Get the inside scoop from tech experts and commentators ahead of the world’s largest mobile gathering in Barcelona…
Mobile World Congress (MWC) is an annual gathering of all the heavy hitters in the mobile industry. From February 27 to March 2, the Catalonian capital of Barcelona will be overrun by attendees from all around the world, and rumours are rife around what to expect. From flagship phones to wondrous wearables, we’ve been speaking to editor of Pocket Lint Chris Hall, Stuff reviews editor Tom Morgan, T3 editor Dan Grabham, and Wareable editor Michael Sawh about what to look out for this year…
Huawei, Nokia, and LG
On the phone front, Chris from Pocket Lint says we probably won’t see a new flagship from Samsung just yet. However, there will be plenty of chatter around the next Galaxy’s impending release, which Dan at T3 expects to occur around April. Samsung is instead expected to focus on the rumoured launch of its Galaxy Tab S3 – purported to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera and potentially an S Pen!
“That leaves an opening for Huawei, a company that’s making significant inroads, to launch its new P10 flagship and steal the show,” Chris says. “Moto and LG are also expected to announce new phones, but most of the attention is likely to be on the rebirth of Nokia.”
“Moto and LG are expected to announce new phones, but most of the attention is likely to be on the rebirth of Nokia.”
Whether Nokia delivers on the hype around a reportedly 3310-inspired back to basics handset is yet to be seen, but the buzz is certainly building.
For Dan at T3 and Tom at Stuff, however, the top pick is the LG G6. Following the release of the G5 with its modular design at MWC 2016, the LG G6 is expected to be waterproof and feature an ultra-wide 18:9 aspect ratio display – something Tom believes we’ll see more of as brands opt for taller phones that are easier to use with one hand.
Dan’s also excited about the Huawei P10:
“Judging by its efforts with the Mate 9 and P9, expect this to be a cracking handset for the price,” he says.
Big screens, small edges
Prepare to live life to its edges, because one thing that won’t be big at this year’s show, according to Tom, is bezels – the metal frame surrounding your smartphone’s display:
“I think bezels will be taking the year off at MWC 2017,” Tom says. “Expect plenty of big screen phones with very little around the edges. Xiaomi proved it was possible with the Mi Mix last year but we’re expecting bigger brands to do the same or go even thinner in Barcelona.”
Android Wear 2.0
For those seeking something slightly smaller, our experts say watch this space. The release of Google’s big smartwatch operating system update Android Wear 2.0 should herald a small resurgence in wearables, with a number of new smartwatches on the horizon – including the Huawei Watch 2.
According to Wearable editor Michael, “Android Wear 2.0 recently launched alongside LG’s Watch Sport and Style watches, so we’re likely to see Huawei and ZTE unveil smartwatches running the new OS”.
But what’s really worth talking about, he says, are ‘hearables’…
Michael predicts developments in the hearables space will be huge in 2017, and there’s already some pretty impressive technology set to take the floor.
Most exciting, he says, is British start-up MyManu, alongside crowdfunding success story Waverly Labs, who will be the first to launch truly wireless earbuds that can translate multiple languages in real time.
Potential applications of the earbuds are mind-boggling. “We’ve been talking about this kind of technology for years and it finally looks like it’s ready for the masses,” Michael says.
AI, VR and other acronyms
As AI (Artificial Intelligence) becomes increasingly embedded in our everyday interactions, Tom believes we’ll see many more phones released with Google Assistant built-in:
“A few might even show up with Amazon’s Alexa instead,” he says. “Basically, you’re going to be talking to your phone a whole lot more – even when you’re not actually making phone calls.”
Michael closes with a reminder not to forget about VR:
“2016 was the year that virtual reality officially landed, and in 2017 we’re expecting to see better games and innovative accessories like HTC’s new Vive Tracker, which will make those VR experiences even more immersive and spectacular,” he says.
But, with HTC having recently launched the U Ultra and U Play, Dan isn’t expecting to see any non-VR releases from the brand at MWC. His attention will instead be focused Sony, who he says “is reputed to be launching a few new devices, including one with a 5.5-inch 4K display.” He’ll also keeping a beady eye on the debut of Motorola’s Moto G5. Who’ll prove to be right? Watch this space.
We’ll be keeping an eye on events at MWC as they unfold… in the meantime, find out more about the latest in Samsung’s Galaxy A series.