Mobile enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to in the months ahead, with each of the mobile manufacturers putting their best foot forward.
While 2012 is already four months old, it is showing clear signs already of being a year full of promise and exciting products to look forward to on the mobile front.
This was particularly evident by the mobile phones and tablets showcased at the annual World Mobile Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain for example. Even larger screens, quad-core processors, faster connectivity and fancier built-in cameras are appearing on the smartphone menu.
If there was an attention hog at this year's show, it must have been Nokia's 41 megapixel beast, the 808 PureView. 41 megapixels feels like overkill (five megapixels more than what Nikon crammed in its latest D800 full frame DSLR camera), but a lot of the resolution is used in the phone's pixel oversampling technology. According to Nokia, this takes information from seven pixels and distils it into one for the best possible picture. The Carl Zeiss optics equipped 808 (1.3 GHz) is not part of Nokia's new Windows Phone range, instead running on Nokia Belle.
Nokia did not neglect their Windows devices, announcing the Lumia 900 and Lumia 610. The 900 (1.4 GHz) is the Finnish company's first LTE phone, looking a lot like the 800 already available in SA, only with a larger screen (4.3") and battery. The 610 comes with a 3.6" screen and 800 MHz processor.
LG had a busy MWC 2012, rolling out a heap of new smartphones and also a new design identity, dubbed LStyle. The device we're most excited about is the 5" Optimus Vu (1.5 GHz dual-core), a smartphone tablet hybrid which competes directly with Samsung's 5.3" Galaxy Note. At 8.5 mm thin, LG believes it's the slimmest LTE phone currently in operation. When it comes to sheer power, their new Optimus 4X HD is up there with the best, boasting a Tegra 3 processor and a delicious 4.7" screen (1280 x 720), but only 3G connectivity.
At MWC 2012, those holding their breath for an announcement on the Galaxy S III eventually passed out, since Samsung was not forthcoming on their highly anticipated flagship device (we can expect news on this hotly anticipated device come 3 May 2012). Instead, on the smartphone side, they had rather minor announcements, including the Galaxy Ace 2 and the Galaxy mini 2. A bit of attention also went to the Galaxy Beam, which comes with a built-in projector. But with a resolution of 800 x 480 and an LED beam worth only 15 lumens, we can't quite see this screening the game on Saturday.
HTC bolstered their Android presence with their new flagship, the HTC One X. The One X is the company's first phone powered by a quad-core chip, in this case the powerful Tegra 3, moving away from their good relationship with Qualcomm. With a massive 4.7" screen (1280 x 720), 32 GB of storage space, Beats Audio and Android 4.0 (ICS), the One X is sure to be a hit. Also announced in the One range, were the V and the S. The One V (1 GHz, 3.7") looks a lot like the old HTC Legend, while the One S (1.5 GHz, 4.3") is closer to the company's Sensation. Both comes with Android 4.0 (ICS) and Beats Audio.
So long Sony Ericsson, since this year was the first year Sony took on smartphones on their own, after announcing last year that they acquired Ericsson's stake in the company. The new Xperia P forms part of their new NXT range, and comes with a 4" display, which debuts extra bright WhiteMagic display technology. With a definite focus on music, the Xperia U comes with xLoud and Sony 3D surround sound audio technology, while an illuminating transparent band matches the colour of album art or photos on display. Both run dual-core 1 GHz processors and Android Gingerbread, with planned upgrades to Ice Cream Sandwich in future. They should arrive here in May/ June.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei clearly knows how to draw the battlelines. At MWC 2012 they revealed their Ascend D smartphone, which they claim is "the world's fastest quad-core smartphone," thanks to its K3V2 quad-core 1.5 GHz processor built by the company itself. For that claim we would have to see what the benchmark tests reveal, but we're also excited about the mention of two to three days battery life on a single charge thanks to its 1800 mAh battery. Featuring a 4.5" screen with a pixel density very close to the iPhone 4s (326 vs 330 pixels per inch), the Ascend D runs ICS out the box.
What about tablets?
Asus' Transformer Pad Infinity held the honour of being the highest resolution tablet on the market, unfortunately only until the new iPad came along. Still, its 10.1" 1920 x 1200 pixels (compared to the iPad's 2048 x 1536) Full HD IPS+ display is nothing to mess with, while it also runs a zippy Qualcomm 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor.
We really enjoyed our time spent with Samsung's tablet/smartphone hybrid, the Galaxy Note, so we're really glad to see a 10.1" version coming out. Why? Because of the included S-Pen that makes sketching on the tablet an exciting prospect. With a 1280 x 800 resolution, ICS, HSPA+ and a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor (make not specified), it looks like a winner. The Note 10.1 lands locally in May for R8699.
To the point
In short, this showcase of power products was clear evidence that each manufacturer was stepping up its game, and that users especially, can look forward to a bumper crop of tempting - and increasingly powerful - devices in the months ahead.