We usually do not cover the annual Mobile World Congress that takes place in Barcelona. The event itself is losing its importance as the really important announcements by mobile companies are not being made at global events. Companies like Samsung, HTC, Google and others are choosing to have their own events to launch their flagship device.
But the Mobile World Congress is still a place where some interesting and important announcements are made. Here is a quick look at some of important announcements.
#1. Samsung Announces Tizen OS
Samsung’s possible insurance policy against being too dependent on Android was formally announced at the MWC 2013. Tizen OS is not just about Samsung, it is also backed by Intel and Huawei. The OS has been announced by Samsung has hardly confirmed if and when handsets running on Tizen will be rolled out.
It is highly improbable that Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S IV will feature Tizen on it. I doubt Samsung is really interested in making Tizen as their flagship OS anyways. I think this is a way to keep Google honest towards Android OEMs. Samsung might think of moving away from Android significantly only are a very long term strategy. In the meanwhile it might move its lower spectrum of phones to Tizen.
Samsung also has finally called it quits on its own BADA OS.
#2. Samsung Note 8.0
The new tablet by Samsung running on Android was also announced. The tablet is obviously taking aim at the iPad Mini. It does so with the following specs
- 1.6 GHZ Quad Core Processor
- 2 GB RAM
- 5 MP primary camera and 1.3 MP front facing camera.
- 3G and WIFI networks are supported. The tablet will be in two versions, one is WIFI only and the other WIFI + 3G.
The Samsung penchant for S-Pen continues with this tablet too. The weirdest feature of this tablet is it can also be used at a phone. The phablet niche is now really getting out of control.
#3. Firefox OS
Firefox OS for mobiles phones also made an appearance in Barcelona. Mozilla announced that they have the backing of multiple phone carriers.
Sony has announced it is evaluating Firefox OS and put out a video of an experimental software that can be used on a unlocked Xperia E.
I am not sure how many phone manufacturers will be ready to jump of the Firefox OS bandwagon. At the moment without a very powerful manufacturer backing it, Firefox OS might not go very far.
Link: Firefox OS
#4. Nokia Launches Four New Phones
Nokia announced four new phones at the MWC 2013. The Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 are Windows 8 phones. The other two phones announced are Nokia 301 and Nokia 105.
The Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 are the more affordable Windows 8 phones.
Cheaper priced Lumia phones is a good idea, as it might end up getting future buyers of their flagship Lumia model, introduced to the Windows 8 platform.
Nokia 301 and Nokia 105 are aimed at the developing world market. It will probably target the segment of buyers to are buying the cheapest phones out there.
#5. The Regulars who were missing
The Mobile World Congress never had much of support from Apple ever but it was an event that Google had supported wholeheartedly. This year Google more or less skipped the event. Motorola has also more or less skipped MWC 2013. Even Nokia announced nothing big but just a host of mid-level phone models. Samsung announced its Note 8.0, but it is far from a big and important announcement.
Events like Mobile World Congress are fast becoming more about start-ups and exhibiting experimental concepts and less about large companies making big announcements. Big companies like Samsung, Apple and Google frankly, do not want to share the attention with other makers. Hence they prefer to have their really big announcements done at separate exclusive events.
What are your thoughts on events like Mobile World Congress? Are events like these losing their importance to the industry? Do drop in your comments.