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MWC 2020 – What to expect


*Update*
As of the12th February, organisers GSMA have confirmed that the event is now cancelled and will not be taking place at all due to coronavirus fears, full statement here.


MWC 2020 – that’s Mobile World Congress 2020, to give it its full name – runs from February 24-27, and it’s set to be the biggest mobile trade show this year, just as MWC 2019 was the biggest last year.

However, this year, the show’s scale is in question as Novel Coronavirus continues to disrupt movement and travel of the global population. MWC is suffering knock-on affects, with multiple companies announcing they will no longer be present.

LG was the first to say it was pulling out of the show, and since then Ericsson (on Feb 7), Nvidia (on Feb 7), Amazon (on Feb 9) and most recently, Sony (on Feb 10), have all followed suit, citing concerns over the welfare of their customers, partners, media and employees. Meanwhile Chinese firm ZTE has cancelled its MWC 2020 press conference, but still plans on making an appearance at the show.

The show’s organizer, the GSMA, put out a press release on Feb 9 stating that MWC 2020 would still go ahead with more than 2,800 exhibitors down to attend – but we’ll see if that number reduces as the event edges closer. MWC 2020 will take place in Barcelona, Spain and we’re expecting to see the introduction of a whole range of new devices from a variety of manufacturers.

We’re still anticipating seeing top-end devices such as the Xiaomi Mi 10 and Sony Xperia 2, so expect it to be one of the most exciting times of the year if you’re looking to upgrade your phone.


As is tradition, lets have a look below at the expected activity from the major firms who will be at the show, plus the latest news and rumors of what else we may see in Barcelona.


Honor

We actually know quite a bit about Honor’s MWC 2020 plans, thanks to the company itself. Honor is hosting an event on February 24 at 5:30pm CET.
The products launching there are set to be the Honor View 30 Pro, and Honor 9X Pro. The former is one of two phones that were launched in China at the end of 2019, and the latter is seemingly an upgraded version of the Honor 9X affordable phone which has been available globally since November 2019. All these phones are set to have global launches at MWC 2020, because they’re already available in China.


HTC

Once a giant in the smartphone game, HTC now has a very limited output when it comes to smartphones. They are down as being an exhibitor at MWC but if there is anything new, it will most liely be a version of their fantastic Vive VR headset or a 5G hub. It would be very surprising for HTC to reveal a new smartphone although we can always dream. There’s also a possibility of a presser taking place but this has not been confirmed.

Huawei

We just do not know what to expect from Huawei this year. The US ban has thrown the balance askew and Huawei are now looking to regroup with other Chinese manufacturers and just make their own operating system to replace Android and Google Play services due to the aforementioned ban. 

We could see Huawei announce its Huawei P40 series at the event, where it’s sure to have journalists in attendance, but on the other hand it might launch no physical products, instead showing off the new operating system Harmony OS, which will be the first time the world sees what just may be a realistic competitor to the currently dominant Android platform.
We don’t have any word on an actual press conference yet, although we know the company is exhibiting at the event. That doesn’t mean anything through, as it could be exhibiting its 5G infrastructure or IoT tech as much as actual products.


Motorola

Motorola is like Samsung in that, in 2019, it launched its new smartphones just before MWC that year. These were the G7 series, and while the Moto G8 Plus is already available to buy, the rest of the Moto G8 series could come at, or just before, MWC 2020.
It’s also possible that Motorola’s parent company, Lenovo, could share new products like wireless headphones or laptops, but for a mobile show we wouldn’t expect the latter.
According to Android Headlines Motorola is set to throw its smartphone soiree on February 23 at 7pm CET, and according to the website that could bring with it the company’s new flagship. 



Oppo

Like OnePlus, Oppo uses MWC more to show off tech than to launch actual products itself. The company has gotten much more popular over the course of 2019, so this could change, but we haven’t heard of any press conference so far. In 2019 Oppo showed off its 10x hybrid zoom which later found its way to the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, and if the company doesn’t launch an actual smartphone at MWC, we could still learn a bit more about the 2020 it has in store.


Realme

Realme isn’t typically known as an MWC phone company, as its devices only became popular in the West in mid-2019, but MWC 2020 could be the first big event it graces. We haven’t heard anything so far, though.
Some rumors point to Realme hosting a press conference, and possibly launching a new phone along with a 5G equivalent and maybe even a fitness tracker. We’re not totally convinced just yet, although wouldn’t mind being proven wrong.


Samsung

Samsung have already had the launch for their new range of Galaxy flagships so they most likely and historically have never revealed any flagship related devices at MWC but even so, Samsung is typically still an exhibitor, with a big stand on the show floor. This is where it shows off the new Galaxy S phones to fans (as the devices typically land in early March, after MWC, so most people haven’t seen them in person yet). There are also often Galaxy A phones, from the company’s affordable range, and we’d expect this to be shown off new for MWC 2020. Perhaps the A31 and A11 will be shown off there.


Sony

Sony has officially pulled out of MWC 2020. In a statement issued on February 10, the firm said:

“Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020.

“As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.”

However, the good news is it will still launch new products – we’re expecting to see the Sony Xperia 2 and perhaps a mid-range device or two, similar to MWC 2019 which saw the Xperia 1, 10 and 10 Plus – as it confirmed an online launch instead.

“The Sony press conference will now instead take place at the scheduled time of 8:30am (CET) on February 24, 2020 as a video via our official Xperia YouTube channel to share our exciting product news.”


TCL

TCL surprised us at CES 2020 in January by launching loads of smartphones – the TCL 10, 10 Pro and 10 5G, as well as the Alcatel 3L, 1S and 1B, so it’s already had a busy year.

There’s potentially more to come from the brand, but it has scaled back its presence at MWC by cancelling its press conference.

In a statement, the firm said: “Given the recent global health concerns due to the spread of the 2019-nCoV virus, and out of an abundance of caution and care for our staff, customers, press and other guests, TCL Communication is cancelling its global press event for MWC 2020, which was planned for 22 February 2020.
“This decision does not impact any other MWC 2020 activities planned by the company and TCL will still announce its latest mobile devices.”


Vivo

Vivo doesn’t always use MWC to show off new phones, instead letting us see concept phones that boast tech which gradually makes its way into phones over the coming years.This is what happened in 2019, when the company showed off the Vivo Apex Concept with a pop-up camera and an in-screen fingerprint sensor that let you press anywhere on the lower half of the screen to unlock. We’d expect something similar in 2020, rather than a traditional phone launch.


Xiaomi

After launching in the UK in late 2018, Xiaomi held a MWC 2019 press conference showing off the Mi 9. We’re expecting to hear about the Xiaomi Mi 10 (as well as perhaps a Pro version) at MWC 2020, based off that precedent and also some rumors suggesting as such. Saying that, the company hasn’t confirmed anything so far, so it’s all rumor and speculation at the moment. Since Xiaomi has been pushing hard at western markets over 2019, we’d expect this new Mi phone and perhaps even a new Redmi device too.


ZTE

ZTE has plans to show off its latest 5G developments, but the Chinese firm has cancelled its press conference in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, in a statement, ZTE has confirmed that it “will participate in MWC 2020 Barcelona as planned, showcasing comprehensive 5G end-to-end solutions and a wide variety of 5G devices.”
In fact, it will launch a new 5G ZTE Axon smartphone at the show, as well as new mid range handset from its Blade series.


There will likely be plenty of new devices, new technology and new ideas coming out of MWC when it launches on the 24th and you can find all the confirmed information here on Technically Funny!

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