HP was on hand at Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona to show off its new Android smartphones, the Slate Voicetabs. We got a look at both the 6-inch and 7-inch versions that are most definitely part tablet, part smartphone. Both have earpieces, large displays and make phone calls.
Neither are particularly groundbreaking. The Slate 7 has a 1200x800 resolution display while the Slate 6 has a slightly better 720p panel. Both contain 1.2GHz quad-core CPU's, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. HP says KitKat will be pushed out to both, but didn't say how soon.
New range of devices targeted at price-conscious users in select markets
Building on its popular lineup of S-series smartphones, Lenovo today announced the S860, 850 and 660 at MWC 2014 in Barcelona. These latest iterations in the S-series focus on longer battery life, quad-core performance and key productivity features including the newly-announced DOit suite of apps.
Naturally as the flagship, the Lenovo S860 offers all-day battery life, including 24 hours of talk time and the ability to charge other devices off of the phone. That's paired with a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM for increased performance.
Taking one step down the line, the new S850 is focused on style with a thin and lightweight glass construction and a 5-inch display. You'll again be getting a quad-core processor, and also a 13MP rear and 5MP front camera for the photo buffs out there.
Rounding out the group is the S660, a solid mid-range device with a brushed metal construction, solid battery life and again a 5-inch display. Lenovo is focusing on a value-level price and comfortable design for a device that slots in well below the S860 and 850.
Now about the pricing — the S860 will cost just $349 unlocked, with the S850 at $269 and S660 at $229. Availability is set for select markets and will be available from Lenovo's online store.
Design that set you back $450 last year makes it to a lower-end device
Alongside the MediaPad X1 and TalkBand B1, a less-flashy device, the Ascend G6, was announced to round out Huawei's mid-range effort. If you're familiar with the Ascend P6 from last year you'll know the design here — but the G6 trades specs in some places and in return adds a much-wanted LTE radio. You're getting the same plastic front and metal back with some nice accents and visual features like a 7.85mm thickness, as well as interesting color choices (our white balance isn't bad, that phone is actually pink).
The Ascend G6 steps down the screen most notably, going to a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 (qHD) display from 720 x 1280 in the P6. It keeps the same camera setup and 2000mAh battery though, but that could be considered a downgrade considering the Ascend G6 is being released several months later. The Ascend G6 benefits from the same software tweaks and improvements that we see on the MediaPad X1 — including a few UI tweaks and new camera software features.
Hit the break for a photo gallery and a few more thoughts on the Ascend G6.
Acer's latest Android handset on show at Mobile World Congress
Before Mobile World Congress even started, Acer announced a pair of new Android smartphones in its liquid series. Of the two its the Liquid E3 that's a little more interesting, with a more premium looking design and the better class – though still mid-range – of hardware.
To recap, the Liquid E3 has a 4.7-inch 720p IPS display, 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM. Acer is making a play for photographers especially those who like to take 'selfies' with its 2MP front facing camera and LED front facing flash. Round the back we find a 13MP shooter with a button that can be used to quick launch a designated app or the camera. Software is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean at launch, but a KitKat is promised at some point down the line.
An impressive display of hardware quality in a gigantic phone form factor
Huawei is making a big deal about its latest huge phone, the MediaPad X1, here at MWC 2014. Yes, this 7-inch device is technically a phone, but Huawei is marketing it more as an intersecting point of phones and tablets. We've seen Sony do it with the Z Ultra and Samsung with the Galaxy Mega, and now it's Huawei's turn.
This is basically just a gigantic phone, with little to make it easy to use one-handed. Huawei does its best by offering small bezels — less than 3mm on the left and right sides — and extreme thinness of 7.18mm. It accomplishes this thickness with an impressive build quality of an all-glass front and aluminum back and sides that uses an interesting nanotechnology to keep it rigid.
On the inside, Huawei is going with a relatively unknown Kirin 910 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM — in our time with the device the UI seems snappy and fluid with not a single slowdown. The display comes in at an impressive 1200 x 1920 and looks absolutely great to our eyes with solid viewing angles and colors. Huawei is still doing some weird things with its interface that keep icons and settings overly-colorful to our eyes, but if you know its interface than you'll feel at home here.
Stick around for a closer look at the phone, including video, after the break.
LG G2 Mini fits into a weird, but targeted place in the smartphone spectrum
Let's just put this out in the open here. We're a bit perplexed by the prospect of the LG G2 Mini, which we've just taken a look at here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. On paper, it's not exactly a scaled-down version of the LG G2 — more like a scaled down, under-spec'd model, actually. A mere 4.7 inches — but at qHD 960x540 resolution. Whereas the G2 has a Snapdragon 800 processor, the G2 Mini sports either a Qualcomm MSM8926, or an NVIDIA Tegra 4i (not insignificant, but also not exaclty hard-core). A mere 8GB of total on-board storage, 1GB of RAM — but with a 13-megapixel camera, minus some features.
