Tech: MWC 2012 Coverage starts today!

MWC 2012, or Mobile World Congress, is an annual event where phone manufacturers come together to measure their e-peen size and figure out who’s the new bully in the playground. This year the conference starts at 9:30 today, and already major players have started their product unveilings, hoping to get the press and fans to their booths first to create that all-important first impression. This year won’t be the year of Symbian or Microsoft. It will, instead, be a great year for the Chinese.

Hang on, the Chinese? Yes, specifically Huawei, HTC and LG. While many eyes are on Samsung to bring out the Galaxy S III, and Nokia’s Lumia 900 and Pureview handsets, it’s the smaller players looking to grab the bull by the horns. Firstly, Huawei.

The company built a strong relationship with consumers through its mid-range line of Android smartphones in the Ideos range, offering great value for money and decent chipset performance. Many of their phones are officially stuck on various Android versions, but even the Ideos X5 can be flashed to stock ICS 4.0 – that’s quite an achievement for the brand, as getting ICS on even an old flagship like the Galaxy S takes some doing. This year they are going big by promoting their in-house designed chipsets on their latest flagships, dubbed the Ascends. Each Ascend shares parts and features, but the Ascend Quad D and DXL range deserves special mention. Using their own designs, Huawei have created their own quad-core performance chipset to rival Texas Instruments, and by all accounts it runs ICS as smooth as butter.

Being a value phone provider, it’ll also price its flagships below those of competing brands such as HTC, Samsung and Motorola to attract market share. Other new models are the Ascend D1, and the rest of the lineup to be revealed later this week are the Platinum, Gold, and Youtl, all named after precious minerals or extremely hard metals. This should be interesting.

LG jumped the gun earlier this week with their new L-range of phones. They’re reinventing their entire lineup and following a similar pattern to Huawei – they’re providing cheap budget phones that look good and can easily be mistaken for higher-end models, and that’s where today’s money lies. People are all about looks and brand loyalty, which is why Apple succeeds so well despite there being no apparent changes to the designs of its handsets when doing generation refreshes. LG will be showcasing the 4X HD (quad-core model like the Huawei Quad DXL), the Optimus Vu and 3D Max, the L3, L5 and L7 budget range mobile phones. All will be on the floor today, and I’ll be rounding up LG’s offerings later this afternoon, hopefully with some hand-on videos assuming people put them up today.

And finally, HTC. So far only the HTC One series has been shown on a huge backdrop at MWC, and revealed in their press confrence on Sunday. The One XL is a dual-core model using Texas instruments as its base, with a 720p 4.7” AMOLED screen, Android ICS with Sense 4.0 and Beats Audio. Yeah, you remember their laptops that came with “Beats”  developed in conjunction with Dr. Dre? Yup, it’s the same tech, and should keep HTC relevant to music lovers around the world.

All will be revealed by the big three Android busybodies today. Stay tuned for the coverage beginning at 9:30! You can follow me on twitter or Facebook for more info. You can also look at the MWC Brochure to find out more of what’s being planned for the week ahead.