The best of Mobile World Congress 2013

MWC 2013

It's a crazy world, one where 8-inch slates can take phone calls and 5-inch slates is the new home for 1080p full HD. This week is Mobile World Congress, and the only rule is "no keyboards" — even that isn't strictly enforced, to be honest. The Verge is live from Barcelona covering all the action. This is the best of what we've seen so far!

20 updates and 2277 comments below.

Feb 28 1:40p

Nokia's Windows Phone range is complete, now it's up to Microsoft

Nokia launched its latest Lumia devices at Mobile World Congress this week. While many were hoping the company would unveil a 41-megapixel PureView device, or a Windows tablet, Nokia opted to flesh out its range of Lumias and give us an early look at where it's heading for 2013. With 12 Lumia products launched, excluding variants, Nokia's strategy is clear: offer colorful Lumia devices at various price points by pushing high-end features down the range. Nokia's Lumia series is broad and...

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Feb 27 1:40p

With Firefox OS, Mozilla gets a little dirty to clean the mobile web

At MWC this week, showgoers are finally getting a look at the first Firefox OS devices that will come to market in the next few months.

To be blunt, they’re not very good: the ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire look and feel like low-end handsets from two or three years ago. The operating system — which is "made of the web," as Mozilla proudly proclaims — seems to struggle at times to overcome the cheap silicon it’s been saddled with.

But "good" is a relative term. Firefox OS could...

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Feb 26 10:00a

MWC 2013: as the show grows larger, the news gets smaller

The 2013 edition of Mobile World Congress will be remembered for two rather antithetical things: the enormous new venue of Fira Gran Via, and the distinct lack of headline-grabbing devices. In years past, attendees in Barcelona would be treated to grandiose and glitzy battles for attention between powerhouse manufacturers like HTC, Nokia, and even Microsoft. Just last year the show played host to the launch of HTC's One series, the Nokia 808 PureView, two new Sony Xperia phones, and the full C...

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Feb 25 9:16a

Stephen Elop interview: Nokia can compete with Surface

For all the speculation surrounding Nokia's MWC plans, the eventual launches from the Finnish company this morning proved somewhat underwhelming. High-end features like wireless charging and a super-sensitive touchscreen were trickled down into lower price ranges with the Lumia 520 and 720, but there was no new hero device, no translation of the 808 PureView's 41-megapixel camera into the Windows Phone realm, and no tablet.

We've been eagerly awaiting Nokia's entry into the highly...

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Asus's Padfone Infinity is a big phone, and an even bigger tablet (hands-on)

What do you get when you mix a phablet and a tablet? You get the Asus Padfone Infinity, which the company just announced at MWC. The docking device remains first and foremost a phone, just a big one now — a 5-inch, 1080p phone that feels surprisingly comfortable to hold despite its size. We've spent a few minutes with the Infinity, and while the device's gimmicky purpose clearly hasn't changed, the handset itself has definitely improved. It's better-made and the screen is absolutely gorgeous...

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Asus Fonepad hands-on: definitely a tablet, just one that makes phone calls

Before Asus announced the Fonepad at MWC in Barcelona today, we knew the device's name and little else. Now we know what Asus gets when it inverts the Padfone, in name anyway — the Fonepad is a 7-inch tablet that's a dead ringer for the Nexus 7, and splits the difference between the 5- and 10-inch screens that make up the Padfone.

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Asus unveils 7-inch Fonepad with voice call support, starting from $249 in March

Asus is launching a 7-inch Fonepad today at Mobile World Congress. Running Android 4.1, the 7-inch Fonepad uses Intel's Atom Z2420 processor with 3G voice and mobile data support. Asus has equipped its Fonepad with a 1.2-megapixel front facing camera and a 3-megapixel on the rear. The display runs at 1280 x 800, and Asus has 1GB of RAM in its latest tablet.

Battery life is estimated at around 9 hours, and Asus will release 8GB and 16GB versions in titanium gray or champagne gold colors with...

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Asus announces 5-inch 1080p PadFone Infinity

Asus has just announced its latest PadFone, the PadFone Infinity, confirming an image that leaked earlier today. Like previous models, the PadFone is an Android smartphone that docks into a large display to become a tablet. The Infinity has a 5-inch 1080p display, LTE connectivity, 64GB of storage, and a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor. Those specs put Asus' new phone on par with the best around; the "Pad" side of the product, which Asus calls the "Infinity Station," features a...

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Lumia 520: hands-on with Nokia's latest budget Windows Phone

Nokia's just unveiled its latest low-end Windows Phone 8 device, and I've spent some time with the budget handset ahead of its release by the end of March. The Lumia 520 borrows the same design language from its high-end siblings, but you're not going to get similar specifications. This is very much a low-end device, with a 4-inch WVGA display, 8GB of storage, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. Nokia has nixed NFC support, and there's no front facing camera for Skype and other video calling apps.


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Lumia 720 hands-on: the best Lumia body yet, but the specs let it down

Nokia just announced its latest mid-range Lumia 720 at Mobile World Congress today, and I've had a chance to take a look at it ahead of its release later this quarter. At first glance this particular Lumia embodies the same design as the latest colorful Lumia range that Nokia kicked off with the release of Windows Phone 8. There's one big difference here, though: Nokia's Lumia 720 has a thin and light body that puts it on par with HTC's 8X. This body is everything the Lumia 920 should have...

