Top product launches at Mobile World Congress

The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC), currently underway in Barcelona, Spain, is one of the most important dates on the consumer technology calendar. Mobile operators, manufacturers and device creators from all over the world come to showcase their technology. Most companies also take the opportunity to launch new products and leverage off global attention.  IT News Africa compiled a list of the top launches that have taken place during the week.

Samsung's newly-launched Galaxy Note 8.0 (image: Charlie Fripp)

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Korean mobile manufacturer Samsung unveiled the latest tablet in the Galaxy range, growing the series of devices to an impressive number. During the show, Samsung introduced the world to the Galaxy Note 8.0, a 2-inch smaller version of the company’s hugely popular Galaxy Note 10.1. The company described it as a “new addition to the mid-sized tablet category” and has positioned it to take on Apple’s iPad mini. The only thing that is slightly disturbing about the Note 8.0 is that it has calling capabilities, which will be a little awkward when making a phone call on a device that size.

HP's 7-inch tablet, the Slate7 (image: CBS Interactive)

2. HP Slate7

Tablets has been a definite focus at this year’s Congress and Hewlitt-Packard has added to the frenzy of attention. The company showed off its Slate7, which has a 17.78cm (7-inch) diagonal screen and weighs 368 grams (13 ounces). It is also one of the first tablets integrated with Beat Audio. Running on Android, the tablet includes all the services one would expect, such as Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+. “Our new HP Slate7 on Android represents a compelling entry point for consumer tablets, while our ground-breaking, business-ready HP ElitePad on Windows 8 is ideal for enterprises and governments. Both deliver the service and support people expect from HP,” said Yesh Surjoodeen, PSG category manager, HP South Africa.

Nokia's new 105 phone, together with others in the latest line-up (image: Charlie Fripp)

3. Nokia 105

On the back of its release of the Lumia 920, Nokia used the Congress to introduce the 105. Instead of launching a high-end phone, such as the 920, the company decided to scale it down and incorporate Lumia features into cheaper models. The beauty of the 105 is that it will only cost around 15 euros – making it one of the cheapest Nokia phones available. CEO Stephen Elop said that the phone will be marketed across many spectrums because it is designed to be an ideal budget phone, as well as a sylish device for someoe who does not want a bulky device when going out.

Huawei's Ascend P2 (image: Charlie Fripp)

4. Huawei Ascend P2

Chinese manufacturer Hauwei launched what they called the “fastest smartphone ever” as they took the wraps off their Ascend P2 device. The device features a 4.7-inch display, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and operates on Android 4.1. In terms of camera, it boasts a 13-megapixel at the back and a 1.3-megapixel camera in front. According to Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business unit, the P2’s category 4 LTE radio is able to support download speeds of 150Mb/s, which he said made it faster than Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone.

Sony's new Xperia Z tablet (image: Charlie Fripp)

5. Sony Xperia Z tablet

Another tablet that made all sorts of waves in Barcelona was Sony’s 6.9mm thick Xperia Z tablet, which, according to the company, is the world’s thinnest 10.1-inch Android tablet. Bearing the same name as the Xperia Z phones, it also features the same design specifications – making it dust- and waterproof. “Xperia Tablet Z sets new standards in entertainment by matching premium specifications and Sony technology with cross-device connectivity and a consistent user-experience,” said Kaz Tajima, corporate vice president, head of UX creative design and planning, at Sony Mobile Communications.

Lenovo's S6000 tablet (image: CBS Interactive)

6. Lenovo S6000 tablet

Adding to the tablet tally at MWC, Lenovo launched three tablets into the wild. While the A1000 and A7000 are seen to be budget and mid-range devices, the S6000 is at the high-end of the business scale. It features a 10.1-inch IPS display with 1280×800-pixel resolution, 1.2 GHz quad-core MediaTek processor and a Micro-HDMI port. “Lenovo’s latest Android tablet family is designed to meet the demands of a wide range of customers, particularly young, active users who are always on the go, and have adopted the seven-inch form factor as their own. With these latest additions to our tablet portfolio, we’ve created devices that address these customers’ needs, as well as devices for more demanding gamers and multimedia users,” said Chen Wenhui, Vice President of Lenovo.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor