Feb 01 AT 10:00 PM Taylor Wimberly 64 Comments

Mobile World Congress 2012, aka the quad-core phone show


Mobile World Congress is less than a month away in Barcelona and the anticipation is quickly building for the gadgets that will be announced. We expect to see all kinds of Android devices from tablets to TVs, but the star of the show will be smartphones. And at this year’s show a particular kind of smartphone will take center stage: the quad-core-powered-beast.

Why do you need quad-core performance in a phone? Some people will say that mobile applications aren’t ready to take advantage of all that horsepower, and for the most part they are right. In our recent interview with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang he explained the situation by saying, “It’s a little bit of the chicken and the egg. If the applications aren’t ready, you have to build a processor that inspires the applications to be ready.”

NVIDIA has already delivered their quad-core Tegra 3 processor to the OEMS and it must have inspired them to build some awesome devices because the number or rumored phones is starting to add up. Read on for the full list of quad-core phones that we should see at Mobile World Congress.

HTC One X (aka Supreme aka Endeavor aka Edge)

I still can’t believe I’m typing this, but HTC is rumored to power their 2012 flagship phone with a chip from NVIDIA, instead of Qualcomm. This comes as a shock for many since almost all of HTC’s recent phones have been powered by the Snapdragon processor, and Qualcomm has a minority investment in HTC.

This move was first hinted at last year when Stefan Streit, HTC’s VP of Marekting, said there was no exclusive deal with Qualcomm and “Nvidia or TI-powered smartphones and tablets are possible in the future.” Then rumors of the Tegra 3-powered HTC Edge started appearing in November, and it appears the phone is quite real.

Rumored specs of the HTC Edge include:

  • Quad-core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 processor
  • Android 4.0 with Sense UI 4.0
  • 4.7-inch display with 720p resolution
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Backlit 8 MP camera with 28-millimeter, f/2.2 lens
  • Beats Audio
  • 32 GB internal storage
  • HSPA+ 21 Mbps support
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Slightly over 10 mm thick
The high-end specs are nice, but I hope HTC has some surprises up their sleeves to show off what this hardware can do. Based on recent leaks, it appears that HTC’s Sense 4.0 UI really hides the beauty of Android 4.0, but we haven’t really seen everything it can do. Given HTC’s good reputation with the developer community, the Edge has a chance to become the most popular Tegra 3 phone.

Fujitsu Arrows Tegra 3

Fujitsu also surprised a lot of folks at CES when they were the first company to showcase a Tegra 3 phone. Their prototype Arrows phone was kept under the glass, but they had a working unit that was running the game Riptide GP on the big screen. Fujitsu has traditionally targeted the Japanese market with most of their handsets landing on NTT Docomo, but a company representative told me they plan to enter the U.S. market this year.

Highlights of the device include:

  • Quad-core 1.2GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor
  • Android 4.0
  • 4.6″ 1280 X 720 TFT-LCD
  • 13.1-megapixel camera capable of ISO 25,600 sensitivity
  • 1 GB RAM (prototype had 4 GB RAM)
  • LTE support
  • Waterproof and dustproof
Look for Fujitsu to unveil a slightly redesigned Arrows smartphone at MWC. We expect they could ditch the hardware buttons and go with software buttons we have seen on other Android 4.0 phones.

LG Optimus 4X HD (aka X3)

LG was the first company with a Tegra 2 phone, so we expected them to deliver another device based on the latest Tegra offering. Earlier this month, Evan Blass of PocketNow posted the first report of the LG X3, which he said is likely to debut at MWC.

Highlights of the device include:

  • Quad-core Tegra processor
  • Android 4.0
  • 4.7-inch 1280×720 display
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
  • 16GB of expandable storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, WiFi 802.11b/g/n
  • HSPA+ 21 Mbps support
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • Under 9mm thin

Everyone else is showing their Tegra 3 phone next month, so we expect LG to join the party.

Huawei Diamond Series

Huawei impressed us at CES with their Ascend P1 LTE phone, but the company says they have a new Diamond Series coming at MWC that will be their “smartest, fastest and most high-performing smartphone.” The Ascend P1 LTE was using the new dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4, so we expect the Diamond Series could feature Tegra 3. Not much else is known about the Diamond Series, so hopefully we learn more at MWC.

ASUS quad-core phone?

