Mobile World Congress Day Zero: Firefox OS grabs limelight from Android

Though the Mobile World Congress (MWC) gets formally underway only today, February 25th, 2013, many mobile companies chose Day Zero, the day before the event, to unveil their products.

The Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry that happens every year at Barcelona. Even though BlackBerry revealed BlackBerry 10 in January, HTC announced the HTC One last week and Samsung is expected the unveil its latest flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 on March 14, the MWC will still see a ton of announcements and launches.

Among a slew of launches of smartphones powered by Android, Mozilla unveiled its partners for Firefox OS. Here are the key highlights from Day Zero of Mobile World Congress 2013.

Lenovo unveils trio of tablets


Lenovo was one of the first companies to kick off MWC by launching a trio of tablets running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Lenovo A1000 is an entry-level device, featuring a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of which can be expandable by up to 32GB with microSD. The Lenovo A3000 will be powered by 1.2GHz quad-core MTK processor, and features up to 64GB of expandable storage through microSD. Unfortunately it has an underwhelming 1024×600 IPS display, but does come with support for HSPA+.
Lenovo is calling its S6000 a mobile “home Entertainment” center, This 10.1-inch tablet also comes with an IPS display which has a fairly sub-standard 1280 x 800 resolution. It comes with a 1.2GHz MTK 8389/8125 quad-core processor, HSPA+ connectivity. This tablet is fairly thin and light, measuring only 8.6mm thick and weighs just 560g. All three tablets from Lenovo are expected to go on sale in Q2 of the year.

Firefox OS gets closer to release


In what was the biggest announcement of the day, Mozilla said that it had the backing of 18 mobile network operators and four mobile phone makers for its open-source mobile operating system – Firefox OS. The handset manufacturers on board are Alcatel, ZTE, LG Electronics, and Huawei. Chipmaker Qualcomm will power these phones.

Third-party applications on Firefox phones will be based on HTML 5. The initial set of devices running Firefox OS are expected to be low cost.

The phones are expected to hit the markets as early as April and the first Firefox OS devices will be available in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.

Huawei announces “world’s fastest smartphone”


Huawei, unveiled what it claims to be the “world’s fastest smartphone,” the Ascend P2. The Ascend P2 is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and has LTE Cat 4, which Huawei says can achieve download speeds of up to 150Mbps. The smartphone, which is 8.4mm thick, features an infinity edge 4.7-inch IPS HD in-cell touch display with Corning Gorilla Glass. The Ascend P2 will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but will Huawei’s own Emotion UI 1.5 overlay. It comes with a 2420mAh battery. The Ascend P2 will sport a 13-megapixel rear camera.

Samsung looks to take on iPad Mini, Apple TV


After being leaked online multiple times in the days leading to MWC, Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. Looking to take on the iPad Mini, the Note 8.0 will come with a 8-inch WXGA (1280×800) display, 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, internal storage of 16 or 32GB which can expandable up to 64GB via a microSD card, a 5-megapixel rear camera, 1.3-megapixel front camera, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) and a 4,600mAh battery. The Note 8.0 will come with the S-Pen, which can be used to write, highlight and draw. The screens can also sense when the pen hovers over the screen, providing additional functionality. The HSPA+ variant of the Galaxy Note 8.0 can also make and receive phone calls. The Note 8.0 is expected to hit the markets in Q2 of this year.

Looking to take on the Apple TV, Samsung also debuted an Android-powered set top box, the Samsung HomeSync, that combines Google TV features and a home media server. It will come with 1 TB storage, WiFi and Ethernet access, and an interface powered by Jelly Bean with full access to the Google Play Store. The HomeSync will have a 1.7Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB of memory, an additional 8GB of flash storage, Bluetooth 4.0. 802,11n, HDMI 1.4 and support all standard video and audio codecs. The device will go on sale in April.

HP gets an Android flavor


Hewlett-Packard, which stopped selling its WebOS-based TouchPad just 7 weeks after launch, is getting back into the mobile market with the HP Slate 7. It will cost just $169 when it goes on sale in April in the US. The Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-powered Slate 7 has a 7.0-inch, 1,024 x 600 resolution FFS+ LCD, 1.6GHz, dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory with microSD card slot, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/b, Bluetooth 2.1, 3 megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, stereo speakers and Beats Audio.

Alcatel announces One Touch Idol, One Touch Idol X and and One Touch Star


Apart from announcing the One Touch Fire which will ship with Mozilla’s Firefox OS, Alcatel also announced three new Android phones – One Touch Idol, One Touch Idol X and and One Touch Star. The flagship One Touch Idol X will running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on a 5-inch LCD, with an edge-to-edge design. Powered by a quad-core MediaTek 6589 C PU with 16GB of internal storage, the Idol X will feature a 13MP camera and a 2000 mAh battery.

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