In a far cry from London’s wet and gloomy streets, CBR has arrived in a sunny and surprisingly warm Barcelona where we will endeavour to bring you the latest live news straight from Mobile World Congress 2014 itself.
What started out as a smaller, more Euro-centric event has now spiralled into the go to mobile event of the year, with pretty much every carrier, telco, OEM and CEO exhibiting here (apart from one rather large name, ahem, Apple). It’s Android galore, with a whole range of brand new smartphones due to be unveiled. Samsung’s whetting our appetites with a new Galaxy Gear, and Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook is delivering a keynote speech tomorrow, with Whatsapps co-founder Jan Koum also making an appearance straight from Whatsapp’s mega-acquisition. We can also expect new devices from Huawei, ZTE and maybe even some Sony products. Keep up with CBR for all the news, but before we get cracking this week in earnest, here are five reasons to take notice of this year’s MWC.
Monday will see the first episode of Samsung’s Unpacked 2014 event, where it’s a sure bet the latest Galaxy flagship will be announced. It’s been rumour-central for months now, but what can we actually expect to see?
An aluminium case is highly likely, along with a 16MP camera. Biometrics will also be introduced on the S5, with a fingerprint scanner for unlocking and authenticating purchases. A 2GHz Snapdragon 805 processor has also been rumoured to be under the bonnet, and if so, it means the S5 will be capable of 4K video. Stick around to find out on Monday what Samsung has to say for itself.
Mozilla, the firm behind Firefox, is here in Barcelona in full force. It is expected to announce further devices running the Firefox OS, and it has already announced today a partnership with Chinese chip maker Spreadtrum Communications, which means Firefox smartphones will be heading to markets such as India and Indonesia at prices as low as $25.
Samsung’s Tizen operating system will make an appearance on the Galaxy Gear 2.0. The Android rival has been a few years in the making, and could be very threatening to the established Android market in Asia if Samsung has its way. Read what Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind Canonical’s Ubuntu had to say about Tizen.
Shuttleworth’s firm, Canonical, following the failure of last year’s crowdfunded Ubuntu phone, makes a comeback at MWC this year. Last week it announced two partnerships with OEMs to take Ubuntu- powered smartphones to market in China and East Asia, and we’ll likely be seeing them in Europe later 2014.
The first ever Nokia phone running Android, the Nokia Normandy, will be unveiled this year at Mobile World Congress. Codenamed the Nokia X, or Nokia Normandy, the device is expected to run on a slightly-modded version of Android 4.4.2, with the Finnish firm perhaps even releasing more premium models later this year.
Of course, the strangest thing about this annoucement is that Nokia is about to be swallowed up by Microsoft, one of Google’s biggest competitors, so stay tuned to see how this one plays out.
The encryption-focused smartphone which has been co-developed by Phul Zimmermann of PGP encryption will make its debut at MWC. The aim of the Blackphone is to ensure all messages and calls are secure and encrypted, and to try to raise awareness of the fragility of mobile privacy. There’s not a lot of details on the ground right now, but that will all change come Monday.
"I have spent my whole career working towards the launch of secure telephony products," Zimmermann says in a press release on the Blackphone website.
"Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect."
The website goes on to say that: "It has the features necessary to do all the things you need, as well as all the things you want, while maintaining your privacy and security and giving you the freedom to choose your carrier, your apps, and your location.
Wearable tech will also be a prominent talking point at this year’s MWC, even if it is still a little early yet to call 2014 the year of wearable technology. New smartwatches will be on show from all the wearable big hitters, and Samsung will be announcing the second incarnation of its Galaxy Gear watch.
Fitness trackers, like CES last month, will also be in attendance, but we could see more of Google Glass and Virtual Reality headsets here in Barcelona. Nothing massive has been announced yet, but that makes us all the more eager to believe that no news is good news, and this week may usher in the release of a world-changing wearable product. Fingers crossed!