These tradeshows come around quickly, don't they? Mobile World Congress 2016 (MWC) kicks off this weekend, and will see the world's biggest tech bods -- apart from Apple, which is obviously too cool for school -- transform Barcelona into a weird, geeky circus. Seriously, there'll be phones, smartwatches and VR headsets coming out of our ears.
Samsung at MWC 2016
No company loves a tradeshow more than Samsung. The South Korean monster always tends to go big, and MWC 2016 will be no different. It’s gearing up to launch two new flagships: the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge.
Invitations to its February 21st Unpacked event have been out for ages, and numerous leaks have given us a decent idea of specs, with the S7 expected to land as a 5.1-incher with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, a Snapdragon 820 chip and 4GB of RAM. Its flashier, curvier sibling is expected to be a fair bit larger, with a 5.7-inch display and, presumably, a bigger battery.
There’s half-hearted talk of a Galaxy S7 Edge+ launch too, but we’re not buying that. More likely is the unveiling of an improved version of the Gear S2 smartwatch, and VR is almost guaranteed to play a part too. Gossipers reckon a 360-degree camera designed for capturing VR content will be unleashed. Hardly an outrageous claim.
LG at MWC 2016
You’ll never guess what. South Korean rival LG is also polishing off its loveliest wares for a February 21st launch, meaning that Sunday will be a nightmare. In an unusual but sort of refreshing move, the company’s decided not to go through the motions of wrapping its upcoming flagship in pseudo-mystery, and has already branded its launch ‘LG G5 Day’.
We’re excited about this one. The company’s believed to have completely overhauled the G4’s design, repositioning its buttons and wrapping it in a slick metal coat.
That’s not all, however. The official invite to the big event suggests that several more LG devices will also arrive in Barcelona. The dual-display LG X screen and dual-camera-wielding X cam, a new pair of mid-rangers, will definitely be on show, and there’s fresh speculation that LG will parade the '360 VR' piece alongside it.
HTC at MWC 2016
Erm…? HTC’s going through a weird period right now and, as such, we’re highly unlikely to meet the One M10 at MWC. Instead, it’s said to be in line for an April 11th unveiling, with the handset expected to be released in May. It’s a shame, as the One M9 was one of the biggest launches of last year’s MWC tradeshow.
However, don’t expect the company to be completely silent in Barcelona. A little something called the HTC Vive will more than likely grab a few headlines, as its April commercial launch date edges nearer.
Sony at MWC 2016
Another tech giant trying to find its way again is Sony. The Japanese behemoth is holding its big conference on February 22nd, but nobody really knows what it’s got lined up its sleeve. Which is actually kind of exciting. Well played, Sony.
We’re unlikely to see a new flagship smartphone, with that trio of Xperia Z5 handsets unleashed at IFA last year, so tablets and wearables should be the name of the game. We’re hearing whispers of an Xperia Z6 Tablet or Xperia Z6 Tablet Compact unveiling, and with the Sony Smartwatch 3 well over a year old, we wouldn’t be surprised to see its successor arrive too.
Microsoft at MWC 2016
There’s a trend emerging here, isn’t there? Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile plans haven’t exactly gone to plan, so it’ll also be desperate to claw back some pride with a positive announcement or two. No matter how much Surface Phone talk we come across, we’d be shocked if the mythical handset actually touched down next week.
Far more likely is the unveiling of the Lumia 750 or Lumia 850, or both. A bit meh, but a step in the right direction, I suppose.
Huawei at MWC 2016
An increasingly-confident Huawei will rock up to Barcelona with a gigantic bag of tricks, if the stuff loud tech people say proves accurate. The Chinese firm may go big with a (terrific?) trio. We're talking a new smartphone, a new smartwatch and a new laptop. Bloooody hell.
The P9 will surely be the headline offering at the Huawei press conference this Sunday, landing as the company's new flagship, but we've also got our fingers crossed for some Huawei Watch biz. Whether that turns out to be the Watch 2 or an update to the original remains to be seen. Rumours of a dual-boot notebook capable of running both Android and Windows are also making the rounds.