Mobile World Congress unveils new tech for smartphone community

Mobile World Congress started Monday, but some companies took the time to announce their products on the day before.

Like the Consumer Electronics Show, MWC is an exhibition of consumer technology (mainly mobile devices in this case) by vendors, manufacturers, etc. from around the world.

Below are highlights from the event so far:

HTC lifted the curtain off its One M9. It contains a five-inch, 1080p display, a Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage with microSD expansion, a rear-facing 20MP camera with a sapphire lens, a front-facing UltraPixel camera, the company’s critically acclaimed BoomSound speakers and Android Lollipop. The phone will go on sale in at least four colors: gunmetal gray, gold, silver/rose gold and gold/pink.

Before last year, HTC focused almost exclusively on smartphones. However, it returned to the tablet space with the release of the Google Nexus 9, and it has even made a standalone camera and video recorder in the RE.

Still, hardly anyone was expecting its and Valve’s Vive, an Oculus Rift-like device that uses Valve’s virtual reality technology with 360-degree tracking. Valve, of course, will make gaming content for the device, as well as partners such as Vertigo Games, Steel Wool Games, Fireproof Games, HBO and Lionsgate.

Samsung had its Unpacked event and has revealed the Galaxy S6. The specifications include a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display with a 2560 by 1440p (Quad HD) resolution, Samsung’s own octa-core, Exynos 7 Octa processor with four cores running at 2.1GHz and the other four running at 1.5GHz, 3GB of RAM and 32, 64 or 128GB of storage.

It will also come with a rear-facing, 16MP camera with optical image stabilization, a front-facing 5MP camera, a 2,550 mAh battery and Lollipop. The rest of the specs are listed here.

The company also revealed a variant of the device called the S6 Edge that has a display that curves on both sides of the phone. It shares most of the specs of the S6, but there are some slight differences, like the slightly larger 2,600 mAh battery.

Not to be outdone by Apple, Samsung also has its own mobile payment system, Samsung Pay, which uses Magnetic Secure Transmission technology to emulate an actual credit card swipe. This means Pay can be used for mobile payments in areas where there is no smartphone-specific payment hardware.

The system uses tokenization to encrypt data, and fingerprint scanning adds another layer of protection. On these devices, Samsung Knox and ARM TrustZone will prevent attacks made against the infrastructure. Samsung says that it should work at 30 million merchants around the world.

LG revealed two new smartwatches, and PocketNow went hands-on with the Android Wear Watch Urbane and the Watch Urbane LTE, the latter featuring webOS.

Alcatel brought us its Idol 3 devices. PocketNow also gave a first look to it.

Huawei looks to market its own wearables especially in the U.S. and it hopes to do just that starting with the Android Wear Huawei Watch and the hybrid designed TalkBand B2 and N1.

Lenovo unveiled the Tab 2 A-10-70 and Tab 2 A8 Android tablets and the Windows-powered Ideapad MIIX 300.

Lastly, Microsoft gave us a preview of its Lumia 640 and 640 XL. -mk

MWC continues through March 5. Check back here for more updates on the best happenings from the conference.

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