Chinese handset makers will lead an onslaught on smartphone titans Samsung and Apple at the world's biggest mobile fair, which opened on Monday in Barcelona, Spain.
Offering big-screen, slick, slim smartphones at lower prices, Chinese manufacturers Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo will leverage the Mobile World Congress to chip away at the mighty duopoly, analysts say.
The handset battle is part of a broader revolt against a handful of companies with a stranglehold on the booming industry's handsets, operating systems and microchips, they say. Apple is steering clear of the February 25-28 congress that draws 1,500 exhibitors and Samsung is not expected to launch its next big offer, the Galaxy S4, until some time after the show.
Huawei, which recently became the world's third-largest maker of smartphones, has a new flagship model that it calls "the fastest smartphone in the world."
The company says the device supports faster download speeds than other phones, but today's wireless networks aren't equipped to supply those speeds.
The Ascend P2 has a 4.7 inch screen and runs Google Inc's And-roid software. Huawei says it will be available in the April to June time frame for about $525.
Nokia on Monday unveiled four new devices, including its cheapest phone at €15 euro (around R1,100), and sought to strengthen the smartphone portfolio in an attempt to regain the ground it has lost to Samsung and Apple.
Nokia 105, the company's "most affordable phone to date" at €15, is designed for first-time buyers to woo them with colour screen, FM radio and dust and splash-proof keypad. In India, Nokia's lowest priced device is available at about Rs 1,250.
Nokia's other device - 301 - is designed to provide more affordable Internet and email access and is expected to be available for €65 euros (Rs 4,600).
Nokia also expanded its Lumia range with the launch of Lumia 720 and Lumia 520. The Nokia Lumia 720 has a camera with Carl Zeiss optics and has a starting price of €249 (R17,800), with a rollout due to start in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore in the first quarter. The Nokia Lumia 520 would be priced at just €139 (R9,940) pre-tax, it said, the cheapest of its Windows Phone 8 devices, launching first in Hong Kong and Vietnam .
Firefox's Vs Android
Mozilla Foundation announced it will launch in mid-2013 its widely anticipated Firefox operating system for smartphones in a direct challenge to the duopoly of Apple's iOS and Google's Android. Smartphones equipped with Firefox OS look familiar to those on other systems, with an array of apps, or application programmes, to be made available on an online store, and a mapping programme developed by Nokia.