It is that time of the year of year when all smartphone lovers turn their eyes towards Barcelona and this year’s Mobile World Congress promises a lot of showcases and launches which includes the awaited Nokia smartphones promoted by HMD Global, the Samsung S8 with the Bixby digital assistant, smarter camera phones from Oppo, a TCL-made Blackberry device and a whole lot more.
The event will kick-start with Nokia holding a launch event for its smartphones on Sunday night which it will livestream. Here is what to expect from various companies participating in the largest annual extravaganza for smartphones:
If we talk about MWC 2017, then we can’t ignore Nokia as it is expected to be under steady limelight during the show as it continues riding on its success of the Nokia D6 from China. The Nokia D6 pulled of a Xiaomi Redmi stunt in China with HMD having to restock units with its e-commerce partner JD.com three times. When registrations for the D6 had opened, JD.com had registered over 1 million customers showing interst in the phone.
So what do we expect from Nokia? Firstly an international edition launch of the D6, a new Nokia P1 handset, the Nokia 8 and the retrun of a newly designed nostalgic Nokia 3310 and the Nokia N or the E series. The Nokia 6 was announced just after CES, though that Android handset is destined for the Chinese market only. Rumor has it that it will be joined by two other similarly numbered handsets, the 5 and 3, which will be aimed a lower price points, with lower specs to match.
YouTube channel named ConceptCreator had put out a video which clearly shows how the Nokia P1 could look like when it hits the market. According to the video, the P1 comes with a small home button on the front which might double up as the fingerprint sensor. It also shows that the phone, which consists of a metal frame and glass on both sides but with no bezels, has a Carl Zeiss lens-inbuilt camera unit at the rear with triple flash.
Other dominant features indicate a 3.5-mm headphone jack, USB Type-C charging port and dual stereo speakers. As per leaks, the P1 is expected to feature a 5.3-inch IGZO display and a refreshing rate of 1 to 120 Hz alongside a Corning Gorilla Glass on top. The Nokia P1 is expected to pack Snapdragon 835 SoC coupled with 6GB of RAM. It is expected to run on Android 7.0 Nougat.
In terms of optics, the Nokia P1 smartphone is expected to sport a Zeiss-certified 22.6-megapixel rear camera. The P1, which is IP57-certified, to draw power from a 3,500mAh battery with support for quick charging.
Samsung might now unveil the new S8 with its proprietary Bixby assistant at MWC 2017 but might just showcase some of its features. According to leaks and speculations, the S8 is expected to come with a dedicated button for the digital assistant, a better water and dust resistance capability among other incremental hardware and software updates. Rumours are also abuzz that the latest Exynos processor also might be used in the S8.
Instead, the company might end up announcing a tablet. An invite for the company’s big event detailed what appears to be a tablet — the Galaxy Tab S3, according to FCC filings and a deluge of rumors, has been sent out. The slate, a followup to 2015’s Tab S2, is believed to sport a 9.6-inch 2048 x 1536 screen powered by a Snapdragon 820. Watch the livestream here.
If any company has been secretive about its motives for the MWC, then its Sony. The company is rumoured to launch at least five smartphones at the event.
This time expect Sony to go all out especially with 4K tech on smartphone displays as most users are consuming video. According to Japanese site Sumaho Info, Sony will unveil five phones at MWC 2017 in late February, and the handsets seem split between the high-end and mid-range.
Listed under the codename ‘Yoshino’, Sony’s top offering apparently has a 5.5-inch 2160 x 3840 screen, a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB or 6GB of RAM and a Sony IMX400 camera sensor.
The most notable spec there is of course the 4K screen, which isn’t a totally new thing for Sony, as the Xperia Z5 Premium also has one, but the majority of Sony’s flagships have stuck to 1080p displays, while rivals have jumped to QHD. The other specs are less surprising, but would still make for a top-end phone.
Another on the list of five phones is codenamed BlancBrigt. This one seemed to sporting a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, 4GB of RAM, a Sony IMX400 camera and either a Snapdragon 835 (which is a top-end chip) or a Snapdragon 653 (which is more upper mid-range).
Then comes Keyaki, more of a mid-range device, that comes with a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen, a MediaTek Helio P20 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 23MP main camera and a 16MP front-facing one.
The next one is codenamed Hinoki. This one is expected to sport a 5-inch 720 x 1280 screen, a Helio P20 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing one.
Last on the list is the Mineo but no specs are listed for this. However there is a price for this which indicates that the phone is expected to come with a tag of $350.
We also expect another look at the hardware giant’s various Xperia pet projects like the Agent, which is what would happen if a robot made love to an Amazon Echo. Watch the livestream here.
What if it is still not a houseold name but if you ask anyone about a camera phone, then OPPO will definetly make it as an answer. It is also the rising star when it comes to the Chinese market as it jumped over 122 percent to take the top spot in the country.
OPPO is expected to play the smarter camera phone card at MWC and the invite it sent out has the mention of a “5x Project,” a new camera technology, that it plans to debut at the show, likely bringing some new handsets in tow. From the sound of it, the tech will pack in high-res shots, and hopefully won’t be solely focused on selfies like previous Oppo models.
If you thought that Apple iPhone 7 Plus was the first phone to come with a dual camera setup, then think again as that credit goes to Huawei for bringing in the Huawei P9 with the Leica Lens dual camera.
At MWC 2017, Huawei will take another step in making smarter and better camera phones with the launch of the P10. Other than that, we have no info on any other devices. Watch the livestream here.
Is the temperature rising? Because the Mercury keeps going up. Sorry! couldn’t help that. TCL is expected to make some new announcements along with the Blackberry at the MWC this year. The launch will also give us more insight into what its first BlackBerry-branded in-house device will be sporting hardware-wise.
Watch Livestream here
Another Chinese handset-maker that wants to comeback badly as it took a little bit of beating for the Hawkeye smartphone. ZTE is expected to launch what it calls the Gigabit Phone at the event, using the 5G-ready device to offer up what sounds like some serious video fire power, including 360-degree VR and 4K video. An unlimited data plan might be at play too. Leaked material also points to release of the Quartz, the company’s first Android Wear smartwatch, on the heels of the release of 2.0.
Nothing secretive about LG’s plans but a fantastic G6 can be expected that drops the dream of modular that started with G5. Between a number of leaks and the company’s own official announcements, it seems there’s not much we don’t already know about the flagship. One key feature of the forthcoming smartphone is that it focusses on a nearly edge-to-edge display.
Watch Livestream here
HTC or otherwise the Vive-maker
This MWC is going to be quiet for the Vive-maker. HTC’s smartphone president told the press late last month not to expect any Snapdragon 835 handsets at the event, which sure sounds like a company easing itself into a fairly uneventful week. And then there’s the fact that company showed off its upcoming U series at its own event right after CES.
These guys always like to put on a show at MWC. Leaks point to the announcement of the Moto G5 and G5, plus the company’s highly-speced budget line. The launch event will be streamed on Motorola’s YouTube channel.
Xiaomi is not going to MWC. Also, OnePLus and LeEco don’t on the roster too.