Mobile World Congress 2013 News Round-Up: Day Three

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Mobile World Congress officially ends on Thursday, 28 February, and while business will still be conducted and the show floor will be packed that day, the major products announcements have all been made. Here’s our final round-up of news from the show, but we’ll be back on Friday with our regular news round-up, ready to mop up any last snippets before the mobile industry gets back to normal next week.

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YotaPhone

One of the most unusual new smartphones on display at the show was the YotaPhone, a new device from a Russian start-up. At first glance, it’s a pretty standard looking Android smartphone, with a 4.3-inch, 720p display showing Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. But flip the YotaPhone over and you’ll find a similarly sized E-Ink display. You can transfer screens from the primary LCD over to the E-Ink screen with a simple gesture, and it’s compatible with everything from Google Maps to Twitter and your calendar. Wondering why this is cool? Imagine having your boarding pass permanently displayed on the E-Ink screen at the airport, or a map of the area always ready, but neither feature draining any power from the battery. This unique phone is expected to go on sale at the end of this year.

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ZTE Open

Firefox OS has caused quite a stir at Mobile World Congress 2013, with Mozilla’s stand proving to be one of the most popular, and almost always full of people. Alcatel displayed an early version of its One Touch Fire phone, but ZTE was the only manufacturer with a formally announced Firefox phone. The ZTE Open has a 3.5-inch screen with a 320 x 480 pixel resolution, a basic processor (its speed is unconfirmed, but will probably be about 800MHz), a 3.2 megapixel camera, GPS and a 1200mAh battery. The hardware reflects the low price Firefox hardware will have, and the real draw is the software. It uses HTML5 as the basis for all its apps and it’s aimed at young people and first time smartphone users. It’s a great idea, but don’t expect it to push any boundaries in the hardware stakes.

Sony and Firefox OS

While ZTE and Alcatel both displayed Firefox phones, Sony has released a development ROM featuring Firefox OS for the Xperia E, a phone which closely matches the existing Firefox hardware. You can see it in action in the clip above. Sony confirmed it’s planning a Firefox OS phone for release in 2014.

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GSMA Awards

Every year at Mobile World Congress, awards are given to the best mobile products, apps, innovations and hardware seen over the past year. The winners this year include the Samsung Galaxy S III as Best Smartphone, the Nexus 7 as Best Tablet and the Nokia Asha 305 as Best Feature Phone. Samsung also went on to scoop Best Device Manufacturer, plus Best Mobile Enabled Electronics Device for the Galaxy Camera. On the software side, Facebook won Best Mobile App for Consumers, while Evernote won in the business category.

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HP Slate 7

Hewlett Packard has rejoined the tablet game, after failing to score with the ill-fated HP TouchPad. This time it has selected Android as the OS, and it’s installed on the HP Slate 7, which has a 7-inch screen with a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. A dual-core chip and 1GB of RAM provides the power, plus there is a 3 megapixel camera on the rear of the aluminium case. This helps the Slate 7 feel expensive, however the price will be €150 at launch in April, so it will do battle with the cheapest Amazon Kindle Fire.

That’s it for day three of this year’s event, but as we mentioned, check back tomorrow for our regular Top Ten feature, this time with a  MWC 2013 bent.

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