Mobile World Congress: Day Zero

Well, Mobile World Congress hasn’t even started and we’re already about to keel over exhausted from the sheer volume of handsets to hands-on, preview and otherwise record for your viewing pleasure.

Today saw Huawei, LG, Sony and finally HTC announce to the world what they were planning for 2012. And it definitely ended with a bang way up high above Barcelona in an old bullfighting arena where HTC officially announced its super-specced OneX phone.

But first:

Huawei went as expected and launched a quad-core Ascend; the only surprise was its name, the Ascend D Quad. Huawei is claiming it’s the world’s fastest with a four-core processor plus HD video playback and recording, but I was more interested in its enlarged battery and power management software that is meant to let you use it for up to two days without a charge.


Huawei Ascend D Quad

Battery tech isn’t particularly sexy, but with increasingly brilliant, high-clarity displays stretching over multi-cored processors for 3D, HD content, current batteries will soon not last beyond a late lunch.

LG showed off all the handsets it had officially announced – in a rather small venue that meant they were turning people away. Oh well, we’ll get into their stand on Monday when the Congress opens and get those hands on and product photos.

We started to get a little excited heading to the Sony press conference – as one of the few manufacturers that had neither leaked nor well, gone ahead and told us all about what they were launching, maybe we’d get something massive. But the upshot was instead a couple of differently priced alternatives to its flagship Xperia S , announced at CES. In fact, a specific point made was that the Xperia range now hit every ‘major operator price point’ – another way of saying you can get an Xperia phone for expensive, less expensive, and positively budget-friendly. Hit our launch story on the Xperia U and Xperia P for the lowdown. 

The apex of our conference hopping came literally at HTC, who hosted a giant conference in a circular hall perched (seemingly) precariously above a thin shaft whose sole purpose was to ferry an elevator up and down.

View from HTC press conference, MWC2012

That's the view I got from our high, high vantage point

We already knew HTC had some major news to announce judging by the leaks, and despite the element of surprise missing, I was pretty impressed by its new One ‘product family’ and the hyperspeed camera shutters.

HTC is scrapping those flamboyant names for which it had such a penchant, and simply labeling all the phones ‘One’ – as in the one phone, or one camera you’ll need. Superscripted letters – X, S, V and eventually C – refer to how highly specced the device is. Flagship One was the quad-core OneX, which also had an incredibly quick eight-megapixel camera capable of taking about 40 shots in rapidfire to get those action shots, and simply snapping the shutter in less time than it takes to blink (0.7 seconds versus your eye’s 0.8 if you were wondering).

HTC One X vs iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S or HTC One X? 

It’s about time manufacuters got onboard with the features we really want/need in a camera – it’s not about the megapixels, but instead about the right software and in the case of the OneX, its larger f/2.0 aperture in the lens. We got some hands-on photos and will have a preview written up soon.  


Still to come: Two full days of Congress, press conferences from Asus, ZTE and Nokia, as well as my one on one with HTC's marketing manager, and my detailed tour of Samsung's growing Galaxy range. Plus: wherefore art the tablets of Mobile World Congress?


Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the behind-the-scenes MWC action. You can also follow Natasha and Chris on our personal Twitter feeds, as we get increasingly hyper on coffee and taurine.

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Mobile Choice

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