The week leading to MWC will be hot: What to expect

We are entering what may become the busiest 10 days in the smartphone world in recent memory. The week leading up to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and the first days of the actual MWC will see most major manufacturers introduce new devices – flagships, camera phones, 5G-enabled phones, midrangers, even handsets with Android Go. Here’s a brief summary to get you up to speed:

Samsung

The Korean manufacturer decided to pull its phone announcements away from big conferences to have all the spotlight for itself. The Galaxy S10 trio will arrive with spectacular Infinity-O screens, plenty of cameras and choices for every budget.


Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S10e • Samsung Galaxy S10 • Samsung Galaxy S10+

The Galaxy S10e will be the most affordable of the three, the vanilla Galaxy S10 will be the middle option, while the Galaxy S10+ will pack five cameras and will even have a 12GB RAM and 1TB storage version.

vivo

Also on February 20, vivo will introduce its first midranger with a pop-up camera, called vivo V15 Pro. Its main snapper will come with a 48 MP sensor, but we have to wait for the official unveiling to see if it is the Sony IMX586 or the Samsung ISOCELL GM1.


vivo V15 Pro in Blue and Red
vivo V15 Pro in Blue and Red
vivo V15 Pro in Blue and Red
vivo V15 Pro in Blue and Red

vivo V15 Pro in Blue and Red

Xiaomi

The upcoming Xiaomi Mi 9 is again confirmed to arrive on February 20, but in China. It will be the first device of the company with three cameras on the back. The company is then holding another event in Barcelona where we expect to see the global unveiling of the flagship and the Mi Mix 3’s 5G version.


Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on photos
Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on photos
Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on photos
Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on photos

Xiaomi Mi 9 hands-on photos

Back in October, the company co-founder Lei Jun introduced the Mi Mix 3 with Snapdragon 845. We were in China for the announcement and we remember his promise to bring the slider with 5G in Europe in the first quarter of 2019. We can’t see a better opportunity than this.

Huawei

Another one for Sunday, Huawei is expected to introduce a foldable device that could also be 5G-enabled. It will have the Balong 5000 modem that allows gigabit speeds and will be attached to the Kirin 980 chipset.


Huawei's event invite for the MWC teases its 5G-enabled foldable phone

Huawei’s event invite for the MWC teases its 5G-enabled foldable phone

We are yet to hear any names or actual specs of the promised “5G phones” (notice the plural form), but since we will be at the scene, you’ll have info as soon as it comes.

Nokia

The Nokia 9 PureView is easily one of the more exciting phones in this pretty packed lot. It will have five cameras on the back, 6” notch-less front panel with a fingerprint scanner underneath. Sadly, it is rumored to be powered by Snapdragon 845, but we hope Juho Sarvikas and company prove us wrong.

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Along with the flagship we expect the Nokia 1 Plus – an ultra-affordable handset with Android 9.0 Pie (Go Edition). The phone already appeared in renders and is listed on the Play Store as eligible for downloading apps, so all HMD Global has is to introduce it. A Nokia 6.2 might also make the stage at the HMD event.

LG

LG officially said the new G8 ThinQ will appear in Barcelona. It will have ToF selfie sensor to boost the face unlock in dark environment and to provide even funnier (or cheesier, depending on the point of view) 3D AR emojis.


LG G8 ThinQ leaked renders

The company also confirmed that the OLED panel will also be used as a speaker. The display will act as a second stereo channel for audio that will also bring DTS:X 3D sound effect and 7.1 channel emulation.

Rumors also suggested the LG V50 ThinQ will be the 5G-enabled phone and will be demoed in Barcelona. The G-series phone won’t have gigabit speeds and might be on their way out, if the previously leaked info is correct.

Sony

The Mobile World Congress officially begins on Monday, February 25. This is when Sony is expected to introduce the Xperia XA3 and Xperia XZ4 with new names – Xperia 10 and Xperia 10Z, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Xperia series.


Sony Xperia XZ4 (CAD-based renders)
Sony Xperia XZ4 (CAD-based renders)
Sony Xperia XZ4 (CAD-based renders)

Sony Xperia XZ4 (CAD-based renders)

According to numerous leaks of specs and actual phone cases, the Xperia XZ4/10Z should have an ultra tall display with CinemaWide ratio of 21:9. It will have room for three cameras on the back, placed vertically, but the fingerprint scanner will stay on the side, between the shutter key for the camera and the power button.

Honor

Huawei’s subsidiary is trying to play on its own as a separate brand and George Zhao, the company CEO, is expected to introduce a 5G smartphone as well. We hope to see a 5G-enabled Honor Magic 2, but in multiple conversations officials said this phone is staying in China, so it might be something else entirely. The company is holding its event on February 26.

Honorable mentions

During the conference, OnePlus and Qualcomm will have a 5G panel, talking about what the future holds. We don’t expect to see an actual smartphone though – OnePlus phones usually come later in the year. What is likely to happen is repeating the keynote from October when Pete Lau said OnePlus 7 will be one of the first Androids with the Snapdragon X50 modem.

Cristiano Amon and Carl Pei on the stage of the 4G/5G summit in Hong Kong.

Oppo is another major manufacturer that will appear in Barcelona but will introduce a technology rather than a handset. The maker will show the world its 10x optical zoom module.

We also expect to see a bigger UD fingerprint scanner that is said to be 15 times larger than the current one in the Oppo R17 Pro and majority of devices.

While smartphones are our main target, the ZTE-owned brand nubia is expected to unveil wearables with a flexible screen. They are expected to bend while on your wrist and seem to have a camera next to the panel.

Our team will be at all these events to cover everything so stick around to know all about the new phones that will come from them.

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