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zte-open.jpgThe ZTE Open has been revealed as the first smartphone running the forthcoming Firefox OS from Mozilla to be made commercially available.

Aimed at the lower-end of the smartphone market, the device will run the promising new operating system on a 3.5-inch device with a 480 x 320 display. Powered by a Qualcomm MSM7225A chip with just 256MB of RAM, it shows that the Firefox OS seems to be a fairly lightweight, flexible mobile operating system.

Other specs include 512MB of internal storage space, a 3.2MP fixed-focus camera on the rear, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and a 1200mAh battery.

Without an app store at launch, Firefox OS will rely on web-based HTML5 applications. Plenty of high-profile apps, such as Facebook, Cut The Rope and Nokia's Here maps are already available in HTML5 versions.

"ZTE continues to push the boundaries with the aim of bringing customers the very latest that mobile technology has to offer." said Mr. He Shiyou, ZTE EVP and Head of the Mobile Devices Division.

"ZTE has moved very quickly and has worked closely with us to develop a robust Mozilla Firefox OS smartphone," said Brendan Eich, Co-founder and CTO of Mozilla.

"Firefox OS brings powerful open Web technologies to the smartphone market, giving users more choice and more options that reflect their lifestyle."

The ZTE Open will be joined by the Alcatel One Touch as one of the earliest smartphones to sport the new OS. It's similarly spec'd out as an entry-level phone, with a 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz processor, 512Mb of storage (which can be expanded through a microSD card slot) and a 3.2 MP camera.

No word on release date or pricing for either handset yet. However, Mozilla have previously hinted at a 2014 launch for the Firefox OS in the US and Europe, though residents of Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela will apparently see Firefox OS phones popping up in stores before the year is out.

asus_fonepad.jpgBlurring the lines between tablet and smartphone even further is the Asus Fonepad, described at MWC 2013 as "a phone that's also a tablet" by makers Asus.

And though it makes calls, at 7-inches we're cautious to even use the dreaded "phablet" term around the Fonepad. In the size stakes its more or less the same as a Google Nexus 7 or Amazon Kindle Fire HD, neither of which we'd hold up to our ears for good long chat in a hurry. Those looking to nab a FonePad had best get used to wearing a Bluetooth headset, or at least be prepared to build up their biceps a little before attempting a call.

Ridiculous over-sizing aside, it's looks a solid device. That 7-inch IPS screen is running at a respectable 1280x800 resolution, with an Intel Atom Z2420 processor running the show.

A 3MP/720p rear camera is also onboard, while storage space can be expanded through the use of microSD cards.

Its saving grace? Its price; it may be huge for a smartphone, but it's affordable for both a tablet and a phone at $249 (£165).

Expect to see it in clown-sized pockets come March.

asus_padfone_infinity-top.jpgFollowing on from the confirmation of UK launch details for the Asus Padfone 2, Asus have revealed a new premium Padfone Infinity model at MWC 2013.

A seriously well-spec'd device, it's comprised again of a smartphone and docking station that doubles up as a big-screen tablet when connected to the phone module.

Looking closely first at the phone, it's a 5-inch device with a Retina-rivalling 441ppi Super IPS screen sitting within an aluminium unibody chassis. It's being powered by a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM, as well as featuring NFC tech and 64GB of internal storage.

On the rear sits a 13MP camera with "lagless" shutter speed and a low-light image sensor.

Moving onto the docking station, it's a 10.1-inch device that boasts a high resolution 1920x1200 display, a micro USB port and 1MP front-facing camera.

As a two-in-one device it wont come cheap, costing £875 (around $1325) when it launches in April.

asus-padfone-2.pngAsus's mad phone/tablet hybrid, the Asus Padfone 2, has been confirmed for a 1 March UK release, with pre-orders opening at £599.

The second generation of the tablet-docking smartphone was first announced back in October, and will be the first Padfone device to hit UK stores.

