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Mobile World Congress kicks offHTC and Sony focus on family values, Samsung is beaming with smartphone innovation, and Isis gears up to be a strong mobile payment player.
It's Monday February 27th, 2012. I'm Virgie Carey on cnet.com and it's time to get loaded. This week will be jam packed with smart phone and tablet news as Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest smart phone trade shows takes place in Barcelona, Spain. Before you buy a new smart phone, this is the week you pay attention to us coming down the line throughout the year. The take away so far, the carriers are lumping phones into similar families all with hard to remember one letter names. HTC introduced 3 smart phones under the same umbrella name, the HTC One, there is the One X, the One S, and the One V, all with the latest Android operating system and all focused to shine around the camera, music and HTC Sync interface. The new HTC Sync 4.0 is a more toned-down version than the previous HTC Sync. The One family also had a music hub that pulls in all music apps into Beats audio. The camera app has new filters and scene modes along with better panoramic shots. There's no pricing nor availability yet but it's expected the One family will be released within the next 2 months. AT&T will sell the HTC One X and the One S is coming to T-Mobile. Sony has it's own family smart phones, it's calling Xperia NXT smart phones, the Xperia P and the Xperia U which showings will already announced Xperia S. The S is the high end of the product suite, with the P and the U are more of the lower end. Not sure what their (branding team?) was thinking when they named them P,U but now that NXT line has products for every price point, the Xperia key big feature is called white magic technology which makes the 4-inch screen easy to view in direct sunlight. No word on cost or when they will hit the US market but the one phone that is really selling out is the Samsung Galaxy Beam which has a built-in projector at the top. Cnet editors say that projections look good at first glance in a dark room. It can mirror anything on a phone screen but Samsung seems to be targeting this to younger consumers who want to share photos and videos. No word on pricing and availability but expect to land sometime in the 2nd quarter. In Mobile Payment News, Isis, the competitor to Google Wallet is beefing up by adding more partners. Isis formed an alliance with mobile carriers Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile and will allow debit and credit card from Barclaycard, Capital One and Chase. Isis already is working with Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover. As Isis racks up the partners, Google Wallet currently only works with Master Card and one phone, the Sprint Nexus S. Isis will begin testing payment in the middle of the year and starting today, Windows Phone users can now use Skype, well, a beta version of Skype. 6 Windows Phones can test drive the Skype app which allows for free video and audio calls to other Skype users. Those are your headlines for today. I'm Virgie Carey for cnet.com and you just been loaded