The LG G2 Mini is, simply put, not a smaller version of the high-end G2. What it basically is, however, is a lower-cost device, somewhere in between the even-lower L series (that's not what L stands for, but we can't help but make that distiction now). That's a murky area — but also not all that surprising given that it appears to be targeted for specific regional markets. That's something to keep in mind, we suppose.
But, bottom line? Not the worst "affordable" device we've ever seen. Low-end certainly isn't as low as it used to be.
LG's largest Android smartphone gets bigger, and smarter
LG already introduced the new G Pro 2 over in Korea, and they're showing it off to the rest of the world here at Mobile World Congress for the first time. If you're thinking it looks a little familar, you'd be right. Gone is the physical home button of its predecessor and in are the rear mounted power and volume controls of the G2. It's actually pretty handsome. And quite large.
A quick specs recap first, then. The G Pro 2 houses a 5.9-inch 1080p IPS display, with a 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 and 3GB of RAM underneath. You get either 16 or 32GB of onboard storage with a microSD card slot and a 13MP camera round the back with OIS. Software-wise we're looking at Android 4.4.2 KitKat and LG's own brand of customizations.
While LG's manage to keep the overall look and feel of the original G Pro, this one's definitely in the extra-large department. There's just no disguising 5.9 inches, small bezels or not. If you absolutely have to one-hand the G Pro 2, you can fire up Mini View, which shrinks things down into a windowed display. But that doesn't change the fact that you're manhandling a massive phone.
And Knock On — where you tap the screen twice to wake the phone — has gotten even better with Knock Code, which lets you set one of 80,000 some-odd combinations of knocking patterns, so you now have convience as well as security. Love this feature.
But enough words, you want to see it, right? Head on past the break for a hands-on look at the new LG G Pro 2.
Black 16GB in stock now at Carphone Warehouse, other colors on back order
If you've been holding out on picking up a UK Nexus 5, Carphone Warehouse might just have given you the best reason there is to go out and grab one. As of right now, they will sell you one for just £240, the lowest price for a SIM free Nexus 5 we've seen to date in Britain.
The white and red versions are offered at £240, but both are currently out of stock showing a "pre order" button next to them. The white is scheduled to ship on Feb 27 according to the site. If you're happy with a black one, you can buy one right now for home delivery or to collect in your local store. Grab 'em while they're hot!
Mozilla's Firefox OS is still in its early fledgling stages, and Spanish manufacturer Geeksphone has probably been its biggest proponent. But getting people to commit to spending the cash for a phone that runs the unproven OS with primarily only webapps available has proven a challenge, and thus Geeksphone's going the dual-booting route with the new Revolution.
On sale today, the Geeksphone Revolution costs €222 (before tax) ($305 USD) and is capable of booting into either Android or Firefox OS. So you can try out the open source Mozilla OS without making a full commitment. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you'll just spend your time on Android.
Now, €222 doesn't get you a highly impressive phone, though what you get for the price isn't bad. The Revolution spots a 4.7-inch qHD (540x960) iPS display with an 8 megapixel camera on the back and 1.3 megapixels on the front. Chipset-wise there's a dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 clocked at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of storage (expandable via MicroSD). There's a standard compliment of Wi-Fi b/g/n radios and Bluetooth 3.0, though the HSDPA radio is a bit of a bummer. But, again, at that price it's not a deal-breaker.
The Revolution is actually an Android phone first, booting to Android (version number is unspecified, though by the press images it's 4.x of some sort, and it appears to be running Google apps) on first activation. Though you can switch to Firefox OS whenever you like. The question is, though, would you?
Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, LG G Pro 2 and new wearable devices
One of the largest mobile shows of the year is about to kick off on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. This weekend — and for much of next week — we’re at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we’ll be covering some of the biggest mobile announcements of the year. Highlights are expected to include Samsung’s Galaxy S5, new Xperia devices from Sony, and Nokia’s first Android handset. And possibly new fare from HTC as well.
For the second year running the show itself is taking place at the futuristic Fira Gran Via, a new venue in Central Barcelona, and attending companies will also be holding press conferences all over the city. We’ll have six Mobile Nations editors on the ground — myself, Phil Nickinson, Andrew Martonik, Richard Devine, Kevin Michaluk and Daniel Rubino — so you’ll want to keep track of all our MWC coverage across Android Central, Windows Phone Central, CrackBerry, iMore and Smartwatch Fans.
MWC runs from Monday, Feb. 24, until Thursday, Feb. 27, with most of the big news happening on the 24th and 25th during the morning U.S. time. We'll have constant coverage through our massive Mobile World Congress hub page, which is where you'll find our latest news, articles, videos and behind-the-scenes stuff.
We’re in for a busy week at this year’s MWC, so let’s break down what we’re expecting from the major Android players ...
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