MWC 2019: what to expect from the biggest mobile show of the year

MWC 2019
Image Credit: GSMA

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the biggest mobile tradeshow of the year, and the next installment - MWC 2019 - has begun.

While MWC 2019 officially kicks off in Barcelona on February 25 and runs through to February 28, we've already seen manufacturers making announcements a few days early.

Update: Oppo has already had its press conference, announcing its plans for 5G and showing off a smartphone camera technology which features a 10x lossless zoom.

So what can you expect? A number of things are now confirmed, such as the foldable Huawei Mate X, a 5G prototype from OnePlus and the arrival of the flagship LG G8, but there are plenty of MWC 2019 rumors, including high-profile handsets such as the Sony Xperia XZ4.

We've put together this guide highlighting all things mobile that might be on show this week, and we'll update it with everything that launches as it happens.

Huawei

We know the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro won't launch at MWC 2019 - they have a March 26 date in Paris, France - but the Chinese firm will have something to show us in Barcelona.

Huawei had already confirmed that it would launch the world's first 5G phone with a foldable screen, and the day before the firm's press conference a billboard was spotted seemingly revealing the device as the Huawei Mate X.

Whether or not Huawei has any other devices to announce at MWC 2019 remains to be seen, but we'll be reporting live from the firm's press conference on February 24 to bring you all the news.

Sony

MWC 2019

We could see the Xperia 1 at MWC 2019. Image Credit: TechRadar

Sony often announces one or more new phones at MWC and the next flagship we're expecting is the Sony Xperia 1 (formerly rumored as the Xperia XZ4), so that may well make an appearance. 

The Sony press conference is set for February 25 at 8:30am CET, and we'll be reporting live to bring you all the latest.

Not much is known about it yet, but we have seen leaked renders supposedly showing the phone and revealing a triple-lens camera on the back. That would be a big jump since other Sony handsets only have one rear camera.

Based on this leak, the Sony Xperia 1 also appears to have a 6.5-inch display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which would make it even more widescreen than most handsets. There’s no notch and no sign of a headphone jack, while the back appears to be glass and there are bezels above and below the screen.

Not the most modern design then and while three cameras is novel for Sony it’s something other companies already offer, so it remains to be seen if or how the Xperia 1 / XZ4 will stand out – assuming this leak is even accurate.

We might also see the Sony Xperia XZ4 Compact at the show. Renders of that have leaked too, revealing an even more dated, bezel-heavy design, a roughly 5-inch screen and just a single rear camera.

LG

MWC 2019

The LG G8 ThinQ will arrive at MWC 2019. Image Credit: TechRadar

The LG G8 will land at MWC on February 24, as confirmed by the South Korean company.

What LG has also said, is that it will announce a 5G phone at the event, one with a 4,000mAh battery, a vapor cooling chamber, and a Snapdragon 855 chipset.

This however may not be the G8, but rather the LG V50 ThinQ according to other reports, which say both phones will land at MWC 2019, but only the V50 will support 5G.

As for the LG G8, rumors point to a 4K LCD screen and potentially a 'sound-emitting display', which could allow the earpiece to be built into the screen. That in turn might allow LG to shrink or eliminate the top bezel, though renders show it sporting a notch with a dual-lens front-facing camera.

Oppo

Oppo hasn't launched a smartphone at MWC 2019, rather it's confirmed it will launch a 5G phone in the future, and it showed off a new camera technology.

During its "Innovation Event" on February 23 in Barcelona, Spain, we saw Oppo's new smartphone camera that features a 10x lossless zoom.

The technology utilizes three camera modules with a main camera is a 48 megapixel for capturing everyday images, while a second 16mm, 120-degree wide-angle lens is designed to take in more of whatever you'’re trying to capture. The third, and final snapper is a telephoto lens with a focal length of 160mm. 

Read the full article here.

Samsung

MWC 2019

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has already been announced. Image Credit: Samsung

Samsung is set for a surprisingly quiet MWC, as it announced the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy Fold, Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit E ahead of time on February 20.

Samsung could use MWC 2019 as a platform to launch a refreshed line-up of its mid-range A series of devices, while there's an outside chance of a tablet (although it only launched the Galaxy Tab S5e a few weeks ago) - but don't hold your breath for either of these.