The Padfone 2 is comprised of two parts, a 4.7 inch smartphone and a 10.1 inch tablet dock.

The smartphone portion has a 550 nit 720p screen with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz processor and 2GB RAM. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the operating system in use, while the phone also houses 32GB of storage space and a 13MP rear camera.

The Padfone Station tablet dock turns the smartphone into a makeshift battery. Pop the smartphone in the slot on the Station's rear and it fires up a 10.1-inch 1280x800 screen, as well as offering a further 3x as much battery life. When docked together the pair weigh 649g - a little bit on the weighty side for a standalone tablet, but perfectly portable all the same.

Definitely one to check out if you don't fancy having to carry around two separate devices with you at all times.

MWC-Spotify-01-featured.jpgFord have used MWC 2013 as the platform to announce that they will be adding Spotify music streaming to their in-car Ford SYNC AppLink connected dashboard service.

The new EcoSport for European territories will be one of the first cars to get the new features when the SUV goes on sale later this year.

SYNC AppLink opens up a whole new world of content to Ford customers that they can access on the move by voice control while keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation.

"As one of the World's most popular music streaming services, Spotify is the perfect partner to demonstrate the benefits of the Ford SYNC AppLink system."

Spotify were equally thrilled:

"Our partnership with Ford AppLink will enable music-loving drivers to enjoy access to Spotify's huge catalogue of more than 20 million tracks safely, while on the road," said Pascal de Mul, global head of hardware partnerships, Spotify.

Ford's SYNC AppLink also allows drivers to safely control smartphone apps while behind the wheel by using voice control features.

Ford expect their connected dashboard features to be in 3.5 million European Ford cars be 2015.

alcatel_scribehd.jpgAlcatel are looking to muscle in on Samsung's Galaxy Note line with their new One Touch Scribe range, which pack in stylus controls and phablet sizes at more affordable prices.

The One Touch Scribe Easy has a 5-inch WVGA screen and dual-core 1.2GHz processor. As well as its stylus pen, the Easy comes with a MagicFlip magnetic iPad-style cover and oil-resistant screen, and runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1 OS.

Alcatel's premium Scribe handset is the One Touch Scribe HD. It's got a 5-inch 720p display and a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, as well as the MagicFlip cover. It's also got 3G+ connectivity, an 8MP rear camera and HD front facing camera, as well as the slightly-newer Android 4.2 OS.

The Scribe line's best features though? The colour range - the marketing executive who came up with Flash Red, Fresh Blue, Pure White and Flash Yellow deserves a medal.

No specific pricing information available yet, but expect it to be competitive upon the April release of the complete range.

samsung-homesync-top.jpgSamsung have got their sights set on your living room with their Apple TV-like HomeSync, revealed at MWC 2013 this week.

Connecting to a HDTV and pushing 1080p media content over a WI-Fi connection, it comes complete with an Android Jelly Bean UI and a 1TB hard drive for syncing with networked storage and Samsung's Galaxy smartphones.

As well as a custom media player onboard, the HomeSync will also feature access to the Google Play Store, hinting at the possibility of big screen Android apps being made available with the media streamer. It's not yet clear how these will be navigated, but its possible an accompanying app for Galaxy devices could land.

The HomeSync will also support as many as 8 password protected user profiles, keeping user's private personal media libraries locked away from prying eyes if necessary.

In terms of core specs, the HomeSync has a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, the afore-mentioned 1TB HDD, WI-FI and Ethernet web connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI-out and USB input.

No pricing or precise availability revealed yet, but expect a release some time in April

lenovo-a1000-a3000-s6000-tablets.jpgLenovo have gone tablet mad at MWC 2013, revealing not one, not two but three brand new Android slates. Two new 7-inch devices in the shape of the A3000 and A1000 have been added to their tablet line up, as well as the new S6000 10-inch model.

Kicking off with the larger S6000, it's a 10.1-inch tablet with a 1280 x 800 resolution 149ppi IPS display. It measures just 8.6mm thick and weighs 560g.

