While the Consumer Electronics Show grabs all the headlines here in the U.S., the most important mobile technology show of the year takes place in Barcelona, Spain during the second week of February. From February 14th to 17th, the world’s leading smart phone and tablet makers will gather at Mobile World Congress to unveil new devices, software, and enabling technologies. With more than two weeks to go before we hit the ground in Spain, we already have some idea of what to expect.
Here’s what we expect (hope) to see at Mobile World Congress 2011:
- LG’s Glasses-Free 3D Phone: This week, LG hinted that it will unveil the LG Optimus 3D, complete with a glasses-free 3D screen. We wonder if they’ll be the only ones.
- Xperia Play/PlayStation Phone in the Flesh: Sony Ericsson is holding a huge press event at the show and they’ve already let Engadget play with the gaming-oriented Xperia Play handset. If Sony doesn’t show this thing officially at MWC, we’ll eat our hats. We also wonder if the Sony is the only one targeting phone gamers.
- The Facebook Phone: Have you heard that Facebook is coming out with its own branded Android phone? So have we: over and over and over again. Since the rumor just won’t die, we wouldn’t be too surprised if we saw this device at MWC, but we won’t hold our breath either.
- The First MeeGo Phone: We’ve been hearing about MeeGo, a new mobile OS backed by Nokia and Intel, for nearly a year now, but the rumor is that we’ll finally get to see the platform running on a handset.
- A Beehive Full of Honeycomb Tablets: We saw the Motorola Xoom running Android 3.0 at CES, but with the launch of Google’s next OS rumored for March or April, we expect to see a lot more devices with Honeycomb. Of course, Google (which does not exhibit at trade shows) could always prevent vendors from demoing their wares with a beta version of Honeycomb on them. We hope not; we’re sick of seeing Android 2.2 on slates.
- Windows Phone 7 Updates: Microsoft has promised a software update for early this year that will bring cut and paste functionality, but we’re assuming any update will bring more features to the table than that. We also hope to learn more about new devices with beefed up specs, including those with 4G support. That earlier Snapdragon processor running all today’s WP7 devices is getting long in the tooth.
- A Final Version of the BlackBerry PlayBook: We already saw a close-to-final version of the PlayBook at CES so we wouldn’t be surprised if a completely final version is shown at MWC.
- Wireless Streaming from a Tablet or Phone: Back at IDF in September, Intel said it was working to port its WiDi technology to tablets, and we’ve already heard from the WHDI folks that they are working to bring their wireless tech to slates and phones. Could this be the show where we finally see a wireless video being played from a mobile device?
- New Intel Mobile Processors: At CES, we saw a couple of Windows tablets with prerelease versions of Intel’s upcoming low-power Oak Trail CPU, including the Viliv X70. However, we haven’t seen or heard a lot about devices based on Moorestown (aka Atom Z600 series), the low-power platform that only works in Android and Meego OSes. Could this be the show where Intel officially releases Oak Trail and shows some new devices with Moorestown? We can hope.
- Quad-Core Mobile Processors: We’re just now starting to see dual-core designs from Nvidia and Qualcomm hit the market, but it sounds like quad core is just around the corner. We wouldn’t be surprised to see quad-core Tegra or Snapdragon CPUs announced, though we’re not sure about demos.