Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service is attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain.
This is a summary of some of our main findings from Day 1 (Monday):
Nokia has a rich history of announcing major strategic initiatives at Mobile World Congress and the clear highlight of day 1 was another such bombshell. Nokia announced the Nokia X, X+ and XL: a family of smartphones running Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software, rather than the Windows Phone platform, on which all its Lumia smartphones are based. Since one of the main reasons for adopting Windows Phone three years ago was to enable differentiation from Android devices, this is quite a significant U-turn by Nokia, and is made especially intriguing as it comes just weeks before the acquisition of Nokia’s devices division by Microsoft.
The stated aim of the launch is principally to enable entry price-tier smartphones, with the Nokia X having an estimated wholesale ASP of US$85. Nokia is positioning these new smartphones as a bridge between the Asha and Lumia families. The other theoretical primary benefit to end-users is access to Android apps, although since the Lumia X family will not have access to the Google Play store, this will require developers to resubmit their apps to the Nokia store.
The other most prominent device launch of the day so far has been from Sony, which bravely decided to launch a smartphone and a tablet sharing the same name. The Xperia Z2 is the new flagship Sony smartphone, although with its 5.2-inch screen it’s actually a phablet, and continues its predecessor’s focus on waterproofing and imaging. The Xperia Z2 Tablet is a 10.1-inch device that claims many of the qualities - waterproofing, thinness, screen quality - of its smaller sibling, hence the naming scheme.
The other big device announcement of the day is from Samsung this evening, when it is expected to unveil the Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone. We will update this post as soon as the details are made public.
UPDATE: As expected Samsung launched the Galaxy S5 this evening in Barcelona. Since its predecessor was one of the best-selling smartphone models globally in 2013, Samsung has gone for an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to the Galaxy S5. The look, feel and size appear very similar to the S4, but Samsung has ensured it matches the innovations of flagship smartphones from competitors such as Apple and Sony by introducing a fingerprint scanner and making the device waterproof.