Once upon a time, Mobile World Congress was a place where we might hear about new Lumia devices, or even new mobile-facing peripherals from Microsoft, like that crazy folding Bluetooth keyboard that didn't really catch on. Alas, now it's a sea of Android devices, maybe with the occasional Windows laptop thrown in, but Microsoft's presence there is a long way from what it used to be.
In any case, for those of us who have fled the sinking ship that is Windows 10 Mobile (and those of us waiting, desperately, for whatever Microsoft's Andromeda device might be), Android is the next-best thing for users of the Microsoft ecosystem.
So, what has been happening in the world of Android at MWC 2018 this week? If you're a Nokia fan at least, there might be something of interest in there for you.
Nokia 8 Sirocco revealed (and more)
Nokia revealed its latest flagship, the rather sexy stainless-steel Sirocco, complete with a curved display and Zeiss optics Lumia fans will find familiar. Our pals at Android Central described it thusly.
The phone built every bit as well as I'd expect for €749. The stainless steel body gives the phone a solid, consistent feel throughout and the glass is perfectly sculpted. Using what I'm sure are not full-production devices here at MWC 2018, everything was tight and well manufactured. No matter what angle or distance you're at, the thing is just gorgeous. Nokia's designers were clearly given the liberty to try new things, and took it.
For €749 (matching Samsung's own recently announced Galaxy S9), you'll get a Snapdragon 835 with 6GB of RAM, powered by Android One. Including 128GB of storage, 3260mAh battery, Quick Charge 4.0, Qi wireless charging and IP67 water resistance. Dual Zeiss-branded cameras rock the back, boasting a primary 12MP 1.4-micron sensor and f/1.75 lens, and a 13MP 1-micron sensor with f/2.6 telephoto lens as the secondary.
Nokia also announced a refreshed mid-range Nokia 7+ device, a low-end Nokia 1 handset powered by Android Go (which doesn't look terribly unlike the colorful Lumia 5xx devices), and a revival of their classic "banana phone," made famous by the Matrix movies.
To find out more, head over to Android Central.
Samesung Samsung Galaxy S9 series revealed
Samsung announced its inevitable Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagship devices at MWC 2018 as well, although the differences between this and last year's model are pretty hard to spot.
As described by Android Central, the biggest changes come in the form of a new placement for the fingerprint sensor, and a tweaked camera experience.
Samsung has kept the primary sensor at 12 megapixels, but that's where the similarities end. The S9 and S9+ have adjustable apertures, switching seamlessly between f/1.5 and f/2.4. The Galaxy S9+ also gets a second 12MP sensor with a "telephoto" lens that provides 2x lossless zoom, and facilitates Live Focus, Samsung's version of portrait mode that debuted with the Galaxy Note 8.
In terms of specs, the Galaxy S9+ has an extra two gigabytes of RAM over the regular S9, which is different from last year's models. And, obviously, the fingerprint sensors have been relocated to a much more sensible place on the back of the phone — below the now-vertical camera modules.
If you're still using the Samsung Galaxy S8, you can most likely give this phone a miss. It's definitively an iterative update, but should go over well with those still hanging on to the S6 or S7.
Android Central has put together a ton of helpful content on the Galaxy S9 series you should definitely check out.
LG unveils the worst-named phone ever
Last year LG unveiled the V30, which is widely regarded as a solid Android flagship in a world of Samsung dominance. Much like Samsung, LG has opted for an iterative update to its V30 flagship this year, while simultaneously giving it a name that only Microsoft could outdo for clumsiness. Say hi to the LG V30S+ ThinQ! Hereon known as the V30S.
The design is largely the same, albeit with a few new color options. The only hardware change of note is an upgrade to 6GB of RAM and boosted internal storage, starting at 128GB. The most interesting aspect of the phone is the "ThinQ" AI technology, which provides an array of unique features. The camera can detect the types of objects and scenery in a shot, and prioritize the settings to produce the best images, or so goes the theory. The camera also comes with improvements for low-light shots. It also comes with voice controls for LG's ThinQ range of home automotive products, via Google Assistant. Android Central's Alex Dobie notes that, like the V30 before it, the V30S will probably get steamrolled by the Galaxy S9 once again. Oh well.
What about Windows?
Welllllllllllll... not a great deal has been happening on the Windows front. We got a hands-on with Huawei's impressive new MateBook X Pro, which comes with ridiculously thin bezels (and an intriguing webcam solution). Beyond that, Microsoft and its partners haven't really shown up to the party.
That's a wrap! ... so far
So far, that's all the fun stuff from MWC 2018 this year.
Considering one of the most interesting things emerging out of MWC this year is the return of Nokia's 8110 banana phone, I'd say the mobile industry is ripe for something new, dynamic, and interesting to come and shake things up a bit. Like say, I don't know, a folding Surface-branded tablet with telephony! Of course, you, and maybe the rest of the civilized world may feel differently. If you do, sound off in the comments!
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