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MWC 2015 preview – Samsung vs. HTC for the heavyweight title

Despite Sony and LG’s best efforts, the 2014 Mobile World Congress was the classic one-man show scenario. Samsung came to Barcelona, saw what the competition had to exhibit, scoffed and conquered the event.

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The Galaxy S5 quickly fulfilled its destiny, and sold in tens of millions of units, although ultimately, it came short of breaking GS4’s sales records. The phone’s striking iterative upgrade aspect no doubt played a central role in its overall underwhelming box-office performance, but at the same time, LG and HTC obstructed the 5.1 incher’s rise to fame with two very solid contenders.

The One M8’s success gave HTC a much-needed ego boost, and now, the Taiwanese are looking to steal GS6’s MWC 2015 thunder with an even stronger M9. Meanwhile, LG is choosing to play it safe, leaving the door open for a slew of Android underdogs to challenge the show’s bronze medal.

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Lenovo and Huawei are among the higher-profile names also confirmed to swing by Catalonia in a little over a week, whereas BenQ is by far the most surprising and exotic near-certain conference participant. Without further ado, here’s what we expect to go down on the Android front between March 2 and 5, at the 2015 Mobile World Congress:

Samsung MWC preview – the perennial favorite strikes again?

What can we tell you about gossip darling Galaxy S6 that you don’t already know, or can’t find out from our recent comprehensive rumor roundup? Well, it’s bound to go for iPhone 6’s jugular in terms of slimness, at the prospective expense of battery life and build quality.

Samsung

Bendgate part 2 approaching? Hopefully, not, and the metal set to yield the “next big thing” will be capable of extra resistance. Okay, what else? There’s the as-yet unsolved Galaxy S6 Edge equation, with the dual-curved handheld possibly en route to a limited number of markets.

The Exynos 7420 processor inside both flagships is guaranteed to give the much larger Apple A8X chip under iPad Air 2’s hood a healthy run for its money. And as for ETAs, we believe the standard S6 could roll out commercially by the end of March, with the S Edge hot on its heels, in April.

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All done? Not so fast, since Sammy has made it a habit of pairing every high-end smartphone with a new wearable right off the bat. Unfortunately, the looming “Orbis” smartwatch is likely powered by Tizen in lieu of Android Wear. Next!

HTC at MWC 2015 – an honorable number two or distant runner-up?

However you might personally feel about the construction and looks of HTC Ones, the numbers don’t lie, and recent sales results simply cannot allow this beautiful dark horse to dream of defeating Samsung. At best, they can secure a key advantage over LG or Sony, which don’t plan to out their next-gen top dogs until April, at the earliest.

HTC MWC teaser

Can the One M9, aka Hima, pull such a feat? Of course, as long as the Full HD screen resolution is its only compromise. And as long as Snapdragon 810 works, matching the incredible raw speed of the Exynos 7420.

HTC probably needs the affordability upside as well for the M9 to at least play in the same league as the S6. And as far as the “Petra” smart band is concerned, we’ll be frank – we’re not overly optimistic. Rumor is the activity tracker will borrow some, but not all of the typical features of fancy smartwatches, and run a basic proprietary OS of sorts. Boooring!

Lenovo MWC preview – no Motorola, no chance?

It’s entirely possible a second-generation Moto E will (properly) break cover in Barcelona, alongside the 4G LTE-enabled 2015 Moto G that also got an odd, low-profile semi-unveil in Brazil. But there’s no new X or Turbo on the horizon.

Lenovo-Vibe-Shot

Just a few semi-flagships carrying Lenovo branding and thus due chiefly for Asian launches. The Vibe Shot is intriguing… if you’re into taking snapshots with your very short-lasting phone, while the Vibe X3 might actually be the all-round spearhead.

With a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen, octa-core Snapdragon 810 CPU, 3 GB RAM, 20 MP camera and so on and so forth. A trio of upper mid-rangers are also tipped for debuts over the next few weeks, although it’s unclear if they’re all headed to MWC.

Lenovo Vibe series MWC

The Vibe P1 Pro is all about that bass 5,000 mAh battery, the P1 will itself pack a gigantic 4,000 mAh cell, and finally, the S1 seems targeted at fashionistas, courtesy of many possible colorful exteriors, smooth curves and slim profiles.

Huawei

This up-and-coming Chinese underdog is weird. I mean, we’ve been expecting it for eons to get serious about its world domination prospects, and once again, Huawei employs a timid baby-step approach. No high-end Ascend smartphone is on its way to Barcelona, but instead one or two budget-friendly tablets will be taken on the plane from China to Spain.

Huawei MWC teaser

Also, and this is where things get (marginally) interesting, a standalone LTE-capable smartwatch. With Android Wear pre-installed, presumably, and a much lower price tag than Samsung’s Gear S. Too bad it’s probably not circular, albeit a curved design would also do.

BenQ (?!?)

First of all, who or what exactly is a BenQ? According to Wikipedia, it’s a 2001-founded Taiwanese multi-national seller and marketer of various consumer electronics, computing and communications devices. Another tidbit you might be interested in is BenQ apparently employed 1,300 people in 2013. 1,300!!!

BenQ-F52

And they’re thinking of visiting the world’s most glamorous mobile exhibition with a Snapdragon 810 5.2-inch powerhouse running Android 5.0 Lollipop on a 3 GB RAM system?!? That takes courage, we’ll give them that.

Aaand… that’s it? Nah, that can’t be it. For crying out loud, both Samsung and HTC want to whip out their big guns on March 1, so before the show actually begins, leaving us hanging for four frigging days after.

ASUS-MWC-2014

There must be other product announcements cooked up. Asus should have something wacky and original to showcase, like maybe a new PadFone or Transformer Pad. Or how about a bigger-battery ZenWatch 2?

Meanwhile, we know LG and Sony will insist on keeping their high-end cards close to the chest, but that doesn’t mean they need to do the same with their upcoming low to mid-end entries. Time for a proper Xperia M2 sequel, Sony, and perhaps a T3 refresh too. And you, LG, we want more than a “luxury” take on the G Watch R. Some new G Pads would be nice and, oh, F-series smartphone rehashes.

ZTE MWC 2013

Alcatel? Acer? BLU Products? ZTE? Archos? They rarely miss these kinds of shindigs, but they also rarely stand out with something other than ultra-low-cost gear that walks the thin line between utter crap and tolerable, lackluster machinery.

So yeah, overall, this is shaping up to be a Samsung/HTC double feature, with very few potential spoilers. Still a spectacle to look out for, starting March 2 1, only on The Droid Guy.