are becoming extremely competitive, not just spec wise, which some may think is the easy part, but also in design, build quality and even software wise. I happen to quite like their UI customizations on top of Android. The phones they should be showing are the Ascend P1 and P1 S, a slimmer version of the Galaxy S, and the Ascend Q1, yet another quad core device.
Android 4.0 will be on many of these devices, and it should give all the manufacturers a great start going into 2012.