Tablets, Android Dominate MW Congress
By Joseph Palenchar On Feb 21 2011 - 5:01am
BARCELONA, SPAIN —
Tablets and Android
smartphones dominated the introductions here at
the Mobile World Congress, where new tablets
were unveiled by Samsung, HTC and Huawei.
New Android smartphones ranged from the low
to high ends, with new models appearing from HTC,
LG, Huawei, Samsung and ZTE.
Key launches included the world’s first PlayStation-
certified smartphone — the Xperia Play from
Sony Ericsson — and what was described as the
industry’s first glasses-free 3D phone — the LG Optimus
Also launched were HTC’s first tablet, which features
Android 2.4 OS and 1.5GHz processor, the
industry’s first two smartphones, both from HTC,
with dedicated Facebook button, and Samsung’s
second-generation Galaxy Android tablet, whose
upgrades include dual-core 1GHz processor and
Android 3.0 tablet-optimized OS.
For its part, RIM announced that it will expand
its PlayBook tablet selection in the second half
with two more 4G models, one with HSPA+ and
the other with LTE.
Here’s what select vendors announced:
The company unveiled the industry’s first
two smartphones with a dedicated Facebook button
and its first tablet, which will access HTC’s
planned movie-download service and a planned
cloud-base gaming service.
The two smartphones will be available exclusively
through AT&T sometime “later this year,” and the
tablet, called the Flyer, is due in the second quarter
globally and in the U.S.
The tablet, equipped with Wi-Fi and HSPA+ cellular
data, is likely headed for T-Mobile because it
operates in HSPA 14.4Mbps mode in T-Mobile’s
1.7/2.1GHz AWS band and in foreign 900MHz and
The 14.82-ounce tablet features 1,024 by 600
7-inch touchscreen, aluminum unibody, 1.5GHz
processor, Flash 10 and HTML 5 for web browsing,
and fingertip and pen interaction with the screen.
The tablet does not use the Android 3.0 Honeycomb
OS optimized for tablets but uses a tablet-optimized version
of HTC’s Sense smartphone user interface on top
of the new Android 2.4 OS version. The tablet will be upgraded
to Android Honeycomb in the second quarter, a
The tablet also features new HTC Scribe digital-ink
technology, which lets consumers use a stylus to handwrite
notes in script, sign contracts, draw pictures, or
write on a web page or photo.
The tablet’s cloud-based gaming service will be supplied
by OnLive. The planned HTC Watch movie-download
service will feature HD movies from major studios.
It wasn’t clear if online gaming and movie downloading
would occur only via Wi-Fi only or also via HSPA+ cellular.
Flyer pricing wasn’t disclosed.
In smartphones, the company is targeting the HTC
Salsa and ChaCha to social networkers at moderate
price points. They feature deep Facebook integration,
including a dedicated Facebook button, and dual cameras
for on-line video chats. They use 7.2Mbps highspeed
HSPA cellular data, and both feature 600MHz
The Chinese company unveiled a slimmeddown
version of an existing tablet and a new slim smartphone
here at the Mobile World Congress, but U.S. availability
wasn’t announced. Both use the Android OS.
The Ideos S7 Slim tablet is thinner than its predecessor,
the S7, which is available at Best Buy at $299
with embedded Wi-Fi and 3G HSPA cellular data in the
850/1900/2100GHz bands. Best Buy’s website, however,
doesn’t promote the 3G capability. The new model
also features 850/1900/2100GHz HSPA.
Both models also feature 7-inch touchscreen and 1GHz
Snapdragon processor. The new model, however, adds
capacitive touchscreen with multitouch instead of resistive
touchscreen, front-facing video camera for video
chats, 720p HD video capture, Android 2.2 compared
with 2.1, battery increased from 2200mAh to 3250mAh,
on-device mini HDMI output, and rear-facing camera of
3.2 megapixels compared with 2 megapixels.
As an option, the tablet supports circuit-switched cellular
Thickness was reduced from 13.5mm to 12.5mm.
It will ship globally in April at pricing that wasn’t announced.
The new smartphone is the Android 2.3-based Ideos X3,
a touchscreen-only model with 3.2-inch HVGA capacitive
curved touchscreen and front-facing 3.2-megapixel camera
for video chats. Its 3G HSDPA 7.2Mbps cellular technology
is banded for foreign 900/2100MHz 3G bands.
The second-generation Galaxy Tab tablet
is the company’s first tablet to use Google’s tabletoptimized
Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS. It sports a larger
10.1-inch touchscreen compared with the original Tab’s
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available in Europe in
March, but U.S. deliveries were not announced.
The new model is available with Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n
and 4G HSPA+ with a theoretical peak download speed
of 21Mbps. It comes in 16GB and 32GB versions and
lacks memory-card slot and USB port.
Compared with the original Android 2.2 Tab, the Tab
10.1 features Nvidia dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 processor
instead of the original Tab’s 1GHz Hummingbird processor.
Both models feature front- and rear-facing cameras,
with the new model featuring an 8-megapixel rear-facing
camera with LED flash and a front 2-megapixel camera.
The next-generation Galaxy-class Android smartphone
is the touchscreen-only Galaxy S II, which adds multiple
upgrades, including a dual-core 1GHz processor compared
to its predecessor’s 1GHz processor. Pricing and
availability weren’t disclosed.
Other upgrades include Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
OS, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display compared with
a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, 1080p video capture
compared with 720p, Wi-Fi Direct, and upgraded dual
camera, with the rear-facing camera going to 8 megapixels
from 5 megapixels and the front-facing video chat camera,
currently available only on the Sprint 4G Galaxy Epic,
going to 2 megapixels from VGA.