Mobile World Congress sneak peek: Quad-core smartphones, Ice Cream Sandwich & more

Expect more powerful smartphones and tablets from Sony, Samsung, HTC and others, according to vendor invites and industry rumors

It might be hard to imagine there will be that much more for makers of smartphones, tablets and other wireless offerings to reveal at Mobile World Congress at the end of this month after the deluge of products that debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show to kick off 2012. But Sony, HTC and others have gotten wireless watchers in a frenzy already by issuing MWC event invitations and stirring speculation about Android 4.0, Windows Phone and quad-core devices.

The four-day show, which is expected to attract some 60,000 attendees, will feature keynote addresses by the heads of mobile device companies such as HTC and Nokia, as well as from AT&T, Cisco and Juniper Networks. It will also feature lots and lots of product introductions, technology demos and strategic plans.

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Here's a rundown of what we know, or at least what we're hearing and reading about, so far on the product front for MWC:

*Nvidia issued an invitation to an event celebrating its Tegra 3 quad-core processor, which has already shown up in the Asus Transformer Prime tablet and is expected to find its way into a number of smartphones as well.

*Sony has issued an event invitation for Feb. 26 that highlights the Android-based Xperia smartphone, the gaming-focused S model of which was introduced at CES.

*Samsung: One thing we know won't make its breakout at MWC is the Galaxy S3. The company has said the Android-based phone will be rolled out at a separate event by mid-year, though. However, the rumor mill is suggesting that Samsung might introduce at MWC an 11.6-inch edition of its Galaxy Tab tablet computer that boasts a powerful 2GHz processor. 

*HTC has received some pre-MWC buzz due to leaked photos of its anticipated Ville smartphone. Speculation is that the Android 4.0 phone will have a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, Beats Audio for music consumption and a 4.3-inch super AMOLED display, and that it will be offered on T-Mobile's network. HTC, which was relatively quiet at MWC, is also expected to possibly show off its quad-core, 4.7-inch screen Edge smartphone in Barcelona, according to the Android Community blog

*LG is also expected to join the quad-core smartphone party at MWC with its X3 device, according to the Pocketnow website. It says the X3 will boast a Tegra 3 processor, 8mp and 1.3mp cameras, a "capacious" battery, Android 4.0 (a.k.a Ice Cream Sandwich) and a 4.7-inch screen.

*Microsoft will ensure that MWC isn't all about Android by setting its Windows 8 Consumer Preview for Feb. 29 in Barcelona (not technically at the show, but in a nearby hotel). There will also be Windows Phones at the show, likely including the LG Miracle (1GHz Snapdragon processor, 8GBB internal storage, NFC support), according to Geek.com. 

*Nokia has sent the press a vague invitation for Feb. 27 at MWC, but hasn't hinted at what will come. However, the rumor mill has stepped in and assured us that the company has a high-end Windows Phone, possibly a new Lumia design, possibly something completely different, according to Forbes and other sources. Nokia, which has hitched its smartphone future to Microsoft, introduced its first LTE Windows Phone - the Lumia 900 - at CES. 

*Apple won't be making a splash at the show, but just as CES was filled with many Apple hangers-on displaying their accessories and apps for the iPhone and iPad, thoughts of Apple's anticipated March unveiling of the iPad 3 won't be far from the minds of show goers and exhibitors looking to differentiate their products from Apple's.

Follow Bob on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alphadoggs

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