Mobile World Congress is the biggest mobile event of the year, seeing the launch of many of the top smartphones, smartwatches and tablets, as well as seeing the emergence of the hottest new trends in mobile, such as 5G.
Mobile World Congress starts tomorrow, with many of the major press conferences and launches taking place today, Sunday 25 February.
Generally speaking, all the big brands attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) in one way or another. The exception is Apple, although the trends outlined at MWC very much include the iPhone while many of the announced accessories are compatible.
At MWC we saw the first Dolby Vision display on a phone, we saw the move to 18:9 and a whole lot more. So let’s see what we’ve got in store later this month!
What is Mobile World Congress?
Mobile World Congress is an annual trade show run by the GSMA (it’s for trade rather than members of the public). The location theoretically moves around Europe, but in recent years it has been held in Barcelona, Spain.
It is the launch platform for many of the year’s big smartphones, but it has also given us a range of tablets, smartwatches and other connected devices in recent years – even reaching over to 2-in-1s, tablets and, this year, we may be seeing some more always-connected laptops.
Outside of the consumer sphere, it also draws in many of the industry heavyweights to talk about the future of mobile, like 5G, mobile chips, VR and other associated technologies.
Asus at MWC 2018
Asus has confirmed that it will launch a new version of its ZenFone smartphone during Mobile World Congress – the ZenFone 5. Asus is holding a press conference on Tuesday evening, starting just after 6pm CET, 7pm GMT.
It tweeted a save-the-date announcement, with an image of a giant, swirling “5” There are few other details on the specifications or features as yet, but Pocket-lint will be in attendance at its Barcelona press conference on Tuesday to bring you more.
BlackBerry Mobile at MWC 2018
BlackBerry stopped making its own phones and handed a license to TCL to produce BlackBerry-labelled handsets.
BlackBerry Mobile has confirmed that it will be launching “at least” two phones this year, but there’s very little indication of what they might be, but we think it might be the KeyTwo or KeyOne 2. We also think we’re unlikely to see these at Mobile World Congress.
Google at MWC 2018
Google always has a good time at MWC, using it as an opportunity to show off all its Android partners. At MWC 2017, it offered fun Android pin badges for attendees to collect.
Google’s real interest, however, seems to be around expanding the reach of Google Assistant.
At CES 2018, we saw Google push a number of initiatives around Assistant, introducing the smart displays empowered by Google Assistant. We’ve also seen the growth of Google Assistant compatible headphones, as Google leverages its skills.
HTC at MWC 2018
HTC has been rather quiet of late – apart from in the Vive department – but we know that HTC will be launching something with two cameras in 2018. We know that because HTC said so and it might be that the HTC U11 Eyes just announced in China makes it worldwide.
However, with HTC generally hosting online launch events rather than hitting shows like MWC, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was a quiet start to the year.
Rumours persist that the HTC U12 is in the works but it doesn’t look like it will be at MWC.
Huawei at MWC 2018
Huawei has a mixed history with MWC, often using the conference to launch new devices, but not always the new flagship phone.
And, indeed, that’s the case this year. It is rumoured to launch the Huawei P20 soon, but not at MWC.
Instead, it used its Mobile World Congress press conference to unveil three new tablets in the shape of the MediaPad M5 8.4 and 10.8-inch models, and a Huawei MediaPad Pro. The company also unveiled an all-new laptop: the Huawei MateBook X Pro.
The P20 smartphone, on the other hand, looks set for a March unveiling in a special event towards the end of the month.
LG at MWC 2018
LG likes to launch at MWC and we’ve seen a number of devices arrive in recent years – the LG G5 and LG G6. As for the G7? Well there was a rumour that LG was going to change its naming followed by a report saying that LG has scrapped the LG G7 design completely.
So it looks like we’re not going to see the LG G7 at MWC, with a March launch more likely. LG has already announced some new mid-range handsets will be at MWC, as well as a 2018 V30 update.
Motorola at MWC 2018
Lenovo, owners of Motorola, announced a lot at CES 2018, including a Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 2-in-1 and the Mirage Solo, the first standalone Daydream VR headset, along with accompanying VR180 camera and a Smart Display.
But there were no phones.
Rumours suggest that Lenovo is planning to launch a new Moto X, E and G in 2018, along with the return of the Play branding, suggesting a couple of different tiers to some of these devices. We’ve seen an image leak for the Moto E5 and a new G6 model, as well as the X.
Nokia at MWC 2018
HMD Global unleashed no less than five new Nokia phones during its MWC 2018 press conference: the Nokia 1, Nokia 6 2018 edition, Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 8 Sirocco and, as a bit of a surprise, a modern day refresh of the Nokia 8110 with 4G on board.
The Nokia 1 is an entry-level handset with Android Oreo (Go edition) preloaded. It’s a version of Android that’s designed to be functional and simple for phones with 1GB of RAM or less.
The new Nokia 6 handset is faster than last year’s model and packs a new Zeiss optics-powered camera. It’s also an Android One phone, meaning it comes with a version of Android without the usual manufacturer bloatware. As does the Nokia 7 Plus and the Nokia 8 Sirocco – with the latter having a 2K pOLED display.
The Nokia 8110 is a feature phone that works on 4G networks and weighs in at an amazing price point of €79.
Samsung at MWC 2018
Samsung had been totally open about its S9 launch plans ahead of Mobile World Congress and, true to its word, it unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9+ during its Unpacked press event.
In design terms, the look similar to last year’s models but there are some significant changes. The larger Galaxy S9+, for example, has a new dual-lens camera. They both have displays that support HDR too.
Pre-orders for both handsets have already opened, with a full release date of 16 March. However, those who pre-order before 7 March will get their phones a full week earlier – on 9 March.
The Galaxy S9 will cost from £739 and the Galaxy S9+ from £869.
Sony Mobile at MWC 2017
Sony has already revealed two updates in 2018, the Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra, sitting in the mid-range.
That leaves the 4K Sony Xperia XZ Premium as an older phone ripe for replacement, although latter rumours suggest that might not be what we’ll see.
There’s also the Xperia XZ1 but that’s only a few months old, but rumours are suggesting an Xperia XZ2 too, along with the Xperia XZ2 Compact as well.
Sony has now booked in a press conference, so we know something big is coming. Follow it live on Monday 26th from 7.30am GMT, 8.30am CET.