MWC 2017: What to expect

Where flagships are born

MWC is the world’s biggest phone show, and next year it’s happening from February 27 to March 2, so there’s not long to wait.

Many of 2017’s most high-profile handsets are likely to be announced over the course of the show, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6; but it’s not just phones that we’ll see, with tablets, smartwatches and more likely to be on show too.

We’ve collected all the news, rumors and speculation on what we’re expecting to see at MWC 2017, so read on below for our constantly updated guide to what to expect – and what we want to see.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The biggest phone show of 2017
  • When is it? February 27 – March 2 in Barcelona

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is likely to be the highlight of MWC 2017, and it’s also one of the phones  we’re most sure we’ll see there.

Samsung tends to release its new Galaxy S flagships during the show, or rather the day before everything kicks off, which would mean a February 26 announcement for the Galaxy S8.

Not only would that fit Samsung’s release pattern, it’s also been specifically rumored – although we’re also hearing that development of the phone has been delayed by a couple of weeks, so it’s possible that the S8 will miss MWC.

Whenever it does arrive we’re expecting big things from the S8, with rumors of a dual-lens camera, a 4200mAh battery, a powerful Snapdragon 830 or Exynos 8895 processor, 6GB of RAM, an iris scanner, an AI assistant and a 5.1-inch curved QHD or 4K screen.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge

We’re sure to see a Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 (although with talk of both phones having a curved screen it’s not clear whether the Edge name will remain).

Most of the specs are likely to be similar to the Galaxy S8, but the S8 Edge is rumored to have a larger 5.5-inch screen, which could have a 4K resolution – ideal for VR.

HTC 11

We’re less sure that we’ll see the HTC 11 at MWC 2017, as the HTC 10 missed MWC 2016, but HTC usually launches its flagships early in the year and MWC is an obvious event to do it at.

If HTC is launching its next flagship that soon it’s certainly kept the phone quiet, as very little is rumored about it yet, though it’s sure to have a premium design, with a likely metal body and flagship power.

It could also sport ‘Sense Touch’ – a feature shown off on the HTC Ocean concept phone, which allows you to interact with the handset by swiping or tapping the metal frame along the edge of the phone.

Possible interactions include tapping to take a picture, or swiping to adjust the volume or change the brightness.

LG G6

The LG G5 was shown off at MWC 2016, so there’s a good chance the LG G6 will be announced at MWC 2017.

It’s rumored that the G6 might swap metal for a glass body, and that it could have an OLED screen (the same tech as used by most Samsung phones) and fast wireless charging. One thing it might not have though is the G5’s modular capabilities.

Sony Xperia XZ 2

The Xperia XZ 2, or whatever Sony ends up calling the next phone in its increasingly confusing flagship range, could also land at MWC 2017.

The Xperia XZ only launched recently, but Sony often brings out multiple high-end phones in a single year, and we did get the Xperia X and Xperia XA at MWC 2016.

If not the Xperia XZ 2, then we’re at least likely to see a new mid-range handset from Sony. It’s unknown what specs and features the next Sony handset will have, but a 1080p screen, a sharply rectangular design and water resistance are all likely features.

There’s also a good chance it will have a fingerprint scanner – though probably only outside the US.

Loads of other phones

Along with a selection of high-profile flagships we’re sure to see several low-end to mid-range phones, as well as high-end ones from less well known brands.

HTC and LG both unveiled several handsets at MWC 2016, while Alcatel, Microsoft, Xiaomi, Meizu and HP also had phones on show. We won’t necessarily see the same selection of brands in 2017, but we’d expect a wide range of handsets will be present.

Smartwatches, tablets and more

While MWC tends to mostly be about the phones that’s not all that gets announced, with tablets, VR headsets, smartwatches and other devices also often revealed.

Rumors of exactly what we’ll see are thin on the ground, and we probably won’t see too many Android Wear smartwatches unless Android Wear 2.0 has arrived, but we’ll keep this article updated with all the news and rumors as we hear them.

What we want to see

We've covered what we expect to see, but there's plenty more that we want to see and the following five things top our list.

A foldable phone

It feels like we say this every year, but we’re going to keep saying it until it happens, and it actually might happen this year, as Samsung is rumored to be launching two foldable handsets in 2017, though not necessarily at MWC.

There have been foldable concept and prototype phones popping up for years and with curved displays now a mainstream thing this is the obvious next step. If a commercially available folding phone launches at MWC it could easily be one of the highlights of the show.

Long-lasting batteries

This is the other thing we’re always wishing for, and while the occasional handset will come along that can stretch to two days of life, such phones are few and far between.

Hopefully at MWC 2017 we’ll see high-profile handsets that put a long-lasting battery ahead of ever slimmer designs. Wireless and fast charging have become more common features in recent years, but they’re no substitute for a battery that simply doesn’t need charging as often.

4K displays

4K screens on smartphone sized displays are unnecessary for general use, but with Samsung pushing its Gear VR platform, Google launching Daydream and many smartphone makers having VR headsets of their own, it’s clear that virtual reality is going to become an increasingly big part of the smartphone experience, and when you’ve got a phone strapped to your face every pixel helps.

All the flagships

MWC 2017 will only be as memorable as the phones that make an appearance, so it would be great to see a wide range of flagships. This would also give prospective buyers a clear view of their options, rather than making them wait for other flagships to be announced later in the year, or risk missing out.

An exciting Android tablet

It’s been a long time since the last truly exciting Android tablet, and it would be great if a real iPad Pro rival showed up at MWC 2017.

If one does it’s likely to be made by Sony or Samsung, as other than the Pixel C and the dormant Nexus range they’re the biggest players in Android tablets. We’re not particularly expecting one, but it would be a nice surprise.

  • One thing we won't see at MWC is the iPhone 8