With Samsung Corp. forgoing its usual big press conference, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) as absent as ever, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) having exhausted itself talking up the Lumia at CES and a spokeswoman claiming Motorola Mobility LLC will only rehash old news, there's room for a number of other handset makers to shine. And, there are also a number of them that need to do so. Here's what companies I'm expecting -- and hoping -- to see step up to the plate:
- Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE): The Android supporter should seize the opportunity to show why it's better off without Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). (See Sony Mobile's MWC Debut.)
- High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498): The one-time Android fast mover has promised to home in on fewer, but better, LTE phones this year so it can begin to regain the market share it has lost to Samsung. (See HTC: LTE Handsets Disappoint.)
- LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) : Remember that other Korean handset maker? It plans to announce three new L-Style series smartphones, two of which include Android Ice Cream Sandwich at MWC next week. The company has also teased the LTE and NFC-enabled LG Optimus Vu and LG Tag. It's got all the right buzzwords covered, but we won't know much else about these five new devices until LG shows them off in Spain.
- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763): Once the distant, low-cost rival to the more established handset makers, the Chinese companies are now two of the fastest growing. And, they'll both announce devices that break into the high-end smartphone territory in entrenched markets like North America and Europe. Their progress will definitely be worth keeping an eye on. (See Huawei Builds Its Design Identity, ZTE to Unveil Mimosa X Handset at MWC and ZTE to Unveil LTE Handsets at MWC.)
The handset makers will all be vying for attention at the show from a number of other, less sexy, but no less hot, categories like Wi-Fi offload, small cells and VoLTE, but amongst the handset makers, it's a battle to show the best in Spain.
Check back to our MWC site to see which companies lived up to their promise and which fell short.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile