Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona has now begun, starting with some of the mobile industries big hitters unveiling their 2015 generation of new devices to the public. What follows is the two biggest developments to come out of MWC 2015 so far. Don't forget you can also meet 51Degrees at MWC 2015 in Hall 7 Stand 7C70b.
The Samsung Unpacked event at MWC 2015 brings two new smartphones to the market. The next incarnation of the popular Galaxy line - Galaxy S6, and an edged variant of the aforementioned - Galaxy S6 Edge, inspired by last years Galaxy Note Edge.
Samsung's Galaxy S6 has received a more radical design overhaul than previous generations, the plastic casing has been replaced with a glass shell housed within a metal frame which gives the device a much nicer premium feel. Although some may be disappointed to hear that the water and dust resistance introduced with the Galaxy S5 has been dropped this time around, whether this is a conscious decision or a trade off due to the premium materials is unknown.
The Galaxy S6 display is a 5.1" Super AMOLED packing a very high 557 pixels per inch, far beyond what the average human eye can detect. Protection comes in the form of Corning's ubiquitous Gorilla Glass 4 and once again we get a fingerprint sensor on the home key which doubles up to support Samsung Pay, an NFC based mobile payment feature akin to Apple Pay or Google Wallet.
Samsung has eschewed Qualcomms high end chipset the Snapdragon 810 in favor of an Exynos 7420, the likely reasoning being some overheating issues that have been reported. As the Exynos 7420 utilises a 14nm manufacturing process rather than Qualcomm's 20nm this makes it more energy efficient but still retains similar performance to the Snapdragon 810. The devices runs on four Cortex-A53 and four Cortex-A57 processors, utilises a Mali-T760 GPU and comes equipped with 3GB of the latest generation LPDDR4 RAM. Unfortunately there is no MicroSD card expansion slot but the Galaxy S6 is available in 32, 64 or 128GB storage options.
A new ISOCELL based rear camera clocking in at 16MP with optical image stabilisation and a 5MP front camera is included as well as all the usual trappings you would expect of a flagship phone. Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS with GLONASS support, LTE Cat.6 and an IR blaster. The Galaxy S6 is powered with a 2550mAh battery while the Edge version has a slightly larger 2600mAh battery.
When it comes to the design of the Galaxy S6 Edge they have gone one step further than last years limited Galaxy Note Edge from which the curved display edges were first seen. The difference being that both sides of the display bend around the edges of the device rather than just a single side, this could help to shape the feature as worthy as a separate device rather than just a gimmick. Although having two curved edges could mean twice the potential for accidental presses as some Galaxy Note Edge users reported last year.
Naturally both devices will ship out of the box with Android 5.0 Lollipop, launch dates have been confirmed as April 10th for the first 20 markets with further countries receiving shipments in May. The available Galaxy S6 colourways are Pearl White, Sapphire Black, Platinum Gold and Topaz Blue. The Galaxy S6 Edge will come in Pearl White, Sapphire Black, Platinum Gold and Emerald Green. So far official pricing is yet to be announced but we would expect the Galaxy S6 to remain competitive with other company flagship devices and the the Galaxy S6 Edge to have a hefty premium cost if the price of last years Note Edge is anything to judge.
HTC One M9
HTC's newest flagship was also officially unveiled at MWC 2015, following on from the HTC One M8 we're now treated to the HTC One M9. Unlike Samsung's newest flagship which was in need of a new design the overall style of HTC's flagship remains consistent with the previous generations models that were highly lauded for their sleek design. Some small adjustments have been made to make the device smaller and lighter and the casing now has fewer parts, dual anodisation and a scratch resistant coating. Similar to the Galaxy S6 the One M9 also isn't water or dust resistant, from the bigger players in the industry this now leaves just Sony and Apple with water/dust resistant flagship phones.
On the front of the device the display is the same 5" Super LCD3 1080p screen and BoomSound stereo speakers from the previous One M8 model, however the speakers have been improved further by Dolby Sound technology and the screen has received minor technology improvements for colour rendering. At the heart of the device HTC have plumped for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 chipset with an octa-core 64-bit processor, four Cortex-A57 cores running at 2.0GHz and four Cortex-A53 at 1.5GHz. 3GB RAM and an Adreno 430 GPU finish up the internal hardware whilst storage will top out at 32GB, there is also a MicroSD card slot available expanding storage by another 128GB, which is greatly appreciated.
As expected of all major flagships these days we'll also get LTE compatibility, Cat.6 or Cat.9 depending on region, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, TV-out and GPS with GLONASS support. This time the dual camera technology seen in the rear cameras of the HTC One M7 and One M8 has been dropped in favour of a new 20MP camera with 1/2.3" BSI sensor from Toshiba, although optical image stabilisation is not available. The dual camera technology hasn't been thrown away completely, instead it's been moved to the front facing camera which now uses a 4MP UltraPixel sensor similar to the rear cameras of the previous flagship models.
As is to be expected the HTC One M9 will run Android 5.0 Lollipop running HTC's new Sense 7 UI. Sense 7 supports BoomSound connect which enables the phone to combine the internal speakers with external ones to achieve surround sound. Four new colourways will be available for the One M9, two with a single tone; Gun Metal Gray and Gold, and two with dual tones; Silver with a Rose Gold accent and Pink with a Gold accent. The HTC One M9 will launch later this month and at least one retailer has so far put the price at $649.99.
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