Mobile World Congress Day 1: What you missed

The first day of the Mobile World Congress smartphone expo in Barcelona, Spain, didn't disappoint, with plenty of newly announced superphones raising the technology bar.

HTC One X
The HTC One X: HTC's entry in the quad-core smartphone arms race. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

BARCELONA, Spain--Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest technology trade shows on the planet. Focusing solely on mobile phones, it's also a smartphone-lover's dream. So far the first day of the MWC definitely delivered.

The two overarching themes of the day: the ramp-up to phones with more powerful quad-core processors, and the continued march toward Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). In other words: Android phones are getting better hardware and newer software. Of the three major phone makers to unveil products, only one didn't jump on the quad-core bandwagon.

Huawei
The first official announcement of the day was from Huawei Chairman Richard Yu, who unveiled the Ascend D series of smartphones. Headlining the new line is the Ascend D Quad , which boasts a quad-core chip built not by Nvidia but by Huawei itself. Other devices in the lineup are the Ascend Quad XL and Ascend D1; both are mere dual-core phones, but they will run the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" operating system.

LG
LG is also talking up a new quad-core phone, the LG Optimus 4X HD , which uses a veritable Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and massive 4.7-inch HD display. The company confirmed plans for another device, the Optimus Vu , that is designed to go head-to-head against the Samsung Galaxy Note--complete with a stylus as well.

Samsung
Not to be outdone, Samsung showcased its new Samsung Galaxy Beam , which actually rocks an internal projector. The company also indicated that its new Galaxy Tab 2 line of Android 4.0 tablets will be available in a 10-inch version as well as the previously announced 7-incher . (Expect more Samsung product news later this week.)

The Galaxy Beam boasts a built-in pico projector. jdolcourt/CNET

HTC
HTC dropped plans for a quad-core phone of its own, the HTC One X , plus the less robust One S and One V . Look for the One S to arrive on T-Mobile's U.S. network, while the One X will hit AT&T--unfortunately for American Android fans, it will be a less powerful dual-core version , however. Thankfully, all three are expected to run Android 4.0 as well.

Sony
Sony is relaunching its cell phone brand, having finally completed its divorce from Ericsson . But the first Sony-only products felt a bit underwhelming: the Xperia P and Xperia U phones are powered by dual-core (not quad-core) chips and run outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread software. (Sony is promising upgrades to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the second quarter of 2012.) That said, the Xperia P and Xperia U are crafted with the same deliciously stylish industrial design first flaunted by the Sony Xperia S .

Be sure to check back as the smartphone and tablet news from Mobile World Congress continues to roll out this week.

 

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