Under its hood sits a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, with optional HSPA+ connectivity for on-the-go browsing on offer too. Pitched as a "home entertainment" centre, it also has a HDMI-out port for hooking up to a TV, while its 8 hour battery life should see it through a good few Star Wars flicks if you're planning a marathon.

Both the A3000 and A1000 are 7-inch devices.

The A3000 has the same quad-core processor as the S6000, but drops the resolution of its 7-inch display down to 1024 x 600 (169ppi). It's an 11mm thick tablet, weighing 340g, and once again offers HSPA+ for on-the-go browsing, as well as storage expansion over microSD.

Finally there's the Lenovo A1000. It's packing in Dolby Digital Plus processing through its front-facing speakers, making it quite the portable media machine. It also houses a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, making it the weaker of the three tablets, and 16GB of onboard storage.

All three tablets use Android Jelly Bean, and offer Lenovo Mobile Access in select territories. No word on pricing or availability yet, but expect a Q2 2013 launch.

huawei-ascend-p2-top.jpgHuawei have revealed their latest headlining handset at Mobile World Congress 2013, the Huawei Ascend P2.

Claiming to be the "world's fastest LTE smartphone", it packs in LTE Cat 4 compatibility, meaning it can handle download speeds of 150Mbps over a mobile internet connection.

A 4.7-inch device with a 1280 x 720 pixels, 312ppi density IPS display, it's powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor backed up by 1GB of RAM.

Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (topped off with the company's Emotion UI 1.5), it's a slim 8.4mm thick, but still manages to squeeze in a 13MP rear camera and 1.3MP front facing snapper.

NFC will also be onboard in some variants (it differs by international market) while the Huawei Quick Power Control and Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) technologies built in are said to save power and reduce charging times. Like Nokia's Lumia 920, the Ascend P2 can be used whilst wearing gloves.

As for availability, the Huawei Ascend P2 will hit Orange France in June 2013, before launching globally in Q2 at €399 (£349).

"We're pleased to be working with Huawei again to enable our customers to have easier and faster access to all their favourite content," said Yves Maitre, Orange senior vice-president, mobile multimedia & devices.

"We are impressed by the design and look forward to putting the Ascend P2 into the hands of consumers as soon as possible."

hp-slate-7-top.jpgFollowing the failure of the HP TouchPad, HP are ditching their webOS operating system in favour of Android for their new HP Slate 7 tablet, revealed at this week's MWC 2013 conference.

A 7-inch tablet, its display runs at 1024x600 resolution, powered by a 1.6GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor and backed by 1GB of RAM.

8GB of storage is built in, while you'll also find Beats Audio integration, a 3MP rear-facing camera and a VGA front camera.

Android Jelly Bean is the OS of choice, with all the usual Google services such as Now, Search and more baked in. It seems to be a pretty pure build of Android on show with little in the way of HP's own tweaks offered, other than a pre-installed HP ePrint app for connecting to the company's printers.

Launching in April in the US, perhaps its most powerful feature is its price. Expected to land at at just $169 (£112) in both red and grey shades, it could give cut-price Android tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD a run for their money.

nokia-720-top.jpgNokia have used Mobile World Congress 2013 to show off two new mid-range Windows Phone 8 handsets, the Nokia Lumia 720 and Nokia Lumia 520.

The 720, pictured above, sits just below Nokia's Lumia 820 in the specs stakes, packing in a 4.3-inch WVGA screen and 1GHz dual-core processor. 512MB RAM is also included, as well as 8GB of storage that can be supplemented with microSD cards.

No PureView camera smarts on offer from the 720, instead getting a 6.7-megapixels with an f2.0 aperture snapper on the rear, and a 1.3-megapixels front-facing camera.

NFC is also slotted into the 9mm thin phone, which also can be paired with a wireless charging cover.lumia-520-mid.jpgMoving on to the Lumia 520, it's a 4-inch device with a screen so sensitive it'll even work with gloves on.

