The annual celebration of all things mobile is upon us once more and Strategy Analytics devices team will be blogging their first impressions daily. While Mobile World Congress doesn't officially start until tomorrow, handset vendors often look to beat the rush by making their announcements on the Sunday, and this year will be no exception.
Chinese telco giant Huawei was one of the first out of the starting blocks with the launch of the Ascend G6, which aims to bring the popular P6 design and 4G connectivity to the mid price-tier. Huawei has also launched a couple of tablets and unveiled its foray into the wearables market, which is set to be a major theme of this year's show, as is the mid price-tier smartphone segment, which is where we forecast a large chunk of handset sales to come from in the near future.
Firefox OS will be hoping to be part of that growth story, with smartphones focused on the mid and low price-tiers, and Mozilla announced a new reference phone - the Firefox OS Flame - today, in a bid to boost its ecosystem. Meanwhile Microsoft is renewing its efforts behind Windows Phone with the launch of version 8.1 which will allow lower priced smartphones to be built on the WP platform.
We expect there to be further announcements on Sunday and, of course, over the course of the week. We are especially looking forward to seeing what major vendors such as Samsung, Nokia, Sony and LG have up their sleeves. With all vendors producing hardware of a high standard, differentiation is becoming increasingly difficult, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see some novel hardware initiatives, such as bendable screens or modular handsets, make an appearance at the show.
Stay tuned for our daily update of the latest news from the show floor as MWC 2014 commences in earnest tomorrow.
Update: Mozilla also announced a partnership with chip-maker Spreadtrum on Sunday to target the US$25 wholesale ASP smartphone price point. Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch, which runs on its own Tizen platform, rather than Android as the previous version had, and LG launched the G Pro 2 phablet.