With MWC 2019 just around the corner, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to show what to expect from the event. From new smartphone launches to innovative tech, here are the highlights you don’t want to miss out on.
Mobile World Congress is one of the defining annual events in tech to mark on your calendar. Every year, exhibitors from the mobile industry and other tech industries come together to showcase new products and share their vision of the future. Mobile World Congress takes place from Monday 25, February through to Thursday 28. Make sure you have those dates bookmarked in your calendar and visit here throughout the event, because I’ll be covering each day in more detail as it happens.
The Huawei and Samsung flagship battle
With mobile in the name, the biggest smartphone brands are obviously going to make a big presence during and around Mobile World Congress. Like past years, both Huawei and Samsung will host their own standalone conferences this month to showcase their new flagship smartphones for the year. Samsung will be hosting their Samsung Unpacked event on February 20 at 7PM, 5 days before MWC starts. The giffgaff blog team will be attending the event live, so keep an eye out on the blog. We know that Samsung has plans for a range of new Samsung S10 smartphones and they are expected to include a unique hole punch display.
Huawei, on the other hand, will be hosting a big event at MWC on Sunday 24. Whilst Huawei has only mentioned that their event will focus on ‘connecting the future’, we think it’d be the perfect time for them to either announce the P30, or the new Huawei Mate X folding phone. Both of these devices have been rumored to feature 5G, which perfectly fits into Huawei’s strong vision for a connected future. More on that later.
Sony and LG
Like most years, Sony uses MWC to drop a plethora of exciting new releases to the public. This year, we may see plenty of different offerings at varied price points. It’s the Sony Xperia XZ4 that we’re most interested in, however. So far, little is known about the XZ4, but we know that it’ll have a large 6 to 7 inch display, and some are suggesting it may have an ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio. Most phones these days opt for 18:9, but a 21:9 panel would mean the width is even less whilst still maintaining a large display size.
We’re expecting the LG G8 to drop at MWC, too. It’s likely the G8 will feature 5G and it may have a large 4,000mAh battery, the Snapdragon 855, and a very high resolution display, perhaps even 4K. What’s interesting is that there’s no confirmation the phone will even be called the LG G8. I’m excited to see what direction LG takes with it. They’ve been bold in the past with devices like the modular LG G5 and the slightly curved LG G Flex. They might have been relatively low key in the past couple years, but don’t count LG out when it comes to creativity and innovation.
Other smartphone manufacturers
There will of course be more smartphone manufacturers making an appearance at MWC, including Vivo, ZTE, Oppo, Xiaomi, Nokia, and Motorola. What smartphones are announced from these manufacturers, and which ones will grab our attention the most is yet to be seen. Either way, MWC is going to be a minefield of new smartphone releases - everywhere you step you’ll get to see something new from the smartphone industry.
The future of connectivity through 5G, AI and IoT
The trending topic for this year will be 5G. All smartphone manufacturers are starting to think about transitioning to it. But, unlike the fairly recent switch to 4G, moving up to a new network technology isn’t just about increased mobile data speeds.
Of course, it will mean faster speeds, and this could finally spell the end of text messaging and standard cellular calls. We spoke to Yosuke Someya, Senior Manager of Product Planning at Sony during MWC 2018, and he felt social media is quickly replacing traditional cellular messaging. He mentioned, “It’s already somehow happening”. He doesn’t think it will totally be replaced, but like Yosuke, I think social media and IM will be the way forward with faster, more connected internet.
More importantly, 5G brings a far more capable network that allows more devices to openly connect to the internet at once. Far larger bandwidth is capable, which means more devices, not just smartphones, can use the internet without slow network speeds. This will be possible as more manufacturers start introducing eSIMs to their smartphones, smart assistants, and internet connected smart tech.
Last year, there was a lot of talk about eSIM adoption at MWC, and this year we expect to see this pushed even further. Last year at MWC, 83% of the experts we spoke to said traditional SIM cards would be abandoned in the next five years, so we should expect to see this transition start to take effect this year.
With the power of 5G, internet connected smart devices can start to upload usage stats to the internet. Smart cars can provide analysis on the road, internet connected public transport could provide more accurate estimates on delays on arrival times based on past performance. And of course, our smartphones can share more usage information, which means more accurate results for shopping, travel times, road congestion, and more. With 5G and AI, it will be possible to search anything about our location and get a quick card or assistant response with the right answer.
Huawei will of course be headlining their own 5G focused event, but MWC will also have an exhibition dedicated to it. Dubbed GSMA Innovation City, exhibitors will use this space to show progress with 5G, AI, and the internet of things. Google will be making an appearance, amongst many other smaller names.
Microsoft is still trying to create a future for augmented and mixed reality, and they may be turning up to MWC 2019 to showcase their new HoloLens 2 headset. With this, they hope that users can augment their own home or work space to add holograms for apps, conference calls, games, and other productivity elements into their field of view. HoloLens is an exceptional concept and I really hope it can one day meet up to the vision Microsoft has for it. I’m very excited for the unveiling at MWC. If you are the least bit interested in VR and AR, you should keep an eye out for this one.
There’s so much tech to look out for at MWC 2019 that it’ll be hard to cover it all here, but don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail on the blog about the highlights each day as the event takes place. Remember, this is just an overview of what to expect. There’s still plenty of room for surprises and shock announcements.’