A Phistful of Phones, Tablets and Phablets at MWC

With Mobile World Congress starting today in Barcelona, Spain, you can bet that there’s going to be a lot of mobility news over the next few days.

As always, some companies have already started making announcements…even before the show starts. Here’s just a smattering of what’s already hit the wire.

HTC got a drop of nearly a week on much of the rest of the competition by launching the new aluminum unibody HTC One as a launch event held in both London and New York. The phone features a 4.7-inch 1080p screen (that works out to 468 pixels per inch), comes in either silver or black, and looks just a little bit like the new Blackberry Z10. Inside the casing is a quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon processor, 32 or 64 gigs of storage, and LTE networking. It will be available later this year at Rogers, Bell, Telus and Virgin.http://www.htc.com/ca/about/newsroom/2013/2013-02-19-introducing-the-new-htc-one-a-new-perspective-on-smartphones

Samsung Galaxy Note 8
When Samsung introduced the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, some were puzzled as to why anyone would want a phone with a screen that big. Now we have the Galaxy Note 8, which comes with an 1280×800 8-inch screen. You can bet at that size that it’ll be far more comfortable to use it as a tablet replacement than as a phone, but it will have the functionality of both in some parts of the world. (In North America it’s expected to be Wi-Fi only) As with other versions of the Note, it will come with a Stylus for more accurate interaction with the screen. It will be available in Q2 of 2013, with pricing still to be determined.

HP Slate7
A couple of years ago, HP made a re-entry into the world of mobility and tablet computing with the acquisition of Palm and the introduction of a line-up of WebOS-based gear. That whole endeavour was scrapped mere months after the launch, leaving many curious as to what they’d do next. The answer is the 7-inch tablet known as the Slate7; that 7 is actually superscript, just like the 3 in the Pre3…at least some of the Palm legacy is still there, I guess. This new tablet is aimed squarely at the value-conscious buyer, with a price point of US$169.That means that the tech inside the tablet, while good, isn’t going to be bleeding edge – it comes with a 1.6 GHz dual core processor, and a 3-megapixel camera, for example. Time will tell as to whether the consumers will take to this budget Android-powered device more than they did the more expensive WebOS-powered lineup.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z
Sony has recently released a number of waterproof phones, and now it’s bringing that capability to the world of tablets with the introduction of the Xperia Tablet Z. Unlike the company’s previous tablet (which looked like a book with the cover folded back) the Tablet Z is a sleek and lightweight device that is barely larger than a typical magazine. The tablet will come with a 1920×1200-pixel screen with the Mobile Bravia engine for upscaling of lower-res content, a quad-core processor, and an 8MP / 1080p rear-facing camera. It also continues the work Sony’s been doing with NFC (branded One Tap), allowing the tablet to easily pair to the company’s other NFC-equipped gear, like speakers, headphones and televisions. And like the previous tablet, the Tablet Z also features an IR port that will allow it to be used as a universal remote. As for the waterproof angle – so long as you make sure all of the port covers are secured, you can dunk the Tablet Z into water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minute – not that you’ll be able to use the touch screen when it’s underwater, but at least you don’t have to worry if you get some water on it when you’re at the beach. It’ll be available in Q2; pricing is still to be determined.

Huawei Ascend P2
Though less well known in Canada for consumer electronics than for some recent flaps about its telecom backbone equipment, Chinese telecom giant Huawei nonetheless is making a big play with its mobility devices. The Ascend P2 is the newest handset in its lineup, with a quad-care processor and 4.7-inch 720p screen, as well as LTE networking and a 13-megapixel camera. It will be available globally in late Q2; no news for Canadian availability as of yet..

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