ASUS PadfoneAsus has announced they will unveil a newly redesigned Padfone at Mobile World Congress. Protoype units show at CES were running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor, but there have been conflicting reports that the final design could feature Tegra 3 instead. Asus produced the first quad-core tablet with their Transformer Prime, so it’s possible they could use the same processor in this flagship phone.

The Padfone is sure to impress with its innovative tablet dock that brings the smartphone’s content to a larger display. The tablet dock is also said to work with the ASUS keyboard docking station from their Transformer tablets, so this could be one of the most interesting products we see at MWC.

Samsung, Motorola, and Meizu

In addition to all the leaked quad-core phones, we might see a few surprises. Samsung will not be showing their Galaxy S III phone at MWC, but they will be showing several exciting new mobile products that could include some quad-core devices. These products could be powered by Samsung’s own quad-core Exynos 4412 processor or Samsung could use NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 again (like they did with the Galaxy Tab 10.1).

Motorola appears to be firmly aligned with Texas Instruments processors, but they have a history of dual-sourcing their parts. We saw Motorola use Tegra 2 for their Xoom tablet and Atrix smartphone, so it’s always possible they could surprise us with a Tegra 3 device. My gut tells me they will debut a couple products powered by the new dual-core 1.8 GHz OMAP4470, but anything is possible.

Finally, we could see a special appearance by the Meizu MX quad-core phone. Their dual-core model was powered by the Exynos 4210 and their quad-core model is rumored to use the Exynos 4412, but that chip is not official yet so anything is game.

And the competition?

NVIDIA will steal the show at Mobile World Congress when it comes to mobile quad-core processors, but they won’t be the only game in town. Qualcomm will make a strong showing with their dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4, Texas Instruments will impress with their dual-core 1.8 GHz OMAP4470, and Samsung could reveal their dual-core 2.0 GHz Exynos 5250.

Even though Qualcomm, TI, and Samsung may have chips that offer faster performance, it looks like the average consumer already assumes that quad-core is better than dual-core. I believe most of these chips will offer performance numbers in the same ball park, and the average consumer doesn’t care who wins the different benchmark scores. It will come down to which OEM can best take advantage of the hardware they choose and who can deliver new user experiences that will excite the customer.

My prediction? With Samsung holding their Galaxy S III for a separate event later in the year, HTC comes away with the best smartphone of MWC 2012.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    I can’t wait!!! #excited Take that apple ;)

    • Groinko

      There’s only one thing to do: wait! :) I’m ok with my GN.

  • YMS123

    HTC with Nvidia processor!? TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!! Just put one on Sprint please

    • Jeff Pan

      I just hope that really happens!

    • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

      I don’t understand this hype about HTC with Nvidia chips. I would get pumped up if HTC would start making their comeback. I especially love the Huawei phones, they had a long road coming from extremely cheap, but useful phones to the high end phones they are announcing now. Asus is on the right track, even if Transformer has GPS issues. Samsung said they reserved a separate event, but I believe they will bring more 5 inches devices. Fujitsu comes as a surprise to me and LG has a lot to prove. I will especially monitor the news about tablets

      • epps720

        I agree (despite a couple setbacks) Asus seems to be doing everything right and that Huawei phone is looking real good. But can’t wait to see what other tablets are on the horizon. In the market for a new tablet, Transformer Prime is leading the pack for me right now.

    • BKLeahy

      I’m right there with you IMS. Up for renewal w/ Sprint 3/1/12. Love HTC, really want something with those, Edge, specs.

  • txbluesman

    ASUS….just wicked!

    • http://theinternet-allofit.blogspot.com Jorge Branco

      I think I’m quickly becoming an asus fanboy. They’re doing some seriously innovative stuff

      • Vyrlokar

        If I didn’t have a TF101, I would be looking at the padphone to replace my aging HTC Desire. As it goes, I’ll keep my desire (given a new youth thanks to Cyanogenmod) for a year more, and get the Padphone 2. Really, Asus is one of the few companies that isn’t rehashing their old designs. I’m looking at you, HTC!

        • delinear

          Yeah, I don’t really “get” the padphone (I can’t imagine why you’d want to tie your phone this closely to your tablet, surely that will hurt when you come to change phones, and if you can carry the screen around you can just as easily carry a separate phone + tablet) HOWEVER, I respect that they are at least trying to push the boundaries of what is possible.