Again, a 1GHz dual-core processor is onboard alongside 8GB of storage that can be expanded with microSD cards. A 5MP camera sits on the rear.

Windows Phone 8 is the OS for both devices.

In terms of pricing, you're looking at 249 EURO (£218) for the Lumia 720 and 139 EURO (£122) for the 520.

samsung-galaxy-note-8-official-top.jpgSamsung have revealed the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet at Mobile World Congress 2013. An 8-inch tablet, its set to take on the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and iPad Mini.

Packing in a 1280 x 800 TFT display, matching the Note 10.1's resolution for a higher 189ppi, it's powered by a 1.6GHz A9 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. 32GB of internal storage is included, along with a 4,600mAh battery, squeezed into a 210.8 x 135.9mm chassis with a fairly chunky bezel.

Also under the hood sits a Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+21, as well as a 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front facing camera. Android 4.2.1 with Samsung's own TouchWiz will be the software onboard.

As with the rest of the Note line, Samsung have included an S Pen stylus, which can control the physical menu and back buttons on the device using Wacom technology, as well as opening up S Pen optimised applications once it's removed from its holster.samsung-galaxy-note-8-official-mid.jpgA Wi-Fi and 3G model will also be available, and with the HSPA+21 features will allow you to make calls from the 8-inch device, brining us a step closer to a Trigger Happy future.

An IR blaster is also included for controlling TV and home cinema devices, alongside a preloaded TV listings app. Flipboard will also come pre-loaded, while the Note 8.0 will optimise eBooks to display them at a more eye-friendly resolution.

No word on pricing or availability yet, but we'll keep you posted.

sony-xperia-sp.jpgFollowing on from the glowing reception given to their Xperia Z handset, Sony are said to be revealing the Xperia SP at Mobile World Congress 2013 this month.

A slight step down in specs from the Xperia Z flagship, the XperiaBlog site says the Xperia SP will be powered by a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, with a 4.6 inch 720p display compared to the Xperia Z's 1080p screen. An 8MP rear camera will also feature, with 8GB of storage space onboard that can be supplemented with microSD expansion cards.

Built with both aluminium and plastics, the Xperia SP is thought to weigh a chunky 155grams, putting it in league with Sony's Xperia T handset from 2012.

Like earlier models in the Xperia line, the Xperia SP may also again feature a light-up transparent strip on its bottom end that can be customised to glow differing colours depending on the notifications awaiting it.

Having blown their load a little at CES and the recent PS4 press conference, Sony won't be hosting a big press event at MWC 2013, but we still expect to see the SP and a number of other handsets on show from Sony at the Barcelona event. We'll pass on any official details of what is revealed as we receive them.

lg-optimus-g-pro.jpgDo LG plan to reveal anything actually at the MWC 2013 show this year? Following yesterday's reveal of its L Series II range, the Korean phone manufacturers have now revealed the LG Optimus G Pro smartphone ahead of the show too.

Looking to avoid the bustle of the show, LG have however not yet given over the full specifications of the Optimus Pro G. What we do know is as follows. Not to be confused with the Japan-only handset of the same name, this is a 5.5-inch device with a full HD 1080p display. That display is said to have a curved finish, giving LG's custom Android interface a "2.5D" effect.

Looking to take on the Galaxy Note 2 in the size stakes, LG's handset looks set to be more comfortable in the hand thanks to a smaller bezel.

Elsewhere, we'd expect the Optimus G Pro to be housing a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and likely a 13MP camera.

Set for release by the end of February in white and silver shades, we'll pass on more details of the LG Optimus G Pro as we get them.

lg-optimus-l-series-ii-mwc-2013.jpgRather than waiting for this month's MWC 2013 trade show to kick off, LG have jumped the gun and revealed details of their newly refreshed Optimus L smartphone range, with the updated line newly christened as Series II.

