Live From Mobile World Congress: Day 1 [Liveblog]

Mobile-World-Congress-MWC

Good morning, folks. We’re up bright and early in Barcelona to catch the latest announcements from Nokia (three new Android handsets!) and Sony. Follow our live blog below to find out more about these and everything else we uncover on the show floor throughout the day.

Charlie is also running a live blog over on Cult of Mac, and you can tweet us at @killianbell and @mistercharlie if there’s anything you’d like us to check out — or just to say hello.

February 24, 2014 1:27 pm PDTKillian Bell

The Galaxy Gear Fit looks fantastic.

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February 24, 2014 1:16 pm PDTKillian Bell

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February 24, 2014 1:14 pm PDTKillian Bell

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February 24, 2014 12:57 pm PDTKillian Bell

The show’s over now, so we’ll go grab some hands-on images. Look out for them soon!

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February 24, 2014 12:57 pm PDTKillian Bell

All these devices will be available on April 11.

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February 24, 2014 12:56 pm PDTKillian Bell

In case you were wondering what that sensor is beneath the Galaxy S5’s camera — it’s the world’s first smartphone heart rate sensor.

Lots of world firsts tonight.

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February 24, 2014 12:54 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung’s smartphones may copy Apple’s, and they may be cheap and plasticky, but the company is really starting to do something special with wearables. These new Galaxy Gear devices are terrific — I can’t wait to check them out.

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February 24, 2014 12:53 pm PDTKillian Bell

And this is the Gear Fit. It has the world’s first curved Super AMOLED touchscreen on a wearable. It offers instant notifications and swappable straps like the Galaxy Gear 2, and it’s compatible with 20 Samsung devices. It’s the best fitness band available, Samsung says.

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February 24, 2014 12:49 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung’s now talking about the Gear 2.

The camera, speaker, and mic have been moved into the bezel so you can now swap straps. There’s also a home button now that makes it easier to, uh… return to the home menu.

There are also more watch face options, you can now change backgrounds, and there are improved notifications. More importantly, Gear 2 displays your heart rate when you’re working out, and plays your music — so it’s perfect for the gym.

Gear 2 also has a built-in IR blaster so it can control your TV, and it syncs with 17 Samsung devices. Like the Galaxy S5, it’s dust and water resistant.

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February 24, 2014 12:36 pm PDTKillian Bell

So, there’s are the specifications;

• 5.1-inch Full HD (1080p) display. Includes new features for outdoor viewing and a “super dimming” mode for night time use. Finally!
• 2,800mAh battery that promises 10 hours of web surfing on LTE, and 12 hours of video playback.
• 16MP camera boasts super fast autofocus (0.3 seconds) with technology “usually found in DSLRs.” Rich tone HDR that instantly controls light exposure — works for both photos and videos. Selective focus that offers shallow depth of field.

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February 24, 2014 12:31 pm PDTKillian Bell

This is the Galaxy S5’s perforated back panel. Looks a bit like a band-aid.

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February 24, 2014 12:29 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung’s focus when designing the Galaxy S5 was “human & life,” it says. So you get a “modern glam look,” a great camera, the fastest networking available in a phone, protection, and features that help you stay fit.

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February 24, 2014 12:27 pm PDTKillian Bell

More info on all these devices coming up.

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February 24, 2014 12:27 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung also announced Galaxy Gear 2 and Galaxy Gear Fit.

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February 24, 2014 12:25 pm PDTKillian Bell

Available in black, blue, gold, and white.

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February 24, 2014 12:23 pm PDTKillian Bell

It’s water resistant — big applause for that — and it has a built-in heartbeat sensor. Knox security is pre-installed, and there’s an “ultra power saving mode” for keeping you going all day long.

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February 24, 2014 12:22 pm PDTKillian Bell

And here’s the Galaxy S5.

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February 24, 2014 12:19 pm PDTKillian Bell

Customers want durable design, performance, simple yet powerful camera, faster connectivity, and a phone that helps them stay fit, Samsung says.

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February 24, 2014 12:18 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung now has 200 million Galaxy S customers worldwide.

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February 24, 2014 12:16 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung President JK Shin is now on stage.

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February 24, 2014 12:15 pm PDTKillian Bell

Samsung promises “innovative devices that fit with our time.”

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February 24, 2014 12:14 pm PDTKillian Bell

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February 24, 2014 12:14 pm PDTKillian Bell

Okay, it’s finally starting.

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February 24, 2014 12:10 pm PDTKillian Bell

8:10 p.m. Still no Galaxy S5.

Yet.

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February 24, 2014 12:05 pm PDTKillian Bell

Still playing…

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February 24, 2014 11:58 am PDTKillian Bell

Samsung has a live orchestra here. They’ve overdone it. Again.

