For techies all over the world, the month of February means only one thing: Mobile World Congress (MWC). Every February since 1987, key players in the mobile industry come together to unveil the latest innovations in gadgets and technology that promise even more efficiency, functionality and usability than before.
If you’re looking to by your next smartphone, there’s no better time to do your research than now. Let’s take a look at the some of the most anticipated releases for 2013 – some of which have even preempted the actual MWC!
Sony Xperia Z
This smartphone proves just how far Sony has come since its humble beginnings in Tokyo. The Xperia Z is a sleek, sexy number that’s packed with features such as a 5-inch HD Reality Display utilizing their famed BRAVIA® TV technology, a 13-megapixel camera with High Dynamic Range video and a 1.5GHz quad-core processor. To make sure the unit stays powered up, it’s equipped with a 2,330mAh battery that will give you up to 11 hours of talk time. Those who’d like to further draw out the battery life can opt to activate the Stamina mode. The unit intuitively recognizes and turns off the functions it doesn’t require while on standby, thereby minimizing energy drain.
If those features still don’t sell you on the Xperia Z, maybe its durability will. Not only are its front and back panels made of tempered glass, they are further reinforced with a special anti-shatter film. In addition to this, it’s dust resistant and can withstand being submerged in up to a meter of water.
Sony’s latest smartphone was officially announced during last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and will be released to the market by the end of February.
February 19 saw the launch of HTC’s 2013 flagship phone: the HTC One, previously referred to as the M7. Some people may remember the company announcing a line of smartphones of the exact same name during last year’s MWC. So what makes this year’s One different from that of before?
It is equipped with a 1.7GHz quad-core processor that ensures maximum speed, and is fueled by a 2,300mAH battery. HTC’s signature interface, Sense, now features BlinkFeed, which constantly streams news and social media updates in the 4.7-inch home screen display. Your experience with the unit’s 4-megapixel camera is enhanced by Zoe, which captures up to twenty photos and even a brief video clip with just one touch of a button. In the aural arena, HTC introduces BoomSound to optimize sound volume and quality, along with Sense Voice to make phone calls clearer.
HTC One is scheduled for distribution this coming March.
Huawei Ascend Mate & Ascend P2
Here’s a brand that, while isn’t a household name, actually ranks third in worldwide smartphone shipments. This year, the Chinese mobile manufacturer is poised to make even greater waves in the industry with the debut of Ascend Mate, an Android ‘phablet’ – a smartphone/tablet hybrid – during the recently concluded CES. At 6.1 inches, the Ascend Mate has toppled the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2 as the largest phablet in the market. Aside from its 8-megapixel camera and 1.4GHz quad-core processor, its ultra-powerful 4,050mAh battery is purported to last practically two whole days of talk time.
This MWC, Huawei will be announcing the new Ascend P2. It will run on a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and will feature a 13-megapixel camera and a 2,420mAh battery. This might just provide a more budget-friendly option to more popular smartphones, without necessarily compromising quality and functionality.
Samsung Galaxy SIV
While the two most anticipated releases of 2013 will not be making their debuts in the MWC, there have already been much speculation surrounding them. Samsung fans are rooting for an announcement sometime between March and May, although there’s a rumor of a launch in New York on March 14. Among the expected features of the SIV are the 4.99-inch SuperAMOLED display, 13-megapixel camera and Android v4.2 Jelly Bean operating system. Some speculate about an octa-core processor, which will definitely put it a mark above the competition.
In the Apple camp, people are holding out for the debut of the iPhone 5S sometime between June to October, in keeping with the company’s yearly trend. The exact details are spotty for now, but prediction is that the updates will mostly be internal, including a faster A7 chip, fingerprint sensor and higher camera resolution. There’s also been talk of a budget iPhone made mostly of plastic to contend with the economy models of other smartphone manufacturers.
It’s all up in the air for now but one thing’s for sure: the smartphone market will only get hotter this year.