Are you happy with your mobile phone? Want to keep it for the next two years? You’re probably in the wrong industry then. The chances are that if you’re reading this you’ll be at the Mobile World Congress next week, along with the great and the good of the mobile industry, or at least, the mobile industry, and eagerly awaiting to see what everyone, bar Apple of course, will be doing over the next few months.
MWC gives us the themes and notes that we can expect in mobile handsets in Europe for the next 12 months, so it will be interesting to see what’s on offer from an LTE perspective. In fact, my hunch is that that LTE could be the dominant buzzword coming out of the show by the end.
From a UK perspective, it all seems a little bit more enticing following the news the Everything Everywhere has said it’s putting its ducks in a row to get an LTE network operating by the end of 2012 using refarmed 1800MHz spectrum. With the auction of 2.6MHZ/800MHz spectrum not happening until Q4 2012, the chances of any LTE action in the UK happening until late 2013 seeming unlikely, so this is a boost.
There have been some LTE networks in Europe but as far as LTE handsets go, the US has had all the love so far. By the time you read this the Samsung Galaxy II LTE should be available for the lucky few on TeliaSonera’s LTE network in Sweden, while Vodafone Germany will be able to get their mitts on the HTC Velocity 4G. Speaking of HTC, it will be seeing MWC as a crucial event in which to re-establish itself as being relevant, having been eclipsed as the leader by Samsung.
Indeed, LG has been resurgent and we already know that Chinese manufacturer ZTE will be realised two new handsets, the PF200 and the N910, naturally both running Android. LG is rumoured to launch the LTE flavoured Optimus Vu and Optimus LTE
We’ll be keen to see what other manufacturers will be doing LTE wise. We’ll be keeping a particular eye on the announcements from Nokia to see how its relationship with Microsoft is bearing fruit. Nokia recently opened an LTE lab in California and it also has facilities in Finland and France, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something LTE related hardware for Europe appearing.
Then there’s the new look Sony Mobile, freshly divested of its Ericsson partner. That said, it might still be launching Sony Ericsson branded handsets that were put together before the divorce, but I can’t image that they will be LTE ready.
My hunch is that there will be a good few LTE handsets – but not a flood, and that next year every new handset worth its salt will be LTE capable.
Chipset wise, Nvidia has just announced a partnership with GCT Semiconductor and Renesas Mobile to build LTE enabled chipsets around is quad-core Tegra 3 chip. Tegra 3 appears in many devices from the likes of LTE so it’s a clear indicator of the way the market is moving.
Nvidia is trying to increase its market share in the mobile chip space ahead of the likes of Qualcomm as it Intel. It will be interesting to see if the latter can actually come up with a compelling smartphone play that handset manufacturers will want to adopt. As in powerful, natch, but also able to last more than 10 minutes in the battery stakes. (Breath holding not recommended).
Finally, along with LTE, NFC is another TLA that we should see bandied about with relish and abandon at MWC. Just BTW, FYI.
Are you going to MWC? What are you looking forward to the most? Would love to hear your thoughts.