Samsung, Huawei, and Mozilla get Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona off to a flying start.
Katie CollinsSenior 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.
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 onboard 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.
Watch this: The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 adds new features to its 8-inch design
Tech journalists woke from their early afternoon siesta to discover that Huawei had decided to test its 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 will only be available online in the U.S., rather than through carriers, but is expected to go on sale more widely in Europe. It should be available in the middle of 2013 for around 399 euros or $525. 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.
Watch this: Huawei's Ascend P2 shows off its Android styling in hands-on video
The Alcatel One Touch Fire is the first device to ignite with Firefox OS onboard. The chunky 3.5-inch phone comes splattered in Firefox's signature orange and is likely aimed at the budget end of the smartphone market, with only a single-core 1GHz processor and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Expect to see this flame-colored phone out and about in the wild no earlier than June.
Watch this: Alcatel's Firefox OS phone
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.
HP also promised that it will be releasing a series of Android smartphones in the near future.