MWC 2013 preview – anything and everything is possible

February 20, 2013
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I don’t want to sound like an old man caught up in the past, but the mobile tech world used to be so simple back in the day. You had your January CES, your February MWC and that was basically all you needed to watch for in the first half of any given year to keep up with the new trends.

Everyone that was someone had a booth at one of the two events (or both) and all the bombs were dropped in Vegas and Barcelona. But now Samsung and HTC have special events where they bring their new guns to light, as do other important players in the industry.

And yet last month’s CES was more exciting than ever, despite wary predictions. Sammy and HTC kept everything important on the down low, but Sony stepped up to the plate. Motorola had absolutely zilch to show off, but ZTE and Huawei nearly stole the show. LG went missing, but NVIDIA impressed everybody.

You see, it’s sort of like a cosmic balance. Which we hope won’t be shattered next week, during MWC. Predictions are again cautious, but that’s what surprises are for.

The Barcelona show is to take place between February 25 and 28, and, based on preceding rumors and leaks, this is what we expect to see on stage:

Samsung

Even if Sammy made its MWC intentions very clear, we can only start our preview with the reigning Android kings. The chances of seeing the GS4 introduced during MWC are smaller than seeing a meteor hit Russia in broad daylight… oh wait. Uhm, you get the point.

note8_1

Still, Samsung can’t ignore the show altogether. The Galaxy Note 8.0 and several third-gen Galaxy Tabs are just some of the gadgets that could get an intro early next week. Meanwhile, it’s been rather quiet on the Tizen front lately, but the first phone running the new OS is coming sooner or later (bummer, we know).

Last, but not least, there’s that mystery Galaxy Watch we still can’t wrap our heads around. Chances are it doesn’t exist at all, but people have said the same about aliens in the past.

HTC

So what do you think about the One now that it’s out? Is it quietly brilliant or brilliantly brilliant? I’m still on the fence about it, but one thing I just can’t see is this fellow being better than Samsung’s upcoming S4.

htc-one

Anyhoo, now that the One is official, what could HTC be bringing at MWC? Not much. Perhaps a mid-range/low-end M4/G2 duo. There’s also the mystery tablet that was allegedly teased a couple of days ago, but we were probably wrong about that. Or maybe not. Aliens, remember?

Sony

We don’t expect much from Sony either, but the Xperia makers do have a solid excuse for missing out on MWC. They were after all the stars of CES. The Z phone and Tablet Z should be on display for additional hype-building, but anything new? Probably not, although we heard word about a mid-range Xperia SP and an entry-level L a while ago.

LG

Sony’s CES torch has to be passed to someone and the Optimus makers seem like the strongest candidates. The G Pro is going to be the pack leader, no doubt about that, but it won’t surprise anyone. Meanwhile, the mysterious new F-Series and the likely follow-up to last year’s Vu and Vu 2 could be the surprises. But will they be pleasant surprises? Hard to say after all those vague teasers.

LG teaser

As for the second-gen Optimus L3, L5 and L7, they don’t look like serious upgrades, but maybe they’ll be accompanied by a more impressive L9 II.

Asus

We’ve given up on the idea of seeing a solid high-end smartphone offering from Asus anytime soon, but when it comes to tablets and crazy hybrids Jonney Shih is our guy. The Fonepad tab with calling facilities looks pretty good in theory, albeit a tad pricey.

asus-conference-mwc

The second tablet likely to be brought in Catalonia by Asus is the slightly underwhelming Memo Pad Smart. Third and last, we might also see a new Transformer Pad Infinity. Or maybe an 8-inch Infinity. Or something like that.

HP

Yes, HP, as in Hewlett-Packard. Or, as some of you might know them, the guys behind the webOS and TouchPad disasters. Believe it or not, it seems they’re ready to get back on that horse and launch a new tablet. This time with Android. And an NVIDIA Tegra 4 CPU. As crazy as it sounds, it’s actually intriguing. Oh, well, HP is not on the official list of MWC exhibitors, so the unveiling of this crazy tab is set to remain a dream a little while longer.

Motorola

Another uber-exciting upcoming Android gadget that will likely miss out on MWC is the X Phone. We have no real reason to believe Google will jump the gun and unveil the 5-inch “unicorn” by May (if it’s even real), so why even mention it here? We told you, a-li-ens. Or, you know, just wishful thinking if aliens scare you.

Motorola X Phone

But what about something else from Moto? Like a Droid Razr M HD? Or maybe an Intel-powered phone with the new Clover Trail+ chip inside? Well, they’re not as sexy-sounding as the X, but they definitely have a better shot of becoming official during MWC.

Acer

Several new budget-friendly tabs from Acer are expected in 2013, but they’re probably not yet ready for an official showing. Meanwhile, we’re finally seeing a more focused smartphone effort from the company, so why not hope to catch a glimpse of a stronger member of the Liquid family at MWC besides the freshly unveiled E1 and Z2?

Lenovo

We would be lying if we told you we expected Lenovo to rock last month’s CES. And yet the Intel-powered K900 blew us away, especially after benchmarks. Now all we want is to see that big boy again and get some more details on pricing and availability.

lenovo-k900-front

Huawei

After rocking the Vegas stage with the Ascend D2 and Mate, you might expect Huawei to have run out of ammo for at least five or six months. And yet the Ascend P2 and P2 Mini are all but guaranteed to make an appearance during MWC. Do these guys get any sleep?

huawei ascend p2 leaked header

ZTE

Huawei’s local arch enemies were almost as busy during CES, but they do seem to be taking MWC lighter. At least on the Android front, because they are expected to be bringing a mysterious Firefox OS smartphone at the show. Who cares about that, right?

Others

The usual suspects almost always captured the spotlight in the past, but CES 2013 has marked an important shift. We can’t really know who’s going to shine before the actual shows, which, to be honest, is much more exciting.

Now, who’s going to be MWC’s Nvidia? We have no friggin’ idea! How about Barcelona’s Alcatel? Again, your guess is as good as ours. But we’ll tell you this – expect the unexpected. That’s what makes Android so special nowadays: it’s totally and utterly unpredictable.

Intel is going to showcase several unknown Clover Trail+ and Lexington-powered smartphones. Nokia could still bring an Android tablet, despite what recent reports claim. Oppo, Xiaomi and other Chinese “no-name” companies have the potential to impress and shock at the same time. In short, anything and everything is possible.

But if you want some certainties, here’s one – we’ll have the best, most thorough and epic MWC coverage on the web. That’s a promise. Darcy LaCouvee and Joshua Vergara are all packed up and ready to take Barcelona by storm. Will you be joining them?

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