Mobile World Congress, Day 2: Update #MWC14

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  • BARCELONA, Spain — Hard to believe it’s only day 2 of Mobile World Congress, which already feels like it’s been going on for months. The CNET team is now fluent in Catalan, cannot remember any food that isn’t tapas, and has renounced all other religions for that of Lionel Messi.
  • With most of the main announcements out of the way, it’s time for some of the smaller companies to share the limelight. Speaking of which…
  • Blackberry, Blackberry Z3We managed to snap a closer shot of the Blackberry Z3 at MWC 2014.(Credit: Brian Bennett/CNET)

 

BlackBerry unveils Z3 and Q20
Poor BlackBerry. Where once it would have merited a leading spot at MWC, the Canadian company is rather low-key here in Catalonia this year.

The Z3 is a 5-inch touch-screen phone running the latest version of BlackBerry OS, BB 10.2.1. It’ll hit the market for around $200, unlocked.

Give it credit — it’s not giving up on Qwerty phones. The Q20, aka the “BlackBerry Classic”, is a revised Q10, but specs were thin on the ground. We’ll have more for you soon.

The new flagship of the Desire range packs a 5.5-inch display, 13-megapixel camera and satisfyingly sturdy plastic.

(Credit: Aloysius Low/CNET)

Adventures in Tech explains Samsung’s Galactic dominance
Last night’s Galaxy S5 launch attracted so many people there was a stampede for seats — screams were heard — and it started so late that embargoed previews from sites that were prebriefed (including CNET) went live before the event even began.

But how did the Korean company become so popular? Why does everyone want to cover its new gadgets? Our own Luke Westaway outlines his theory in today’s new episode ofAdventures in Tech, which includes a frankly glorious animation of every Galaxy product ever.

Tizen takes on more
A year after it made its first appearance, Tizen is back at Mobile World Congress for more. It’s already running on Samsung’s Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, but as Andrew Hoyle discovered, Samsung and Intel want to take the OS beyond smartwatches.

For example, Tizen is powering one of Samsung’s cameras, the NX300M, and it will be behind the software of next-generation in-car entertainment services in Land Rover cars, among others. And what about the Tizen-based phones that we’ve been promised? Well, they’re supposed to debut later this year (that all we know). What’s more, the OS could appear in connected home technology like fridges to thermostats.

Hands-on with Ubuntu for phones and tablets (pictures)

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Ubuntu is up
Speaking of mobile OSes, Rich Trenholm talked with Canonical, the British company that’s developing Ubuntu. Canonical doesn’t have production-ready models yet, but Rich handled theMeizu MX3 and the BQ Aquaris. Though both are existing Android phones, they’ll also run Ubuntu before the end of the year. Rich calls it an “elegant and intuitive interface” from what he’s seen so far. You control the OS by swiping in from each side of the screen, with home screens replaced by customised and themed screens called “scopes”.

 

As for the phones, he was partial to the Aquaris, as its subtly rounded corners, slim profile, and slablike, minimalist rear side give it more style. Meanwhile, MX3, which is based on an existing Android phone, is styled “somewhere between the Samsung Galaxy’s curved glossy plastic and a classic iPhone.”

Nicole Madziwa

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