The biggest phone show of the year, Mobile World Congress (MWC), will take place in Barcelona between 27 February and 2 March, providing a platform for technology giants such as Samsung, LG and Sony to unveil their latest wares.
A number of high-profile gadgets are expected to launch at MWC, including smartwatches, tablets and several flagship smartphones.
Many of the companies in attendance have already sent out invitations for their respective launch events, and we’ve seen plenty of speculation about the upcoming announcements.
Our breakdown of the launches lined up for MWC 2017 follows, but first it's worth knowing what won't happen at the event.
The sheer scale of MWC means that getting your head around every companies plans can be a bit of a pain. However, while the show is primarily focused around major phone launches, there will be a number of notable absentees.
Apple, for instance, will not be in attendance. The company stays away from trade shows, preferring to unveil new software, MacBooks and models of the iPhone at its own events later in the year.
Google, meanwhile, will be around to plug the Android operating system by supporting its manufacturing partners. Like Apple, it will save the launch of the next version of Android and its Pixel products for another occasion.
What to expect
The South Korean firm usually dominates MWC, but circumstances are rather different this year. The company has decided to push back the launch of the Galaxy S8 to late March, because of the fallout surrounding the disastrous Galaxy Note 7.
Instead, it’s expected to unveil a rival to the the iPad Pro in Barcelona, the Galaxy Tab S3. Set to launch at 7pm CET on 26 February, it’s unlikely to generate the same levels of interest as the S8, but could prove an excellent addition to Samsung’s range.
The Tab S2 was announced back in 2015, so Samsung’s had plenty of time to think up ways to improve it. Details about the Tab S3 are hazy right now, but it’s likely to be a '2-in-1' rather than a pure tablet, and is rumoured to be just 5.6mm thick and feature a 9.6-inch screen and Android Nougat.
Samsung’s abnormally low-key plans open the door for another South Korean giant to take the spotlight. The LG G6 is one of the most highly anticipated phones of the year, not least because of the failure of the G5.
LG took an enormous risk by making a modular flagship handset last year, and it didn’t pay off. The LG G5 was totally different to its rivals, a breath of fresh air for consumers bored of manufacturers embracing increasingly similar design schemes, but it ended up being completely overshadowed by the likes of the S7 and iPhone 7, which weren’t dissimilar to 2015’s S6 and iPhone 6.
LG appears to have dropped the modular approach for the G6, which is expected to launch at 12pm CET on 26 February and use a 5.7-inch, 2,880 x 1,440 display with an unusual 18:9 aspect ratio, ideal for running two apps simultaneously. It's also shed light on the core features it claims users most want, highlighting waterproofing, a wide-angle camera and a compact body, so it will be surprising if the G6 didn’t include all three.
The latest teaser from the company points to the inclusion of an AI assistant, but we don't know whether this would be an existing one, such as Google Assistant or Alexa, or a new once created by LG itself.
Though Huawei has sent out invitations for an event kicking off at 2pm CET on 26 February, which will see it launch “a new flagship device”, we’re not totally convinced that the P10 will see the light of day in Barcelona.
The P7, P8 and P9 were all launched after MWC, and with Huawei gaining serious ground on its more established smartphone rivals in the UK, a change in strategy doesn’t exactly seem necessary. What’s more, the excellent Mate 9 only came out last month, and the company wouldn’t want its two best smartphones to compete with each other.
Huawei could instead unveil a new tablet or wearable. A follow-up to the Huawei Watch, arguably the best-looking Android Wear watch, certainly isn’t out of the question.
Nokia hasn’t given up on a dream return to greatness, and it’ll be hoping to kickstart its recovery with the launch of a handset many believe to be called the Nokia 8, at a conference lined up for 4.30pm CET on 26 February.
Rumours suggest it will have strong photography credentials, using a 24-megapixel sensor with Optical Image Stabilisation. It’s also said to feature a large QHD display, a metal body and waterproofing.
The company's also expected to resurrect the Nokia 3310, perhaps the best-loved and most resilient phone in history. The mobile was released 17 years ago, and has achieved legendary status thanks to its toughness, iconic design and Snake, which you can also play on modern smartphones.
Now under the control of Lenovo, the Motorola brand is a dominant force at the cheaper end of the smartphone market. It’s likely to expand the fantastic G line by launching the new G5 at MWC at 4.30pm CET on 26 February.
Many of the rumours we’ve seen surrounding the phone have conflicted with each other - even the handset’s name is in doubt, with suggestions that it could actually be called the Moto X or Moto Z - so we’re not going to stick our necks on the line with this one.
If the next Moto phone is anywhere near as enticing a package as the sub-£200 G4 though, consumers should be excited.
Sony’s smartphone strategy has been nothing short of a mess in recent years. The company has left much of the industry confused by frequent releases of both flagship and mid-range handsets, few of which have actually impressed.
The latest? Unfortunately, Sony’s scattergun approach appears to still be intact. Rumours suggest it’s preparing to launch five new smartphones at MWC at an event scheduled for 8.30am on 27 February, two of which will be high-end models.
One of these is largely expected to be called the Xperia X2, and come with an impressive 5.5-inch 4K screen and a possible 6GB of RAM. Another Sony handset could feature a 5.5-inch QHD screen and 4GB of RAM, while another could use a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, 4GB of RAM and a 23-megapixel primary camera.
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