Just as the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is the largest consumer technology event of the year, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the most impressive mobile device show each year. Samsung, HTC, Nokia and LG, among many others, will be at MWC 2014 when it opens Monday, and although some new devices will not be announced during the show itself, it will still be a first chance for the tech media to access smartphones and tablets that were announced recently.
Only a handful of high-end devices are expected to be announced during MWC, but the ones that are coming out will be prominent in the market. Samsung, the dominant mobile-device maker in the world, is expected to dominate at the event as well, and almost certainly will unveil its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone on Monday during its "Unpacked 5" event.
Since Monday is only the first day of MWC, there will still be plenty of time for the company to also announce the Galaxy Tab 4 tablet and Galaxy Gear 2 smart watch, all of which have featured in rumors for months.
As usual, Apple will boycott the Android-dominated event, preferring to showcase its products in isolation from its rivals.
A Range of Smartphones
Sony may also show off a refresh of the Z1 in the form of the D6503 Sirius smartphone. Unlike Samsung, Sony has remained quiet regarding its plans for the D6503, but an unveiling at MWC would make sense. Current rumors are that the device will be almost identical to the Z1 in terms of specs but will have a thinner bezel. Since the Z1 has only been on the market for a few months, the D6503 may be a simple refresh rather than an entirely new device.
Now that the number of potential customers in countries like China and India is growing, budget smartphones are slowly becoming as important as high-end phones to manufacturers' bottom lines. As a result, a number of devices expected to come out of MWC 2014 will not be flagships but rather inexpensive devices meant for foreign consumers and budget-minded customers in North America.
Nokia Goes Android
The Nokia X is one of those phones expected to be unveiled at the show. The low-cost X will be based on Android, unlike Nokia's Lumia smartphones, which run the Windows Phone platform. While the Nokia X may be built on the Android platform, Nokia is opting to customize the user interface and fill the device with its own applications rather than allowing people to have access to the much larger Google Play store. Along with being an Android device instead of a Windows Phone, the X is reportedly going to be relatively cheap as it will only feature a 4-inch 800x480 display.
LG is expected to provide specifics regarding its new G2 Mini at MWC 2014. As its name suggests, the G2 Mini will be much smaller than LG's flagship G2 smartphone, but it will also come in at a lower price point to compete with other "mini" devices. Alongside the G2 Mini is the L Series III, another budget smartphone from LG that will come in sizes ranging from 3.5 to 4.7 inches.