Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and Huawei Ascend P2 kick off MWC 2013

Mobile World Congress 2013 got underway yesterday in sunny Barcelona, and already a whole bunch of goodies have been unveiled.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
3 min read

Phone fans assemble! Mobile World Congress 2013 got underway yesterday in sunny Barcelona, and already a whole bunch of goodies have been unveiled.

Samsung got the fiesta off to a flying start by lifting the lid on the Galaxy Note 8, an Android tablet to rival Apple's iPad mini. It'll launch with Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean on board and proudly packs a 1.6GHz quad-core chip with 2GB of RAM.

With an SD card slot, a home button, and S-Pen stylus support, the Note 8 offers a level of functionality the iPad can't match, but it's too early to say whether that will guarantee it fame and glory. Expect this tiny tablet to appear worldwide sometime in the second quarter of 2013. Check it out in the video below.

Tech journalists woke from their early afternoon siesta to discover that Huawei had decided to test their post-nap wits by announcing its only device of the trade show before its scheduled press conference. The Ascend P2 is a quad-core phone with a Full HD 4.3-inch display. Huawei claims it's speedier than the iPhone 5 and packs a better battery than the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The P2 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is expected to go on sale in Europe in the middle of 2013 for €399, or around £400 once we've added VAT. With this kind of high-end pricing, it looks as though Huawei is attempting to try and take on the Android big guns. It's even promised another phone in the summer that will be "much more competitive and very disruptive". Menacing.

The Alcatel One Touch Fire is the first device to ignite with Firefox OS on board. The chunky 3.5-inch phone comes splattered in Firefox's signature orange and is likely aimed at the budget end of the smart phone market, with only a single-core 1GHz processor and a 3.2-megapixel camera on board. Expect to see this flame-coloured phone out and about in the wild no earlier than June.

In the spirit of 'if at first you don't succeed...' HP announced it was trying its hand once more in the consumer tablet market, this time picking Android as its OS of choice. The Slate 7 is a 7-inch Google Nexus 7 challenger running 4.1 Jelly Bean. It's priced at a keen $169 (£111), although expect it to cost significantly more than that when it shows its face in Blighty, sometime after April this year.

HP also announced that it will be releasing a series of Android smart phones in the near future.

Don't forget we're out in Barcelona all week, bringing you previews, hands-on photos and videos, not to mention live blogs from all the major press conferences. Nokia kicks things off this morning, and join us later today at 12.30pm to discover what Asus' 'Metallic Miracle' teaser trailer was all about, and at 3pm to find out what ZTE is launching.

Which product are you most impressed with so far? What are you most excited to see? Scroll your way down to the comments or swipe across to our Facebook to join in the phone-focused MWC debate.