What mattered at Mobile World Congress, day 2: BlackBerry, Samsung's Galactic dominance, and plucky Kazam
All the latest from Barcelona for your phone-loving convenience, rounded up in one handy digest.
BARCELONA, Spain -- Hard to believe it's only day 2 of Mobile World Congress, which already feels like it's been going on for months. The CNET team is now fluent in Catalan, cannot remember any food that isn't tapas, and has renounced all other religions for that of Lionel Messi.
With most of the main announcements out of the way, it's time for some of the smaller companies to share the limelight. Speaking of which...
BlackBerry unveils Z3 and Q20
Poor . Where once it would have merited a leading spot at MWC, the Canadian company is rather low-key here in Catalonia this year.
Give it credit -- it's not giving up on Qwerty phones. The
Adventures in Tech explains Samsung's Galactic dominance
But how did the Korean company become so popular? Why does everyone want to cover its new gadgets? Our own Luke Westaway outlines his theory in today's new episode of Adventures in Tech, which includes a frankly glorious animation of every Galaxy product ever.
HTC exec Jack Yang on why it's back in the midrange game
We spoke to HTC's South Asia president Jack Yang, one of the new faces at HTC who are steering the company back towards providing better midrange handsets -- like the new
Part of that may include the return of the SD card slot. "Expandability is the key to our consumers," he teased, meaning the ability to swap music and video between phones.
Kazam! The little company with big ideas unveils the octo-core Tornado 2
No one had heard of Kazam at MWC 2013, because it didn't yet exist. Formed in May last year by two former HTC execs, the UK-based company is launching its second range of phones this week, and it's flogging them throughout Europe.
Its flagship is the
Kazam said it was aiming for a 250 Euro price for the Tornado 2, which would be incredible value for this spec. It's not a bad-looking phone either -- rather reminiscent of the matte-black Nexus 5 -- and the company will replace the screen if you break it within a year. Definitely one to watch.
Deeper dives on the Galaxy S5
CNET's Jessica Dolcourt put together more thoughts on the S5's new features, including the and the .
Brilliantly, the heart-rate monitor uses the camera flash -- put your finger over it and it pulses light to see how fast your blood is flowing past! (That's what counts as excitement this far into a trade show.)
The fingerprint scanner, meanwhile, is along the bottom of the screen. Swipe across the sensitive bit several times and it'll remember that pinkie. You can use it towhen you're buying stuff online, which sounds genuinely handy.
Incidentally, Shara Tibken found out that the Galaxy Fit doesn't run Android or Tizen, instead using an incredibly basic real-time operating system. This'll help its battery life last for days, but means it can't publish an SDK, according to Samsung's senior VP of product and technology, who rejoices in the name Seshu Madhavapeddy.
Sony logs your life with the, er, Lifelog
Not an ancient mystical wooden relic, the Lifelog is in fact Sony's new always-on camera. Just a concept at the moment, the Lifelog takes a snap when you move, creating a photographical record of your entire day.
Sony reckons in the future it'll work in concert with its
Hands-on with ZTE's Firefox phones
We caught up with ZTE for a look at its new Open mobiles running the supersimple Firefox OS. They're both cheap and cheerful and are aimed at developing countries where 3G is just taking off.
Tizen takes on more
A year after it made its first appearance, Tizen is back at Mobile World Congress for more. It's already running on Samsung's
For example, Tizen is powering one of Samsung's cameras, the NX300M, and it will be behind the software of next-generation in-car entertainment services in Land Rover cars, among others. And what about the Tizen-based phones that we've been promised? Well, they're supposed to debut later this year (that's all we know). What's more, the OS could appear in connected home technology like fridges to thermostats.
Ubuntu is up
Speaking of mobile OSes, Rich Trenholm talked with Canonical, the British company that's developing Ubuntu. Canonical doesn't have production-ready models yet, but Rich handled the
More to come!
That's it from day 2 of Mobile World Congress. Come back tomorrow for even more mobile goodness from Barcelona.