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February 24, 2014 11:53 am PDTKillian Bell

Wait a minute, this is Cult of Android. I mean I’ll be live blogging the event from a Nexus 5, obviously.

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February 24, 2014 11:52 am PDTKillian Bell

I’ll be live blogging the whole event from an iPhone, so please excuse typos.

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February 24, 2014 11:52 am PDTKillian Bell

I’m finally sat down at the Samsung event and we’re waiting for it to start. There is a crazy number of people here.

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February 24, 2014 10:05 am PDTKillian Bell

We’re off to Samsung’s Unpacked 5 event in a little while, so be sure to keep an eye on the live blog from 8 p.m. CET (11:00 a.m. Pacific, 2:00 p.m. Eastern) to see what the South Korean company has up its sleeve. We’re expecting the Galaxy S5 (obviously), two new Galaxy Gear smartwatches, and a trio of new tablets.

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February 24, 2014 9:46 am PDTKillian Bell

Just picked up my new hire car — a Mercedes that runs BlackBerry’s QNX platform.

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February 24, 2014 9:39 am PDTKillian Bell

We weren’t expecting much from HTC at Mobile World congress this year, but the Taiwanese company has announced two new additions to its Desire family. This is the Desire 816, a midrange device with a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. It also has a microSD card slot, LTE connectivity, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 5.5-inch 720p display.

The Desire 816 runs HTC’s latest Sense 5.5 user interface, and it’ll make its debut in China next month. Its international rollout will follow soon after.

HTC also announced the Desire 610, which sports a smaller 4.7-inch display, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. It also has a microSD card slot, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2,040mAh battery. The Desire 601 will be available in Europe this May.

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February 24, 2014 9:29 am PDTKillian Bell

This is the Oppo N1 alongside an iPhone 5 in an NFC case. It’s huge.

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February 24, 2014 6:55 am PDTKillian Bell

They’re doing a Fitbit Challenge here at MWC. The person who takes the most steps this week wins a prize.

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February 24, 2014 6:53 am PDTKillian Bell

The HTC One max is still the nicest phablet there is.

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February 24, 2014 5:35 am PDTKillian Bell

This “Brick” is a Bluetooth headset for your smartphone.

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February 24, 2014 5:32 am PDTKillian Bell

You can dance to win a MacBook at MWC. @Mistercharlie tried it but his moves couldn’t cut it.

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February 24, 2014 5:31 am PDTKillian Bell

Oaxis cases put an e-Ink display on your smartphone.

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February 24, 2014 4:38 am PDTKillian Bell

I found him!

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February 24, 2014 4:00 am PDTKillian Bell

And there’s a mini version!

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February 24, 2014 3:58 am PDTKillian Bell

Braven’s new rugged speakers are completely waterproof.

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February 24, 2014 3:18 am PDTKillian Bell

Meet the new Sony Xperia Z2.

It’s equipped with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 20.7 megapixel camera with 4K video recording. Like its predecessor, it’s also dust and water resistant.

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February 24, 2014 2:49 am PDTKillian Bell

We were all expecting Nokia to announce its first Android-powered smartphone here at MWC, but what we actually got was three new handsets all running the Finnish firm’s new take on Android. Called the Nokia X, the Nokia X+, and the Nokia XL, the trio offer “phones for all” — and promise to bridge the game between Nokia’s entry-level Asha lineup, and its flagship Lumia family.

Nokia X

Nokia-X

The Nokia X is the handset we’ve all been hearing about for several months — and it’s everything the leaks said it would be. It’ll cost just €89 in Europe, and it features a 4-inch WVGA display, a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 4GB of internal storage, and a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera.

There’s also two SIM card slots for managing two numbers simultaneously, a microSD card slot, and 512MB of RAM.

Nokia X+

The Nokia X+ is just €10 more than the Nokia X at €99, so as you might expect, it’s not that different. In fact, it looks exactly the same, and has almost exactly the same internals — but its 768MB of RAM means it should be snappier when running apps and games.

Nokia XL

Nokia-XL-camera

The Nokia XL is for those who like larger smartphones, but other than its larger display, it’s not too dissimilar to the Nokia X+. It has the same resolution, the same processor, and the same RAM — but it does have a slightly better 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash. It also costs more at €109.

All three of Nokia’s new handsets run a heavily modified version of Android, with its own Nokia app market. Apps from lots of big-name developers such as Facebook and Skype are already there, and Nokia says users will be able to side-load Android apps from third-party sources as well.

Unlike other Android devices, Nokia’s will use Microsoft services like SkyDrive instead of Google’s.

The Nokia X is available immediately, while the Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL will be available during the second quarter of 2014.

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February 24, 2014 2:34 am PDTKillian Bell

The new Nokia XL looks nice, but its WVGA resolution on a 5-inch display is just nasty.

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