What can India expect from MWC 2018?

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It’s that time of the year again. Mobile World Congress begins in less than a week, and with it we expect a bunch of new launches. Many, or even most of these devices will head to India and have a tangible impact on the market here. From the Samsung’s to Xiaomi’s, we expect devices spanning all market segments, and those that will have tangible impact on the Indian smartphone space.

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung has always been one of the major highlights of the yearly mobile conference. This time, it’s the Galaxy S9 that will set the benchmarks for upcoming flagships in the following year. It’s likely that Samsung will launch a Plus variant this year as well, but it usually doesn’t differentiate between them much, except the screen size and battery. This time, the Plus variant is rumored to have a dual camera, so things might change. 

The company has always been the first one to take the wraps off its flagship phones in India too. This year as well, we expect it to bring the flagship to India sometime in April. 

Looking back points towards a routine where Samsung holds an early grip in the flagship segment, competing against the flagships from last year. So this year, the S9 after its India release will compete against the likes of iPhone X and Pixel 2 XL. This gives the company a head start to begin the year.

While Samsung successively has had better display and design, this year wouldn’t be that easy as Apple has finally moved to a newer design and a better display too. Similarly, Samsung’s camera will have to pass through tough competition from the Pixel 2. So, it is not going to be a usual run for the Galaxy S-series too. 

HMD Global (Nokia)

The Android-powered Nokia we now know was born exactly one year ago on the MWC stage. Nokia will once again return to that stage to begin the next chapter with a set of new launches. We are expecting a new Nokia 3310 (4G) variant, an entry level Nokia 1, a mid-range Nokia 7, and the Nokia 8 Pro. Also, there are chances of the flagship Nokia 9 to be released alongside the three phones.

But, Nokia has uphill task on its hand. Xiaomi already has the lead, with its new Redmi Note 5 range, while Motorola is expected to unveil the G6 soon. Speaking as reviewers, the Nokia phones last year were unimpressive in most respects, except design. The company will have to amp up its game to take charge in India.

Moreover, we expect to see some alluring flagship phones this year, so Nokia needs to serve up something extraordinary. If done right, customers in India may show some loyalty towards the brand this year. 

Nokia has been among the top sellers in the Q4 2017, which means the company is gradually setting its place in the market. In India, Nokia phones have seen a fair response from the tech fraternity, but the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 didn’t look strong in front of phones like Redmi 4 and Moto G5. Especially, the flagship Nokia 8 lacked the X factor, considering it was the best from the company last year.

Sony Xperia

Sony is expected to release the successor to its flagship Xperia XZ1 this year. Additionally, there are rumours about a new Xperia XZ1 Premium, XZ1 Plus and XZ1S to be released too. Since Sony has a track record of delaying the India launch of these phones, we expect the same this year too, but we can’t predict when the devices will actually come here.

While Sony's phones have historically been expensive, the company has been making them comparatively more affordable. The Japanese company is expected to join the 18:9 bandwagon this year, and it'll be interesting to see whether it can make a mark in India.

Nevertheless, Sony's strategy has been to produce for its fans. So, the company has been happy with its limited customer base, which is what should continue this year.

Also, if Sony choses the right period to launch the phones in India, then things might change. If the company comes too late in the market, it may again fall short of time to establish the product. Timing and price is key for Sony.

LG

LG hasn’t dropped any hint on what’s coming from their end this MWC, but the most we can expect from the rumours is a new LG V30S and another device running Snapdragon 845. 

For LG, it would be a hit or a miss depending on when they launch and how they market their new phones in India. Since the company has also moved away from budget phones, it’s just the flagship products that they can depend on. The competition in the flagship is quite intense, LG will need something unique at an aggressive price to pierce into the market.

What’s more?

Many other OEMs like Asus, Blackberry, Huawei and Lenovo will be presenting their devices, but it’s not certain if their products will make it to India. A new Zenfone 5 is expected while rumours of the Mi Mix 2S and an affordable HTC Desire 12 are also in the air. 

Lenovo has scheduled its event, but there's no update if the company is going to launch the G-series phones at the event this year. Going by the history, we can expect the phones to debut during the event. 

Moreover, we expect a new generation of wearables and a real iPad rival to be launched this year at MWC. If you still wish to read more about the expected phones and more at the MWC, you can visit our hub for more info.