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MWC 2017 update: Samsung’s new HDR tablet and the return of a dumbphone

Bill Roberson
Also today: Samsung seeks to reassure consumers about battery safety, and AT&T tweaks their "Unlimited" data plan - and adds another one.

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The KISS phone returns

Mobile World Congress is gearing up in Barcelona, where so far, the big hit of the show isn’t some sci-fi wonderphone with VR or AR or 5G or OLED this or that. No, it’s the Nokia 3310, an update of the classic candy bar dumbphone that Nokia has brought back to life as… an updated candy bar dumbphone. Here’s what you don’t get: No internet. No email. No LTE. No 4G. No 3G. There’s no full keyboard, no big OLED super-screen, no 20-megapixel dual-lens camera.

So what does it come with? How about a two-megapixel camera, a new but quite tiny color LCD screen, 2G connectivity, an update of the Snake game – it’s in color now – and a massive 16 megabytes of memory – yes, megabytes. Also, it comes in four fun colors.

And since they could pretty much fit all of the 3310’s electronics on a circuit board the size of a fingernail, the inside of the phone is pretty much all battery, giving 22 hours of talk time or a month of standby. You can expand the tiny memory with a microSD card up to 32 gigs, and there’s also an FM radio and MP3 player built-in, so hey, not bad for a price of around $50. Who’s it for? Anyone tired of smartphones, we guess, and of course, those emerging markets.

Promises, promises…

Samsung’s hotly anticipated Galaxy S8 halo superphone is a no-show at MWC, but they did show off a trick new tablet – and a bunch of ads they hope will convince people their next batch of phones won’t spontaneously catch fire. The Galaxy S8 is set to debut at the end of March in New York City, but until then, Samsung would like you to know they are very diligent about quality assurance, including an 8-point battery testing and safety regimen.

Well, we would hope so. Oh, and that tablet? It’s called the Galaxy Tab S3, has a 10-inch HDR AMOLED screen, that cool S-Pen and, yep, you can get a keyboard for it as well. No price or release date so far, but you can bet we’ll know more soon. Check out all the details on the tablet and our full MWC coverage here, and we’ll be updating the news 24-7 all week long.

Unlimited asterisks

After “unlimited” data plans went away a few years ago, competition has done its thing and brought them roaring back, and now AT&T has reshuffled their latest unlimited plan – and now, “plans” – once again to stay in the fight. The main unlimited plan has dropped from $100 to $90, and now includes 10 gigs worth of tethering. Sounds good. But now there’s a $60 plan as well that drops the max data rate to 3 megabits, which is plenty for most internet-y things.

However, video streaming drops to 480p quality and a max of 1.5 megabits, so if you want to indulge in some bingeing out on the network, plan on some buffering and low resolution playback. Also, there’s no tethering allowance. Confusing? Hey, here’s a handy chart to help you out, so hit the link for more details.

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