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Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone, dubbed the S5, is expected to be one of the major stars of the Mobile World Congress, which opens in Barcelona today.

Also expected to be starring will be Nokia’s first Android phone, tipped to be a low-cost model aimed at consumers in emerging markets.

There’s likely to be quite a run of new wearable devices, most of them smartwatches – though Apple’s long rumoured iWatch is a no-show. Apple does not appear at trade events of this nature, preferring to stage its own when it has something newsworthy to show.

Samsung stole a march on many competitors by unveiling its new smartwatch, powered by the Korean company’s Tizen software, yesterday.

The stylish new model, pictured, comes in two versions, one of them a lower-priced model with no camera function. The more expensive model has a camera in the watch body, unlike the previous Gear model in which it was embedded in the watch strap.

HTC is expected to announce the Desire, a mid-range phablet that offers a 5.5-inch display, a 1.6-GHz quad-core Qualcomm processor, a 13-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel user-facing lens.

Korea’s LG will also unveil a phablet, the G2 Pro – and it will be a big’un, with 5.9-inch 1080p HD screen, quad-core Snapdragon processor.

And, on the dark side, an outfit called Geeksphone has promised to show off its spooky Blackphone. This is believed to run a customised version of Android called PrivatOS that will let people make and receive secure phone calls and messages; transfer and store documents securely; conduct supposedly secure video chats; and maintain strict control over their location data.

The conference side of the congress has also drawn some global stars: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is to give the major keynote, with Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO who just agreed to sell his company to Zuckerberg for $19 billion, also addressing the congress.

IBM’s Virginia Rometty is also to address one session. though IBM is not usually noted for its mobile efforts. Cisco’s John Chambers is also on the speaker list.
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