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Sony's sleek Xperia Tablet Z coming to the US for $499

We're already familiar with the Xperia Tablet Z after Sony unveiled it in Japan last month, but now we know it's coming to the US. The company is using the occasion of Mobile World Congress 2013 to show off its latest slate to a wider audience, and nothing's changed: same 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display, same 1.5GHz quad-core processor (now outed as a Snapdragon S4 Pro), and same airy design at 495g and a world-beating 6.9mm thick. Other features include an eight-megapixel camera, water- and...

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Asus Padfone Infinity with 5-inch 1080p display, mysterious 'Fonepad' device leaked at MWC

Asus has been not-so-subtly teasing a new version of the Padfone, its wild phone / tablet hybrid device, to be launched at this year's MWC. The company's press conference (and presumably official announcement) isn't until this afternoon, but we've spotted a sign in Asus's booth displaying some key specs of the "Padfone Infinity." The device will feature a 5-inch, 1080p LTE phone that will dock inside a 10.1-inch, 1080p tablet. The sign advertises a "sleek aluminum alloy" body "with brushed...

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Feb 24 4:00p

Nvidia Phoenix hands-on: the 5-inch, quad-core blueprint for mainstream superphones

Earlier this week, Nvidia announced a major milestone in its mobile development history: its first chip to combine both the applications processor and LTE modem on the same silicon. The Tegra 4i, as it is called, is the green team's counter to Qualcomm's dominance in the mobile space — by having the power efficiency of integrated LTE, Nvidia now stands a chance to figure in the flagship 4G devices gracing advanced markets like the US. But the company's ambitions, as is usually the case, go...

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Nvidia Tegra 4: the first benchmarks

Nvidia's next-generation mobile processor, the Tegra 4, may have been announced at CES last month, but it's only today that the company has truly let us get an idea of its pixel-pushing potential. Running a trio of the most popular Android benchmarks on an Android 4.2 development platform, we got to see just how much performance can be squeezed out of a quad-core Cortex-A15 processor with a 72-core GPU.


A tale of two markets: Alcatel shows off high-end Idol X, basic One Touch Fire smartphones

Alcatel has unleashed a slew of new phones onto the market here on the first day of Mobile World Congress, but the most interesting two lie at diametric opposite positions on the smartphone spectrum. We first got to spend a few minutes with the new One Touch Idol X, an ultra-high-end phone with a 5-inch, 1080p display. On one hand, these displays are increasingly commoditized as every company on the planet incorporates them, but on the other the Idol X is a very impressive sight to behold....

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Slate 7 hands-on: a standard Android tablet with standard HP style

HP just announced that it's getting back in to the tablet game, but this time with Android instead of webOS. The Slate 7 is a perfectly straight-forward 7-inch Android tablet, with specs as middling as its build quality. For $169, you'll get an Android machine running on a 1.6GHz Arm Coretex A9 of mysterious provenance (HP wouldn't tell us precisely who makes it) with a 1024 x 600 LCD display and 1GB or RAM. There's the usual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, plus a 3.1 megapixel camera on the back...

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ZTE Open is the first official Firefox OS phone (hands-on)

Mozilla's preparing to make some big announcements at Mobile World Congress, but it's let one cat out of the bag ahead of its press conference. The ZTE Open is the first phone we've seen running Firefox OS other than a few developer units, and just as we figured it's an extremely low-end device. It's very small, and feels pretty good to hold, but we immediately noticed its washed-out screen. Details are scarce for the moment, but we've heard rumblings that the Open is running a Cortex A5...

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EyeVerify lets you secure your smartphone with your eyes (hands-on)

Android might have face unlock, which has been defeated previously with photos, but EyeVerify is aiming to take things a step further. At Mobile World Congress this week, the company is demonstrating its Eyeprint technology that's designed to scan a users eye veins and grant them access to a phone or application.


A new flagship phone for Huawei: hands-on with the Ascend P2

Huawei's kicking off the events here at MWC in Barcelona, but it revealed what may be its biggest announcement before we ever made it past the courtyard of its event hall. The Ascend P2 is the company's latest weapon in its ongoing attempt to infiltrate the global phone market, and from what we've seen so far it's smooth, thin, remarkably light, and definitely feels like a flagship. The 8.4mm-thin handset has a 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 "infinity edge" display (we're a bit surprised to see a...

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We're live from MWC 2013: welcome to mobile nirvana

Gaudí. El Bulli. FC Barcelona. La Sagrada Família. The heart of Catalonia is known for many things, but for one week each year, it's known for another: smartphones.

That's right — this week is Mobile World Congress, and The Verge is live from Barcelona covering all the action. Read our preview to get up to speed on what we're expecting.

When you're done with that, check our MWC 2013 hub all week long for up-to-the-minute updates. And finally, keep it locked for our live blogs today and...

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Feb 23 9:00p

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hands-on preview

Last year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung took the wraps off of the Galaxy Note 10.1, its first proper tablet with S Pen support. We weren't terribly fond of the Note 10.1 when we eventually reviewed it, but Samsung is back this year with the Galaxy Note 8.0. Already leaked numerous times before its official reveal, the Note 8.0 is Samsung's mid-size, S Pen enabled tablet that slots in between the 5.5-inch Note II smartphone and the larger 10.1-inch Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet.


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