MWC 2019: Everything we're expecting from the world's biggest phone show
A new Mobile World Congress is almost upon us. The biggest names in the phone industry will descend on Barcelona between February 25-28, with press events scheduled the day before. Here's everything we think is going to make an appearance at MWC 2019.
Before we get to MWC 2019 however, we should mention the special launch event Samsung has got scheduled for February 20 in San Francisco. Thanks to leaked information and Samsung's own teasers, we know we're going to see the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus.
Those phones will follow on from the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus we saw last year, but according to the rumor mill, a new Galaxy S10E model will appear this time around – a cheaper variant to the main flagships, like the iPhone XR.
It also seems likely that we'll see the foldable Samsung Galaxy phone at this February 20 event, though its on-sale date might still be some way off. This foldable phone has been a long time coming (Samsung has been showing off foldable concepts for years), but it's now almost ready for its debut.
Foldable screen tech is likely to be everywhere at MWC too. Just about every major manufacturer has a phone with a folding screen in the pipeline, and even if these devices don't actually launch at MWC 2019, we should see a lot of prototype demonstrations.
LG is widely tipped to have a foldable phone on the way, but the company will be concentrating most of its MWC 2019 efforts on the LG G8 ThinQ and the LG V50 ThinQ flagships – the latter of which is said to be arriving with 5G on board.
We already know that the LG G8 will come with improved 3D depth sensing on its front-facing camera, as well as a screen that vibrates to double up as a speaker, and the usual internal specs bump should be expected too. The V series phone, if LG follows tradition, will offer slightly better features for a higher price.
Sony usually launches a new flagship device at MWC, and 2019 looks like being no different. The Xperia XZ4 is rumored to be making its debut in Barcelona this year, powered by the Snapdragon 855 chipset that is likely to show up in the majority of flagship Android smartphones over the next 12 months.
The Xperia XZ4's most notable feature might be a rumored 6.5-inch, 21:9 aspect ratio display – that would make it one of the tallest phones on the market (or widest, depending on how it's being held). Other leaks ahead of MWC 2019 point to a cheaper, less powerful Xperia 10 waiting in the wings too.
Huawei looks set to have a busy MWC 2019 as well. It's been teasing phones with 5G, and foldable phones, and it's likely that multiple handsets are going to be shown off in Barcelona – both finished phones ready to go on sale and prototypes that won't be launching for a while yet.
Specifically, the Huawei P30 and the Huawei P30 Pro could well make an appearance (their predecessors launched in March 2018). Expect better cameras, faster internals, thinner bezels, a teardrop notch, and a fingerprint sensor built into the display rather than around the back (an approach most top-end 2019 phones should end up following).
We haven't seen many rumors for MWC 2019 from the other major players in the industry – HTC, OnePlus, Motorola and Nokia. New handsets from these companies seem unlikely until later in the year (Motorola only just unveiled the Moto G7 range), though they may well be demoing future tech for their devices (like 5G) in Barcelona this year.
That's it as far as the big names are concerned – or at least the big names for US and European markets. Chinese manufacturers including Xiaomi, ZTE, Oppo and Vivo will be showing off their wares too, though we're not expecting many brand new phone launches from them at MWC 2019.
Apple will be skipping the event completely as usual. Google won't have any new hardware to show off until later in the year, but will have a big presence at MWC as it continues to push Android (we should hear more about Android Q in May).
Plenty of interesting and innovative mobile tech should be on show from smaller brands too. Nubia, for example, has teased a phone-wearable hybrid with a screen that wraps around your wrist, which should be worth checking out. As always, we'll bring you all the announcements from MWC 2019, as well as Samsung's earlier event, as they happen.
Event page: MWC 2019