MWC 2012 Roundup: Nokia, Samsung & LG

One of the biggest surprise announcements at MWC came from an unlikely source: Nokia. The embattled Finnish mobile phone maker managed to get the tech world waxing lyrical about their new Nokia 808 PureView.

It’s the world’s first smartphone to feature their new PureView imaging technologies. Which means that the 808 comes with a quite ridiculous 41 megapixel camera. That’s right: 41. Quite what Nokia were thinking we’re not sure, but it’s a man-on-the-moon moment for the convergence of cameras and phones.

At standard resolutions (2/3, 5 and 8 megapixels) this means the ability to zoom without loss of clarity and capture seven pixels of information, condensing into one pixel for the sharpest images imaginable. At high-resolution (38 megapixel maximum) it means the ability to capture an image, then zoom, reframe, crop and resize afterwards to expose previously unseen levels of details.

The headline feature is obviously the 41MP camera, and although you can’t access all those megapixels, you can take 34MP photos that you can zoom into to dizzying levels.

In addition to superior still imaging technology, the Nokia 808 PureView, also includes full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world’s first use of Nokia Rich Recording. Rich Recording enables audio recording at CD-like levels of quality, previously only possible with external microphones.

“Nokia PureView imaging technology sets a new industry standard by whatever measure you use,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices.

“People will inevitably focus on the 41 megapixel sensor, but the real quantum leap is how the pixels are used to deliver breath-taking image quality at any resolution and the freedom it provides to choose the story you want to tell.”

The only issue with the 808 PureView is the decision to have the phone running on Symbian rather than Microsoft’s Windows Phone (we expect this to happen later this year, though). According to Nokia this will be the last high-end phone on its own Symbian OS.

Samsung were at MWC, although without the Samsung Galaxy S3, and showed off two new products that caught our eye. The first is a new tablet. While it might look like a Galaxy Tab, this new tablet is actually part of the newly released Note family of devices. The Note 10.1 is essentially a 10.1-inch version of the new Note Smartphone with the new S-Pen support.

Software-wise the Note 10.1 runs Android 4.0 with the Touchwiz and comes with pre-loaded versions of Adobe Photoshop Touch and Adobe Ideas which will be ideal for users who want the tablet for design and photoshop.

Specs-wise, there’s not a lot to shout about, apart from the pen. There’s a more than adequate 1.4Ghz dual-core Exnos processor, the screen comes with the usual 1280×800 resolution, a 3-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.3-megapixel shooter on the front. Connectivity comes in the form of a HSPA+ 21Mbps cell radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and you’ll find up to 64GB of storage with a microSD slot on the side.

Despite Samsung disappointing the tech world with no Samsung Galaxy S3 at MWC, the Korean technology giant did have a new handset on show to try and soften the blow. The Samsung Galaxy Beam is a new smartphone that comes with a built-in projector.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen a projector in a phone. In fact 2 years ago Samsung had a phone with a projector – but this new version is thinner, sleeker and runs a much more advanced version of Android OS.

While the projector is a nice touch, the 15 lumen of brightness isn’t going to win any awards, especially as you need a really dark room to see the projector image clearly.

The Galaxy Beam projects at a 640 x 360-pixel resolution. Samsung says that the Galaxy Beam’s larger 2,000mAh battery will keep movies and other content projecting for about 3 hours straight.

Beyond the projector, the phone itself sports a 4-inch WVGA TFT touch screen, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 1GHz dual-core processor. Built-in projectors tend to add a lot of weight, but the clever bods at Samsung have managed to keep the phone the typical depth of your average phone.

LG were at MWC touting a new quad-core smartphone in the form of the LG Optimus 4X HD. The 4X HD features the same Tegra 3 1.5GHz quad-core processor as the HTC One X. There will be a fifth battery-saving core that will be used to you’re performing less power-intensive tasks. The quad-core will then kick-in when you start playing games, rendering websites or multitasking.

Running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the 4X HD features a 4.7-inch high-res display for watching full HD video, packs an eight-megapixel camera with LED flash and 1080p video capability and 16GB of on-board memory (expandable by up to 64GB via microSD).

The LG Optimus 4X HD will launch in Korea first with a UK launch expected later in the year. Pricing is yet to be announced, but we’ll bring you all the news as soon as we get it.

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