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MWC opening launches smartphone race

Barcelona: Major smartphone manufacturers showcased their latest handsets at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain.

Samsung defends its crown as the world’s top smartphone maker on Monday, unveiling a new premier smartphone in the face of tougher markets and a rising challenge from China.

On the opening day of the four-day show, the South Korean giant launches its flagship device, almost certainly a Galaxy S5 smartphone rumoured to be equipped with a fingerprint scanner and larger screen.

Sony Corp, seeking to counter a slowdown in its smartphone business, introduced a top-end Xperia phone and a cheaper model to take share in a market that has become increasingly crowded.

The Xperia Z2 combines 4K high-definition video recording, inbuilt noise reduction and a 5.2-inch (13.2 centimetres) display and will start shipping next month, said Kunimasa Suzuki, head of Sony Mobile Communications.

Rising Chinese smartphone maker Huawei launched a connected watch to rival Samsung’s Gear 2. Huawei, already a major force in building mobile networks and the world No 3 smartphone maker in 2013, showed off its TalkBand, to be sold for €99 (Dh499).

Nokia is targeting emerging markets with three low-cost smartphones that use Google’s Android operating system rather than the Windows Phone software from Microsoft, which is about to buy Nokia’s phone business.

Nokia will ditch many of the Google services that come with Android, which Google lets phone makers customise at will. Instead, the new Nokia X line announced on Monday will emphasise Microsoft services such as Bing search, Skype communications and OneDrive file storage. Its home screen sports larger, resizable tiles resembling those on the Windows phone.

— Compiled from agencies