Samsung kicks off MWC device announcements

BARCELONA, Spain--Samsung got the ball rolling on Mobile World Congress device announcements, unveiling the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge on the eve of the event, here.

The phones are a dramatic departure from previous models because of their aluminium rather than plastic-backed casing, and are a direct attempt to answer criticisms that the largest smart phone manufacturer by volume was not doing enough to update its design and features--especially after the release of the iPhone 6. 

The Galaxy S6 will be available on April 10 in 20 countries.

HTC also debuted a new flagship device on the eve of the Mobile World Congress. The device runs on Android, sports Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU with 64-bit processing, and a new 20-megapixel camera. The company's wearable HTC Grip is also attracting attention. The fitness tracker powered by Under Armour's fitness app is targeting not only serious athletes, but going head to head with Nike's aging Fuelband. While the Fuelband is still available for purchase, it will not be updated or released in future iterations.

Also on the wearable front, the Huawei Watch with an Android operating system, hopes to attract consumers ahead of the April launch of the Apple Watch. By midyear, Huawei's product will be available in 20 countries including most of Europe, Asia and Russia as well as the U.S. and select countries in South America.

Huawei's watch has a 400 x 400 pixel screen and a 10,000:1 high contrast ratio and will be available in a range of colors and finishes. Users can receive SMS, email, calendar, app and phone call notifications. The watch is also compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 or higher.

Perhaps one of the more esoteric mobile devices on offer is Oral-B's new Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush and app. The device premiered at last year's Mobile World Congress and initial results seem to indicate that it significantly improves the oral hygiene of users. Brushing sessions with the device are more than twice as long as manual brushing and include health routines such as flossing, rinsing and tongue cleaning. The app has been downloaded over 300,000 times since launch.

Overall, according to a new GSMA study released at Mobile World Congress today, an additional one billion people will become mobile subscribers over the next five years.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article
- see this MobileWorldCongress article
- see this Yahoo article

Related articles:
Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sport new design and new payment system
HTC debuts One M9, Grip fitness tracker and enters virtual reality market
Huawei hopes smart watch's savvy design will attract consumers