          I absolutely love the look of the Transformer Prime and I’ve yet to see anyone pull of that concept quite as well as Asus, so maybe Padphone will prove me wrong and carve out its own niche as well. As a company they seem to be on the right side of giving the customer what they want (i.e. they don’t always get it right but they seem to be trying) so in my book they deserve a lot of success.

          • Hue Three of Five

            I hear you. I have a Bionic with a lapdock. But its a shame I can’t use it with non-motorola devices, because I will never buy another Moto again unless they give us the keys to the bootloader.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    All these phones look amazing! I can’t wait to see what else OEMs can show at MWC :-)


    should be fun reading the reports and watching the videos

  • Fulaman

    Why are the phones all using Capacitive Touchscreen buttons still?

    • Logan Edwards

      I was just wondering the same thing. I thought that ICS (4.0) negates the need for hardware based buttons. This is ridiculous. Let’s see this beautiful hardware work in harmony with the intended design of Android 4.0.

      • n25philly

        My guess is that they were in development before ICS came out. Kind of expensive to go and redesign your phone at the last minute.

      • delinear

        It negates the need but not necessarily the want. Some people prefer their hardware buttons. I loved mine on the original HTC Desire, but I love the software keys on the Nexus/ICS too. For some people hardware keys are a style and/or usability plus (and of course, it’s good that we get to choose).

        • bparkey

          It doesn’t seem like we are getting to really choose though. So far there is one phone that is designed with no buttons, the Galaxy Nexus, the rest have them still. That isn’t much of a choice.

  • Nate B.

    That’s one, thing I wish people would understand, just because it says its quad core they assume more is better when Sammy has a dual core that can pump out more. Either way I hope they find a way to get the use out of it. Application and performance wise. Real HD displays and battery life. Awesome premium applications to go with it.

    • Fulaman

      We don’t know for sure if Samsung will use a Dual-core. For all we know it could be an A15 Quadcore

      • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

        First A15 chips will be 2x A15 cores. But someone could add some little CPU cores and still get away with calling their SoC a quad-core.

        • Bart

          But then wouldn’t it still be dual core? Tegra 3 is a quadcore despite of the fact it has a 5th companion core, hence dual core A15 with LITTLE.big processing would still be dual core as only the A15 cores or the A7 cores would be active. At least in my opinion it’s still dual core:P

  • Chris Lewis

    Nice roundup on MWC. Can’t wait to see what actually comes out!!!

  • classic_hero

    the anticipation is slowly killing me

    • Dan13

      You and me both.

      • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

        This is the best part! The anticipation is what makes it worth waiting for :) The good thing is that I will be able to watch it live (I live in Europe) :D

  • anang arief


  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    Agree it would be nice if the vendors showed the benefits of quad-core with actual (beta) apps that take advantage of it, not just treat quad-core as a feature checklist item, and move on to another checklist item.

  • Hall Lo

    Cant wait! More quad-core Android devices plz! ;D

  • kosar

    i think the phones are good enough to be just smart phones and the size wise !! i think 4-4.3inch is enough bigger than that iys not for most of guys .
    whats important is battery life and nice screen , and fonts such as arabic ( right to left ) its shame that a tablet that worth a lot of money wont read right to left fonts ….

  • Zak Lambert

    I’ll just wait for the next round. Sense 4 is ugly and so are capacitive buttons.

  • Kenneth Ohonba

    Awesome phones gets me excited lol.

  • Mr. Green

    HTC please kill capacitive buttons and exchange them with on-screen buttons like the Galaxy Nexus,

    Right now your future android phones and windows phones will have 3 capacitive buttons and would be hard to notice the different between both, kills the uniqueness of each.

    • delinear

      Making all Android phones the same is what kills uniqueness. I love my Nexus soft buttons. My parents, on the other hand, would almost certainly prefer hardware/capacitive buttons. The beauty of Android phones is that, unlike some other brands, the customer gets to choose. That’s what made Android popular. I’d rather live in a world with choice, even if it results in some phones/features we don’t like, than a world without choice.

    • NotRelevent

      Ha, that and Sense. There no point in it anymore with the release of ICS. Not there was ever any point to it anyway.

  • AsakuraZero

    my money is on the padphone, why? its modular design they make them more sexy and fk samsung and their A15 chip.

    aside of being a fanboy, lets see whats happen, it would be nice to see more A15 cores on the phones.

    a15 on a padphone sounds sexy and way too possible

  • spazby

    As exciting or even more exciting than CES…

  • laden_ea

    htc will be the show stealer for sure……

  • cthonctic

    Wow, the Edge does look like a pretty nice package. This could bring HTC right back to the top in my eyes.

    Some of the other devices look nice as well (look as in how I imagine them to handle in my hand, of course), but I really want to see what the GSIII offers before seriously thinking about getting any of these.

  • Mr. Green


    HTC Sensation XL successor would be amazing, something akin to the Samsung Galaxy Note would be wicked!

  • azulpiscina

    I want that padphone!


    Phone + Tablet + Keyboard dock…

  • Paul Atreides

    I also would like to see more devices without the hardware buttons. I wonder if Samsung really used on-screen buttons for the SIII.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    2012 is going to be ridiculous as far as smartphones go!

  • Nathan D.

    Lets see some beast chips, this year will be a good year at MWC for phones, can’t wait to see them.

  • Dan G

    Pad phone is definitely pretty intriguing especially with the keyboard dock compatibility, the only issues i see are getting a call in tablet mode and what the tablet and phone screen resolutions would be. Especially with rumors of Samsung’s 2600 X 1600 tablet refresh. Plus SIII is looking like it will absolutely ridiculous in terms of specs, hopefully they can bust out dual core a15′s in both of them.

  • Mike H

    That HTC phone is looking like the monster I’d like in my pocket. I have a Nvidia T2 tab. I’d love a T3 phone from those Nventive geniuses

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Since Sammy is holding back, HTC will have the most popular device at MWC… BUT, ASUS will have the most innovative and exciting (to us geeks) device with the Padfone. If they really hyped that up and marketed it well, that could come away as the winner. That is beginning to be some really cool stuff! Too bad, though, that Android still needs to grow up quite a bit more before it can be a viable laptop OS. Sure, it’s good enough to get by for some but it’s not good for that purpose and it really needs to grow up a bit more to become good for that purpose. I predict that Android 7.0 (Pumpkin Pie) will be viable for that.

  • vitriolix

    “Android 4.0″ … nice, nice … “with Sense UI 4.0″ … oh god why

  • slurms mckenzie

    “HTC is rumored to power their 2012 flagship phone with a chip from NVIDIA, instead of Qualcomm” its about fucking time but im holding out for the best which is samsung. unless someone beats their exynos i wont go with anything else

  • yankeesusa

    This is awesome! I can’t wait for all the new phones in the next coming months. I get my renewal in June and now that best buy has a best buy mobile store and offering $50 I’m looking forward to this.

  • Max.Steel

    Don’t fall for the hype. Remember all the hoopla about dual core. Talk about a whisper when it became mainstream…

  • greeny42

    Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme! The HTC Edge looks pretty.

  • Matt

    Sense is always such a resource hog..I doubt 1gig RAM will be enough..Probably have like less then 50mb left over once all the sense crap loads..

  • Tonyg

    I like the pad phone but im wating for samsungs bendy screens hope i dont have to wait long galaxy s 10 lol till then its back to my galaxy s1 with right software ie caustic ill keep creeping along.

  • Ishken

    So only 1GB of RAM still huh? That is probably the most disappointing and unspoken news in this article. Quad cores are nice and all, but wouldn’t it just be easier to boost performance by adding more RAM to the current processors than throwing in a processor that won’t be fully utilized for a long while? Seems like a waste or an opportunity to me.

  • djembeman

    I wonder what carrier the Asus PadFone will be available on. Maybe they’ll figure out their supply issues this year too?!?

  • WlfHart

    /drools while grinning with joy
    I agree on the unspoken cap of 1GB RAM though…

  • mibifidus

    This is the asus and meizu mobile world congress!! No Samsung with SIII…

  • staryoshi

    I’ll be excited when we see phones with 2GB LPDDR3 (LPDDR2 is the current standard) hit the market. We can have higher capacity, faster ram, and lower power consumption then :)

  • Schmidty850

    WOW!! That HTC phone and that ASUS phone/tablet looks sick!! I wish I could have these as they look amazing. I think it’s crazy how these phones/tablets have gotten to the point where they are better than my computer

  • sperry

    The galaxy s3 and the Edge from HTC looks awesome. I wish samsung could launch the galaxy note in the US with ICS and quad core chips, even if that will mean a long delay but it’ll be worth the wait. I bet they would have a smash hit on their hands.

  • Raven

    OMG quad core 2.0 GHz duel core I don’t know what this means but I want one!