So the biggest mobile-centric show of the year, Mobile World Congress, kicks off on Monday. Hundreds of mobile companies will set up shop in Barcelona, Spain to show off their latest and greatest, and our own Aaron Baker will be on site reporting and giving us hands-on videos of all the new goodies that are to be revealed. (Keep up with everything here!)
Thanks to a plethora of recent leaks and cryptic hints in ads from companies like HTC and ASUS, we already have a good idea of several of the things we will get a glimpse of in Spain this year. But there are bound to be some surprises and, of course, some letdowns. We all have our set expectations, and whether or not this year's show will be everything we hope for (and more) will be determined in due time.
As we all prep for the hectic week ahead, here are the things I'm looking forward to catching a glimpse of from the show:
Ubuntu for Android
Just the other day, we learned of the first viable option for smartphone users to finally get a little more out of their phones. Ubuntu for Android will enable users to use their phones as typical Android phones when on the go, but can then attach it to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse for the full Ubuntu experience when they're at a desk. Engadget got an early, in-depth hands-on with Ubuntu for Android and had some good things to say – as well as a few hurdles the project still faces, like getting OEMs on board.
As it stands, there are no manufacturers ready to partner with Canonical, the guys behind the Ubuntu project, just yet. Without the support from chipset makers and hardware OEMs, it will be hard for Canonical to have their software optimized for a large spread of devices. As Sharif Sakr of Engadget explained, this lack of optimization showed apparent problems when multitasking with the Motorola Atrix 2 (using a TI OMAP 4430 chipset) on Ubuntu.
Canonical will be in Barcelona next week meeting hardware manufacturers, trying to pitch their project to them. The success of Ubuntu for Android as a widespread and viable platform for smartphone users is hinging almost entirely on this support. But that's not all we're worried about. We want deets. Ubuntu for Android will be free, but will it be distributed where enthusiasts can load it up on their devices by themselves? When can we expect it to launch? Here's to hoping ...
Different tablet options
The Android tablet presence of this year's show doesn't seem to be nearly as loud as it was last year. It's not that tablets powered by the little green guy have completely fizzled, but I think OEMs were expecting a bigger splash after MWC last year, a splash that they almost certainly did not get.
However, there are some mystery tablets that could still make an appearance. ASUS, for one, has been letting tidbits of information on what is believed to be their next Transformer leak. And they've released a series of three teaser videos that really don't reveal much, save for possible color variations, an interesting math equation (1 + 1 + 1 = ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES) and "twice the detail." Is it the PadFone? Finally? Is it yet another Transformer? Or is it something else entirely?
Also, there has been hints – albeit few – of a larger Galaxy Tab and a 10.1-inch Galaxy Note.
I'm in the market for a new tablet, and whatever we see next week will likely determine which route I take. That, or I'll just have to wait for March 7th and see what the iPad 3 entails. Either way, my hopes are high for what tablets MWC brings us this year. Maybe Samsung will have a flexible tablet up their sleeve.
Samsung Galaxy Journal (Note) for Verizon
Oh, the Note. How controversial you are.
We know that AT&T has the Note as an exclusive for an undisclosed amount of time. But that doesn't stop the rumor mill from churning out possible details on a like-sized phone bound for Big Red. Ever since Samsung released the international version of the Galaxy Note, it has caused quite a ruckus. It's big. Some say it's too big. People like me are lusting over it. AT&T has it. And now Verizon customers want it – so much so that they've started a petition.
We don't know for sure whether Verizon will ever get the Galaxy Note Journal. But we can hope that if they are going to get it that we'll hear about it over the next week. And we can also hope that AT&T's exclusivity is short.
Quad-core, buttonless Android 4.0 phones
Leak after leak, we learn a little more about HTC's upcoming crop of devices. They've vowed for quality over quantity in 2012, and even though I'm not big on their more recent changes to Sense, their alleged upgrades in hardware are lust-worthy. Each render that surfaces is sexier than the last. Go ahead. Try to tell me the One X isn't one sleek piece of hardware.
Since this is a mobile event, though, HTC won't be the only one with new phones in tow. Samsung, Motorola and others will have their best on hand to try and blow our minds. I want to see lots of quad-core phones, fewer buttons (unless they're BlackBerrys) and more stock-like Android builds.
This is all kind of far-fetched. But with the completion of the Google buyout of Motorola Mobility on the horizon, who knows, maybe we will see something that hints at a little vanilla encouragement from El Goog.
I'm losing hope on this one in 2012, but we've also heard a lot about Samsung's and Nokia's plans for flexible devices. Maybe we'll see or hear a little more about progress on these devices. Or maybe we can get a glimpse of the Google Glasses that caused a stir earlier this week.
I don't know. I figure my hopes are probably a little high for next week's conference – as usual. But hey, I'm happy as long as I have new stuff to look forward to and I'm already braced for a letdown in the event nothing major happens. Anyway, tell us what you're looking forward to and hoping to see in the comments below!
Image via International Business Times AU