Promising a series of improvements and new innovations for the range, LG's Optimus L Series II line consists of the LG Optimus L7 II, LG Optimus L5 II and LG Optimus L3 II. Though similar in design to their "Series I" counterparts, the look of each phone has been softened overall, with more curves and rounded edges on show than previous versions, with "Smart LED" technology built into each handset's home button. Each phone uses an IPS display and will offer dual-SIM variants too. All also run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The top-end L7 II model will hit stores first (hitting Russian shops as early as this week), and is the only device revealed in detail by LG.

It comes with a 4.3 inch IPS display running at 800x480 resolution, powered by a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8225 processor and backed by 768MB of RAM. 4GB of built-in storage space is included, which can be supplemented by microSD cards. As a whole, the smartphone measures 121.5 x 66.6 x 9.7mm.

On the rear of the handset you'll find an 8MP camera with LED flash, with a 0.3MP camera up front for video calling. Battery life should stretch a bit beyond regular smartphone expectations thanks to the inclusion of a sizeable 2,460mAh pack.

We'll pass on more details on the rest of the range as they become available.

Acer Liquid E1 smartphone headed to MWC 2013

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acer-liquid-e1-mwc-2013-top.jpgFollowing its Chinese debut, Acer look set to launch their mid-range Acer Liquid E1 handset for European markets at next month's MWC 2013 show in Barcelona.

The 4.5-inch handset has a 960 x 540 touchscreen, a 1GHz dual-core processor backed by 1GB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera and a 0.3MP camera up front for video calling. 4GB of builtin storage space features, as does microSD support for those looking to boost the amount of media they can squeeze into the handset.
acer-liquid-e1-mwc-2013-1.jpgMeasuring 132 x 68.5 x 9.9mm and weighing 130g, the rear camera will be able to record 720p video, playing back with DTS audio support.

An FM radio is built in, with the low-powered phone managing to hit 8 hours of talktime and 400 hours of standby from its 1,760mAh battery pack.

Mobile World Congress kicks off on 25 February 2013. We'll be have all the news from the show here at Tech Digest, as well as pre-show rumour run downs, so keep checking back.

Samsung_galaxy-tab-2.jpgMobile World Congress is always a busy show for Samsung, given the way the company's Galaxy tablet and phone ranges have become phenomenally popular over the past few years. But it may be a particularly bust show for Sammy on the slate side this year, as they are now rumoured to launching at least four new tablets.

SamMobile (who have a good track record of bagging Samsung scoops) say that their trusted Korean insider has detailed four new tablet devices: two with the codename Santos, one codenamed Kona and another known as Roma.

First, the Santos set. These devices are expected to land with Galaxy Tab 3 branding, in 7-inch and 10.1-inch sizes, with 3G and Wi-Fi only variants leading to GT-P3200, GT-P3210, GT-P5200 and GT-P5210 code numbers.

Each Galaxy Tab 3 is expected to feature a 5MP camera, and will land in stores during the first half of 2013.

The source offered more insightful details on the Kona devices, set to launch as a stylus-packing Galaxy Note 8.0. As the name suggests, it's an 8-inch tablet device, thought to be running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.

It's looking incredibly slim at just 7.95mm thick and weighing just 330 grams. 3G and Wi-Fi variants will be available, with a 1.6GHz quad core processor powering the device, backed by 2GB of RAM. Screen resolution is set at 1280x800, using a Super Clear LCD panel.

16GB and 32GB versions will be available, with microSD storage expansion on board, as well as a USB 2.0 connection. A sizeable 4600mAh batter features too. Again, a launch during the first half of 2013 is expected.

Lastly is the Roma, which is thought to be the top-end model of Samsung's MWC 2013 range. Fewer details are offered here, with no confirmation on even the OS used. A 5MP camera is expected to be on board, as are 16GB and 32GB model variants. We'll keep you posted on any fresh details we hear.

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