Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is one of the biggest weeks of the year for Android manufacturers as it gives them a chance to showcase their latest and greatest smartphones.
With this year’s event taking place 4 months after the release of the iPhone X, Android manufacturers are doing everything in the books to try to steal Apple’s thunder – mainly by trying to “out do” the notch design of the iPhone X.
But in my opinion, these solutions don’t do much other than validate that Apple’s decision to take the notch approach was the correct one …
It’s Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, which means most of Apple’s competitors are unveiling their upcoming smartphone lineups that will inevitably compete with Apple’s own 2016 lineup.
But while we usually have to wait until the fall for a new iPhone from Apple, this year is different in that Apple’s event planned for early next month will likely see it unveil the much anticipated iPhone 5se, a rare non-flagship and mid-year iPhone upgrade that will be a low to mid-tier smartphone competitor at pricing that will take over the current iPhone 5s lineup around $450 off contract.
Among the announcements: Samsung has officially announced its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones — both with a similar premium metal and glass design as previous generations but with upgraded internals — while LG showed off its all-new metal modular design for its new flagship LG G5. Also on show this week is a new smartphone flagship from Acer that offers an impressive 1TB of hybrid local/cloud storage, HTC’s One X9, and a trio of Xperia X smartphones from Sony, two with high camera specs including predictive focus.
As Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona, Samsung and HTC have both unveiled their respective 2015 flagship devices. First off, HTC this morning unveiled the One M9. The device features a Snapdragon 810 processor under-the-hood with a 2,840mAh battery to go with it. HTC infamously ditched Megapixels with its One M8 flagship, but this time around, the company is touting that the One M9 feature a 20MP rear-facing shooter with a f/2.2, 27.8mm sapphire lens and 4k video recording.
Visually, the One M9 looks almost identical to its predecessor…
The Global Mobile Awards today revealed their verdicts on their annual mobile device awards. As usual, like all industry conferences, Apple did not attend MWC. Regardless, in their absence, they were still given the ‘Best Mobile Tablet’ award for the iPad Air.
Just about everyone in the tech industry is talking about the $19B Facebook/Whatsapp deal, so what better time to announce new features coming soon to the service. TechCrunch reports that WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced at Mobile World Congress today that the app will gain voice calling functionality sometime in Q2 of this year:
“We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it,” he said. “We will focus on simplicity.” Voice will come to Android and iOS first and then following on some Nokia and BlackBerry phones, he added.
The report adds that WhatsApp will also soon be working with some carrier partners:
While WhatsApp, as an OTT service, may appear like one of the companies that is attacking carriers, it is also working with them. The first partnership will be with e-plus to offer special tariffs to access the app, Koum said today. Interestingly, disrupting the current mobile communications economy has put WhatsApp right back into the kinds of services that built out that economy in the first place — in today’s case, voice.
Facebook of course already offers voice calling in some countries, but it’s unclear if the new WhatsApp feature will be integrated with the Facebook voice features. WhatsApp already offers users the ability to send short recorded voice messages as pictured above).
Despite the plans for new features, Koum reiterated that, “There are no planned changes and we will continue to do what we set out to do, even after the acquisition closes.” That, he said, includes “no marketing.”
- The fingerprint sensor is said to be embedded in the home button
If a report by SamMobile is correct, Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy S5 won’t just have a similar name to the iPhone 5s, it will also have a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. The S5 is expected to be officially announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 24th February, replacing the Galaxy S4, though it may not go on sale until March or April.
It had earlier been rumored that the S5 would have iris recognition, but a KGI Research document pointed instead to a fingerprint sensor, which SamMobile claims to be able to confirm via sources inside Samsung.
We are finally confirming that Samsung’s upcoming flagship device, the Galaxy S5, will be equipped with a fingerprint sensor […]
Samsung hasn’t opted for on-screen buttons and is still using physical buttons, like it has been using in the past on all of its flagship devices. The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly …
From SamMobile‘s description, the fingerprint technology appears to be less sophisticated than Touch ID, requiring users to pull their finger across the button rather than the one-touch system offered by the iPhone 5s. The ‘swipe across’ type of fingerprint scanner dates back many years.
Samsung is today officially unveiling its “Samsung Wallet” mobile app solution, and it is quickly gaining attention for similarities to Apple’s iOS 6 ticket, card, and coupon solution known as Passbook. For those familiar with Apple’s app, Samsung Wallet appears to work much the same way. The app will allow users to store event tickets, membership cards, coupons, and boarding passes in one central app. From there, users will be able to present the digital passes. Companies supporting the standard can also scan a barcode included for each digital ticket.
We have heard a lot about HTC’s upcoming M7 smartphone expected to replace the company’s One X line in recent weeks. The rumored 4.7-inch device has some pretty impressive specs, including “several industry firsts,” according to recent reports. However, it certainly doesn’t have an industry-first design, if this new leaked image from UnwiredView is legit, and I think Apple might agree.
The report quoted a “trusted source” and claimed the image above is clipped from “a short animation clip instructing new owners on first-time SIM card installation” for the M7. It’s likely we’ll get our first real look at M7 next month during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
IDG and GSMA Mobile World Congress are coming together to bring an Apple mobile presence to the yearly parade of mobile devices in Barcelona held every February. Just like Macworld in San Francisco, this one won’t have an official Apple presence, but Macworld will be on hand to shepherd mobile apps developers and accessory makers who want to showcase their wares on the world stage.
We’ve always wanted an excuse to go to Barcelona in February! Full press release below: