Mobile World Congress 2014 is just under two weeks away, but we’ve already got a good idea of what we’ll be seeing when we land in Spain. From new flagship smartphones courtesy of Samsung and HTC to an Android-powered Nokia handset and wearables galore, MWC 2014 looks set to earn its title as the largest mobile tech show in the world. These are the five most important things we expect to see in Barcelona when the show kicks off February 23rd.
Samsung is scheduled to host its own event the first night of MWC 2014, and with a name like Unpacked 5, the company couldn’t offer a bigger hint that it will roll out the Galaxy S5 if it put the announcement in skywriting. Rumored specs for the handset have been all over the place with some saying the device will offer a 1920 x 1080 resolution display and others indicating it will have a 5.25-inch, 2,560 x 1,400 QHD Super AMOLED screen.
The S5’s processor has also been a topic of much debate. Some leaks state that the phone will feature a 64-bit Exynos 6 CPU that will rival the A7 chip found in Apple’s iPhone 5s, while others say the S5 will include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. The difference in reported processors may lend credence to reports that the S5 will come in two flavors, one with a premium metal design and one with a traditional plastic chassis. We hear the handset could also come with either a 16-MP or 20-MP rear shooter.
MWC could also see the debut of Samsung’s second-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Widely regarded as a flop due to poor sales and a largely negative critical reception, Samsung is expected to seriously up the ante with the Galaxy Gear 2. Though not much is known about the wrist-worn device, the Gear 2 will likely improve on its predecessor’s bulky design and offer compatibility across a wider range of Android devices, rather than just Samsung’s Galaxy devices like the original Gear.
In addition to the Galaxy S5 and Gear 2, Samsung may also show off its rumored Galaxy Tab 4 family of tablets, which should include 7-inch, 8-inch and 10.1-inch slates. The three Tab 4s would serve as Samsung’s entry-level series of tablets with specs to match. Each of the Tabs is expected to get quad-core processors and higher resolution displays than the prior generation Tab 3 tablets. The Tab 4s should also come loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and offer improved battery life thanks to their larger batteries.
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Samsung isn’t the only smartphone maker that could debut a new flagship device at MWC. Rumor has it HTC will launch the successor to its widely acclaimed HTC One. Codenamed the M8, the HTC One 2 or the One+ depending on which leak you want to believe, the phone is expected to sport a 5 to 5.2-inch display with either a 1080p or 2K resolution.
Inside, we’re hearing the smartphone will include 2 to 3GB of RAM and a quad-core processor, likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip. Additional specs are harder to come by, but a recent leak of what the folks at @evleaks report to be the M8’s home screen indicates that the handset will feature on-screen Android buttons rather than the physical soft-touch buttons found on its predecessor.
HTC could also show off its rumored mid-range handset, the HTC Desire 8. We’re expecting the Desire 8 to include a 5.5-inch display and 5-megapixel front camera paired with a 13-megapixel shooter out back. Leaked images show a handset with a clean buttonless design, which, if true, would go a long way in corroborating @evleaks claims that HTC’s next-gen flagship will also have on-screen navigation buttons. Of course, the Desire 8 should also come with the company’s signature front-mounted BoomSound speakers.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Gear 2 are poised to steal the show at MWC, which is likely why LG decided to undercut its Korean rival by announcing its new G Pro 2 flagship smartphone before the big event starts. The handset gets a larger 5.9-inch 1080p display with a slimmer bezel and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 3GB of RAM. The previous generation G Pro included a 5.5-inch 1080p screen and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM. The G Pro 2 also gets the same Rear Key controls found on the company’s G2 and G Flex smartphones.
The G Pro 2 is also the first handset to include LG’s new Knock Code feature. An evolution of Knock On, Knock Code lets users tap anywhere on the G Pro 2’s screen using any one of 86,837 knock combinations. LG has also loaded the G Pro 2 with a 13-megapixel rear camera capable of capturing 4K video and shooting in slow-motion at 120 frames per second.
The G Pro 2 isn’t the only smartphone LG is expected to launch at the show. The company is also rumored to be prepping a bite-sized version of its LG G2. Appropriately dubbed the G2 Mini, the phone should pack a decidedly not mini 4.7-inch display. Inside, the G2 Mini might include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM. There’s no word on whether the handset will include LG’s Rear Key button, but with the rest of the company’s smartphones including the feature, it makes sense that the Mini would, as well.
Nokia’s Android-powered phone, which has been alternatively been referred to as the Normandy and the X Phone in various leaks, has been the topic of conversation for several months. But it’s looking more likely that the handset will make its debut at MWC 2014. Based on rumors circulating around the Web, the X Phone should be a budget-friendly device in the vein of the company’s Asha phones. Rumored specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 512GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. We’re also expecting to see a 3-megapixel rear camera.
The Android phone would come at a strange time for Nokia, as the company was bought out by Microsoft for $7.2 just a few months ago. That said, reports of the X Phone’s existence have been cropping up since January 2013, so Microsoft may simply be finishing up the last projects Nokia was working on before being taken over. On the other hand, Microsoft is said to be contemplating allowing Android apps on its handsets and Windows Phone app store. If that’s the case, an Android phone could make sense.
Though Samsung’s rumored Galaxy Gear 2 could be the biggest name wearable device at MWC 2014, we’re still expecting to see plenty more that will blow us away. If CES 2014 taught us anything, it’s that the industry is banking on wearables to be the next big tech trend. Though nothing is certain at this point, wearables that could bow at the show include HTC’s rumored smartwatch, as well as a follow-up to Sony’s SmartWatch 2.
Though neither of those devices have been confirmed, and the HTC watch isn’t expected to hit the market until the end of 2014, we could still get a sneak peak of what the company is working on. The SmartWatch 2 successor, on the other hand, is a long shot, as Sony only introduced its current watch at IFA in Berlin in September 2013. Smartwatches aside, we’re also expecting to see a host of fitness related devices including fitness bands, and even, perhaps, some smart headphones. Sony, for example, is expected to provide more information on the SmartBand it debuted at CES in January.