'Must-have' gadgets at world's biggest mobile show

Participants throng around exhibits at the 2011 Mobile World World congress in Barcelona.

Story highlights

  • Nokia, HTC expected to lead a busy field for new mobile device launches at Mobile World Congress
  • Samsung's Galaxy S III will remain under wraps as Korean manufacturer focuses on tablets
  • Sony and Motorola's plans remain a mystery ahead of Barcelona event
Mobile World Congress is the world's largest mobile phone trade show, held every year in Barcelona. It is the venue for manufacturers like Nokia, HTC, LG, and Samsung to reveal the must-have mobile devices and services of the year.
This year is likely to be no different with big launches expected from all the major players except Apple.
So what can we expect? Some phone makers have already announced their MWC line up, some have hinted, others have been rumored. Talking to sources, joining the dots, and getting the word on the street, this is what is expected at the show:
Nokia is rumored to be launching a number of handsets at MWC this year. Some will focus on emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), while the others, the developed ones. The phones you are most likely to be interested in will be a European version of the recently announced Nokia Lumia 900, and a low end Lumia; the Nokia Lumia 610. Both models will work with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system.
We are expecting three handsets from the Taiwanese company; The HTC One X, The HTC One S, and the HTC One V. The top-of-the-range One X will feature the new Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and run Android, while Pocket-lint has confirmed with sources that the One V will be a music-focused device aimed at men and similar to the more female friendly (if that is possible) HTC Rhyme that is already on the market.
Although Samsung was expected to launch the Samsung Galaxy S III at MWC this year, the company has now confirmed that it won't. With a number of pre-MWC launches already detailed, Samsung is expected instead to focus on tablets at the show. If rumors are to be believed, it will launch a 10.1-inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Note announced in September 2011. The difference from all the other tablets it sells? It will have a built-in stylus.
Following Samsung's lead with the Galaxy Note, LG has announced its LG Optimus Vu prior to the show. A cross between a phone and a tablet, it will measure 139.6mm x 90.mm, meaning it's going to be one for those with big hands and big pockets. There are also rumors that the company will announce a follow up to the LG Optimus 2X called the 3X. Expect it to have a quad-core processor too.
Research In Motion
BlackBerry maker RIM has said that there will be no new hardware at the show this year, but that it will be showing off the new PlayBook 2.0 operating system and the software operating system, BB OS 10, that it hopes will power its new phones expected later in the year.
Having just announced a new waterproof and dustproof phone called the Eluga, Panasonic has also confirmed it has a second handset in the pipeline to launch at MWC. It will feature a dual-core processor, OLED screen and will run Android.
Japanese brand Fujitsu has confirmed that it will be launching phones in Europe following its success in Japan. The company has yet to announce which models it will be bringing the continent, however the smart money is on the waterproof quad-core Tegra 3 powered Android smartphone it announced at CES in Las Vegas in January.
Sony (aka Sony Ericsson)
Trying to pinpoint a Sony phone destined for Mobile World Congress is as hard as Sony Ericsson's transitions to Sony. We are expecting a European launch for the already announced (at CES) Sony Ericsson Xperia S though. Rumors and leaked internet photos suggest maybe a bigger screen version too, as well as an array of other Android devices.
Motorola's MWC plans are even quieter than Sony's with the company traditionally focusing on CES in Las Vegas to launch many of its first-half-of-the-year handsets. There is a suggestion that Motorola has teamed up with Intel to launch one of the first Intel-powered smartphones, but that is still to be confirmed. Motorola doesn't have a press conference at the show, but Intel does.