HTC

HTC U12 Life

We might well see one or more new handsets from HTC at MWC 2019, though we’re not yet sure what.

The company reduced its smartphone output during 2018 but has confirmed that new handsets are on the way, some of which should arrive in early 2019, making MWC 2019 a possible venue.

One handset that’s apparently on the way is an updated version of the mid-range HTC U12 Life, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, so perhaps that will appear at MWC.

However, we wouldn’t count on seeing an HTC U13, or whatever the company’s next flagship is called, as there’s no real news on that and the HTC U12 Plus only landed in May.

OnePlus

While the OnePlus 7 is unlikely to launch until mid-2019, we might see the beginning of a new range from the company at MWC 2019.

Specifically, we already know that OnePlus is working on a 5G handset for launch in 2019, and according to a report it could land at MWC 2019.

We don’t know much else about the handset, but apparently OnePlus has chosen to launch it separately from the OnePlus 7 as the addition of 5G could push the price up beyond what it typically charges. 

In other words, this phone might not be as much of a bargain as the company’s main flagship range.

Motorola

While the Moto G7 range has only just landed, we might get something even more exciting at the show, namely a foldable Motorola Razr V4. It's rumored to launch in February, so MWC would be an obvious venue.

Other than it being able to fold we don't know much about the Razr V4 yet, though it's expected to be very expensive.

Honor

The Honor 20 probably won’t be ready in time for MWC given that the Honor 10 didn’t land until May, but you never know, and there’s a good chance the company will have something to show (though notably it didn’t last year). Then again, the Honor View 20 only recently landed, so Honor might keep things quiet at MWC.

Nokia

We saw lots of Nokia-branded phones at MWC 2018, so we may well see some more at MWC 2019. The highlight of the bunch might be the Nokia 9 – a long-rumored flagship phone which some sources say will land at the event. It’s a believable claim too, since the high-end Nokia 8 Sirocco landed at MWC 2018.

However, it wasn’t the only Nokia phone in attendance. The Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 1 and more were also announced, so don’t be surprised if there’s a whole range of new handsets present at 2019’s event.

Rumors of the Nokia 9 PureView have been circulating for a long time now, and we're hearing conflicting reports on whether it'll be launching at MWC or before the show. MWC still looks the most likely though, as we know the company has something planned on February 24.

At the previous two shows, Nokia has also launched a rebooted handset, with the 3310 and 8110 pumping a sense of nostalgia into the halls at MWC. Will it repeat the trick at MWC 2019? There aren't any rumors just yet, but we're not ruling it out.

5G phones

MWC 2019 could be where we first start seeing 5G handsets, as a number are expected to land in 2019.

We’ve noted above that 5G LG and Huawei phones will be announced, but don’t be surprised if we see others too. 

OnePlus and Oppo for example are both working on 5G phones, so there's a chance those might make an appearance.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi has officially started selling products in the UK at the end of 2018, while it's been established in other parts of Europe for a while, and in 2019 we might see it do the same in the US. So don't be surprised if we see phones from the Chinese giant at MWC 2019.

What we might see is unclear for now, but Xiaomi is known for delivering great value handsets, including flagships that massively undercut most rivals, so it might launch some bargains. One of those bargains might be a foldable phone, as it's working on one of its own.

ZTE

We hadn't heard much from ZTE until recently, but we now know the company is cooking up something for MWC under its Nubia sub-brand, and based on a teaser that reads "flex your life" we're assuming it's a foldable phone.

Nothing else is known about the handset yet though, so stay tuned for more information.

Vivo

Vivo showed off the Vivo Apex Concept at MWC 2018. This was a prototype device with an in-screen fingerprint scanner (before this tech became mainstream) and a pop-up selfie camera, leading to an almost completely bezel-free screen. You couldn’t buy it, but the similar Vivo Nex launched later in the year.

It’s entirely possible that Vivo will have another prototype device ready to show at MWC 2019, though what that might be is unclear.

The company is launching the V15 Pro soon, a phone which has a 32MP pop-up selfie camera, though this is set to land on February 20, which is a few days before MWC really kicks off.

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