Phones! Phones! Phones! Look over there, it's another phone! Mobile World Congress hasn't even officially kicked off yet, and we saw enough new hardware to fill a wheelbarrow or three. That's just the way we like it, too. We also got a little to sit in and listen about the yearly plans of folks like Huawei, Sony and HTC, and boy are they pumped for 2012. After seeing their new gear, we are, too. 2012 is going to be another year filled with Android news, and we're going to be right here to share it all with you.
It seems like every smartphone manufacturer is in Barcelona, and all the important ones are showing off Android goodness in one way or another. Whether it's an official event filled with
good loud music and bloggers, or press announcements and a booth presence, we saw a lot of Android from a lot of different people. Let's talk about it, after the jump.
Samsung starts the show
Samsung kicked things off early by announcing both a new smartphone and a full size tablet. They may not be holding a big glitzy event, but that didn't stop them from letting loose the Galaxy Beam or the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1). The Beam looks a lot like its predecessor, but ramped up and modernized with new internals. It's packing a dual-core 1GHz CPU and 2,000mAh battery behind a 4-inch WVGA screen, and has a built-in 15 lumen projector -- perfect for sharing photos and video, or annoying the heck out of your cat. The Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1), besides being a contender for the 2012 silly-name award, looks to be a slight refresh of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 designed with a new bezel, and a good helping of Ice Cream Sandwich to top it off. It's still nice and thin, but the changes should keep them from getting Samsunged in court. Yeah, I went there.
And while they haven't officially announced the 10.1-inch Galaxy Note, they made it awful hard to miss. We expect a press release any minute now, probably just as we're getting ready to get some shut-eye. You're not fooling anyone, Sammy.
The "world's fastest smartphone"
Them's some pretty big words Huawei. Will the quad-core Ascend D Quad be able to fulfill that promise? We'll have to see about that ...
LG goes big, and stylish
LG made sure we had another look at their previously announced octet of new Android smartphones, namely the Optimus VU, the Optimus 4X HD, the Optimus 3D Max, the "L" trio consisting of the L3, the L5, and the L7, the Optimus LTE Tag, and the Optimus 3D Cube. LG is bringing the hardware, with 3D screens and quad-core phones, let's hope they don't forget about their current phones and some Ice Cream Sandwich time.
Sony takes the stage
Alex spent an hour listening in to Sony's plans to take the Android world by storm with their new and improved Xperia line. We learned the Xperia Ion is going worldwide, the Xperia S can be bought today, and the Xperia U and Xperia P are on the way to most of the planet. We couldn't be happier, as Sony makes an awesome product that many parts of the world (*cough* the US) doesn't get to see much of. Give me some of that Sony style, please!
HTC shows us "the One"
The big news of the day happened at the HTC event, where Peter Chou and friends showed off the new One series of Android phones. We've been hearing about the One X, the super slim One S, and the One V (return of the chin!), but we got all the particulars today -- and we're excited. They've got Beats Audio, HTC is simplifying things with Sense 4.0, and new ImageSense technology puts a quality camera in your pocket.
The One X will be in two flavors, a Qualcomm S4 CPU version for AT&T, and a Tegra 3 4-PLUS-1 version for HSPA+ networks. Both look great. And so it isn't all alone here in the US, the One S is headed to T-Mobile sometime this spring.
You can listen to what Phil, Alex and Simon think about it all on our day minus-one special edition Mobile Nations podcast.
Now to get some sleep, cause things start early tomorrow!
Widgets and icon packs are fun, but a simple home screen is the way to go
Now that iOS 14 is out, there's been a renaissance in smartphone customization. Widgets, icon packs, and custom launchers are great, but you just can't beat one that's boring and simple.
Google's giving up too much ground in the smart home fight
We're in the thick of our fall launches, but after the tidal wave of new products from Amazon last week, Google's Launch Night In looks like it'll barely make a splash. That's not good, because Alexa and Ring are rapidly gaining on Assistant and Nest.
Luna is both a safe bet and Amazon's best idea in years
Is "rolling your own" Netflix-style game library what we really want? Amazon thinks so.
The Xperia 1 II is our favorite phone for shooting video
If video recording is your thing, then look no further than the Sony Xperia 1 II — it offers a large screen, three great cameras, and extremely robust manual video controls.