CES may be one of the world’s largest gadget shows, but Mobile World Congress is the venue where Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, and others make some of the year’s most important mobile announcements. This year’s show was held in Barcelona, Spain, through March 2 at the Fira Gran Via Convention Center, and it’s where some of the world’s big-name tech brands try to out-do each other with flagship smartphone, smartwatch, and gadget launches.
This year, we expect to see a mix of incredible innovations from the big brands and intriguing tech from relatively unknown companies. We’ll be reporting live from the show floor, so follow @DigitalTrends and @DTMobile for the latest news. You can also follow our on-the-ground reporters — Andy Boxall, Malarie Gokey, Julian Chokkattu, Kyle Wiggers, and Simon Hill — on Twitter.
In the meantime, here’s everything we expect to see at the biggest mobile extravaganza of the year.
Samsung has historically unveiled new flagship smartphones at MWC — take last year’s Galaxy S7, for example. But this time around, things will be a little quieter for the Korean electronics giant. DJ Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief executive, told Reuters that the long-rumored Galaxy S8 won’t make an appearance at its February 26 event. Instead, the company’s principal focus is expected to be the Galaxy Tab S3.
The Galaxy Tab S3, which is said to feature a 9.7-inch screen with a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, will reportedly borrow a number of features from Samsung’s Note line of phablets. It’ll come with a clip-on variant of Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which will enable features like the ability to write on the display when it’s off. The stylus will ship alongside accessories like a magnetic-stand keyboard.
Samsung may also take the opportunity to unveil the Galaxy Tab Pro S2, a Window-powered tablet with a 12-inch Quad HD (resolution), Intel Kaby Lake processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, and 5,070mAh battery. But as of now, the launch details are a bit foggy.
There might be a new Gear VR headset. It’s said to feature a new front cover and ship with a dedicated controller for navigating apps and games, much like Google’s Daydream platform.
LG used to wait for Samsung to have its fun at MWC before launching the G series flagship at a separate event. But it turned the tables last year, and it’s doing the same in 2017.
The Korean company’s upcoming G6 smartphone is no mystery. Indeed, LG’s published a steady stream of highlights ahead of its press conference on February 26. The flagship handset has 5.7-inch edge-to-edge “FullVision” AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 and an 18:9 aspect ratio and dual-camera module. Notably, the G6 is expected to do away with the G5’s modular Friends concept that saw third parties produce pricey add-ons. Rather, the G6 will feature a slim, water-resistant design with a non-removable battery.
The G6 sports some nifty software, too. The latest version of LG’s smartphone software, UX 6.0, features a two square windows side-by-side. A new camera app takes advantage of the split screen functionality to serve up a live view alongside preview images, and packs a Food Mode filter optimized for snapping pics of delicious dinners.We expect LG to announce the G6’s release date and availability at MWC, but the company could very well have a few tricks up its sleeve.
In the past, HTC used MWC to announced the latest phone in its One series, but this year could be different. The embattled Taiwanese smartphone maker just launched the U Ultra and U Play, two flagship handsets bound for international shores. HTC CEO Chialin Chang told press that it won’t be unveiling any devices featuring Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835, suggesting a post-MWC unveiling for the follow-up to the One 10.
Here’s hoping HTC makes an appearance. Leaks suggest the HTC 10 will boast a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,556 x 2,550 pixels, 6GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel front camera (up from 5-megapixel on the HTC 10), a 3,700mAh battery, and a whopping 256GB of storage.
Virtual reality is likely to be a subject of discussion at HTC’s presser. The company’s gearing up to release a spiritual sequel to the Vive virtual reality headset that “combines mobility with VR,” and heads a $10 billion virtual reality consortium and 100 million VR accelerator program. It’s a safe bet that there will be news on that front.
Huawei’s February 26 press event promises a lot of juicy new devices.
We’re expecting the Huawei Watch 2, which will reportedly feature a circular 1.4-inch screen that measures 42mm in diameter, a Snapdragon 400 chipset paired with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and a 300mAh battery. The latest leaks suggest HTC may take the wraps off two alternative models: An LTE-equipped Huawei Watch 2 and a sports-focused wearable with rubber straps.
Huawei is likely to launch a smartphone, too: The P10, the flagship successor to last year’s P9. There might be more than one model, too. According to leaked promotional documents said to originate in China, a high-end P10 Plus will ship alongside a cheaper P10. Both are expected to boast screens in Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) resolution, Huawei’s proprietary Kirin 960 chipset clocked at 2.3GHz, dual 12-megapixel cameras, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, up to 128GB of internal storage, and a 3,100mAh battery.
Mid-range phones are also a real possibility for Huawei, of course, and there’s always the hope that the Chinese company will announce a U.S. launch partner for some of its smartphones. According to Fortune, the Huawei recently hired a former Verizon wireless executive to lead the stateside charge.