Tech Giants Descend on Barcelona for Mobile Parade
The world's biggest mobile phone makers and app developers will descend on Barcelona next week to show off their latest wares, with heavyweights like Samsung, Nokia and LG vying for attention in an increasingly crowded smartphone market.
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) has grown into one of the world's most pre-eminent mobile tech shows. It will showcase the latest trends and developments in the rapidly evolving sector is expected to attract more than 12,000 mobile app developers.
"MWC remains the preeminent mobile industry event where consumers and investors will turn for a comprehensive update as to industry developments and trends," David Garrity at GVA Research told CNBC.com.
Among the mobile phone manufacturers, LG and HTC could create the biggest buzz with make-or-break product releases. Both companies face a challenging year and are struggling to compete with Samsung and Apple. Nokia, which is also in troubled waters, will also be in the spotlight.
The Finnish firm, no longer the powerhouse it once was in the 1990s when it dominated its home stock market during the tech boom, is making inroads in emerging markets with the affordable Asha model. It is also expected to release a new Lumia 922 smartphone. According to rumors on technology websites, it looks like it could be a slimmer version of the Lumia 920 model. Nokia could release a 7- inch tablet, reports the TechCrunch website. Many see a tablet as the missing piece of Nokia's mobile strategy. The company declined to confirm any rumors.
(Read More: Is Samsung Closing the Image Gap With Apple?)
"Nokia is likely to expand its Lumia smartphone range at MWC and this will keenly watched by the industry," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics told CNBC.com.
LG is set to face a challenging year after an earnings miss at the end of January when the firm said profits in its TV division had tumbled to around one tenth of year-earlier levels. The group has struggled to break into the high-end smartphone market, but managed to sell 15.4 million phones in the last quarter, lifting its mobile business profit to 55 billion won ($50.6 million), versus a 2.3 billion won loss a year ago.
LG could make the biggest waves at this year's event with its 4G LTE-equipped Optimus G Pro phone with 5.5-inch display. The device, launched in Korea on Monday will be off to Spain for its first European outing. LG confirmed to CNBC that more phones will be introduced in Barcelona to coincide with the launch.
(Read More: LG Misses Forecasts as TV Profits Tumble)
HTC could also pull out the stops, with the firm parading its new flagship smartphone, the HTC One, released in New York and London on Tuesday.
Nitin Bhas, senior analyst at Juniper Research, told CNBC Tuesday that new HTC device could represent a make-or-break moment for the Taiwanese company to regain market share from Apple and Samsung.
"In the past twelve months they've lost their way, he said. "It's going to be a great device, but the main question here is: is that enough? Is that enough to pull the consumers towards HTC from Samsung or Apple."