Though last month's CES offered plenty of mobile news, committed wireless watchers know that the annual Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona is the smartphone and tablet jackpot.
This year, the fun begins on February 27 with a full afternoon of press conferences coming the day before. And though a possible transit strike is threatening to muck up the logistics of an already logistically challenged event, we're already reveling in a flood of rumors as to what devices might make their debut. Yes, some of this gossip may not pan out, but you can bet that the four days on the Mediterranean will be full. Now follow along as we round up the rumors from the major players.
The Taiwanese giant is holding a formal event to introduce up to four new devices. The HTC Quattro should (naturally) be a quad-core tablet with 1GB RAM and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the midrange HTC Primo should offer a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass, the HTC Ville may bring a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor and Ice Cream Sandwich, and the HTC Edge "superphone" should land with a quad-core processor and a 4.7-inch display. CNET's Jessica Dolcourt also wonders if we'll see a European version of the HTC Titan II.
Our friends at Lucky Goldstar (did you know that's what LG stands for?) have yet to schedule a press conference (one is promised), but look for it to spill a couple of new devices at least. Just today the company started dropping hints about an LG Optimus Vu. The internal specs of the Android handset aren't too out of the ordinary (Gingerbread anyone?), but it's a different story on the outside. We should get a 5-inch screen (1024x768-pixel) with an unorthodox 4:3 aspect ratio.
On the other hand, perhaps LG will go another Android route. The LG-P700 and LG-P880 also promise interesting displays with the former claiming a 640x480-pixel resolution and the latter a 4.7-inch screen. Then again, the company might release a Windows Phone 7 device called the LG Miracle. CNET's Lynn La wasn't impressed by the concept photos, and the features aren't mind-blowing either, but the the possibility of NFC is promising.
LG's crosstown rival has delayed the Galaxy III until after the show, but rumors have surfaced of a Galaxy S Plus and a faster Galaxy Nexus. Outside of phones, the company may broaden the Galaxy Tab line by introducing a 2GHz device with an 11.6-inch screen and a second tablet with a quad-core Ice Cream Sandwich experience. Sammy will not hold a formal press event in Barcelona, but it has confirmed that new devices of some kind are on the way.
Two years after it first unveiled Windows Phone 7 to the world at the 2010 event, Microsoft will host a Windows 8 preview on Wednesday, February 29. As CNET's Jay Greene wrote this morning the OS will focus on tablets and PCs (so in other words, no Windows Phone 8), but we will see the company's new Metro interface.
After a very quiet show in 2011, Nokia will return to Barcelona in force. The company has scheduled a press conference where (surprise, surprise) it will roll out Windows Phone 7 handsets. Details are few at this point, but Jessica is banking on at least one high-end device. It may not be the rumored Lumia 910, but the Mobile World Congress will be a crucial platform for Nokia to demonstrate its Windows Phone ambitions to the world.
Strangely, the Sony rumors have been few and far between. Mobile World Congress has always been a huge venue for the company so it will show something. All we know at the moment is that Sony will hold a press event on Sunday, February 26 and that it has filed a trademark application for an "Xperia Sola" name.
We'll continue to track rumors as they trickle in over the next three weeks. And when the Mobile World Congress kicks off the last weekend of this month, a big CNET team will be on the ground in Barcelona to bring you all the news.