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Tech Watch: Mobile Highlights From MWC 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) - The biggest event of the year for new mobile tech , the Mobile World Congress - or MWC, as it's called - is featuring an array of new smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Here are some of the highlights from MWC 2013 in Barcelona:

The $180 Nokia Lumia 520 is a very cheap smartphone and part of a trend to make smartphones less of the luxury good they are still today. The 520 runs Windows, has a 4" mid-res screen, no front camera, and a lower powered chip inside. But it would seem to do 90% of what the $600 phones do. Ditto for the Samsung Galaxy Fame which is a 3.5" Android phone

The Firefox OS made a big splash at the show. They are counting on the mobile device market being so big there is room for more than just iOS and Android -- and they are also counting on Microsoft being a continued flop in this market.

The key to Firefox OS is that it takes is DNA from the Firefox browser and can leverage the web as a big cloud of apps in a sense, as well as actual installed apps, all based on HTML5 and wide open. Firefox argues that this is ideal for a low end phone, that may not have the horsepower to run Android.

Tizen is another alternate OS, based on Linux, and Samsung will sell phones based on it in July or August.

The Asus Padphone avoids you buying a phone and a tablet that have duplicate processors, memory, and storage and simply lets the tablet be a big, dumb screen. The power and connectivity are largely in the phone. Seems cash efficient -- except they are pricing it well over $1,000.

The Emporia Connect phone is for seniors, or the phone phobic. Big buttons, but not orthopedic looking. Its a flip phone and has dedicated buttons on the side for camera and built-in flashlight. On the back, an emergency call button reaches out to 5 numbers you program and the phone has a remote management app you run on your smartphone to remotely program your loved one's Connect and its calendar, contacts and even shared online photo viewing.

If you are looking for the follow up to the Samsung Galaxy SIII, keep waiting. Samsung apparently decided it deserves its own event on March 14th.


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