I can’t imagine I’m about to say this, however I’m truly genuinely excited for Cell World Congress 2019 — I feel you ought to be too.
It’s no secret, regardless of rising attendance numbers, the most important occasion within the cellular industry calendar has grow to be a shell of its former self, not less than by way of marquee, industry-shaping bulletins and product reveals.
Instead of flashy new product strains and OEMs competing tooth and nail for the limelight, we’ve as an alternative sat via the tiresome bezel wars, been mildly distracted by nostalgia-baiting retro telephones you don’t really need, and suffered via bloated reveals of vaguely dissimilar glass/metallic slabs, every with a handful of incremental upgrades and a brand new quantity or letter slapped on the top accompanied by meaningless guarantees that “the way forward for cellular is lastly right here — for actual this time people, we swear.”
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There have been a number of brilliant sparks within the abyss, after all, however MWC has principally been mired within the doldrums for years, crippled by the identical smartphone fatigue hitting the industry’s giants and stifled by an total lack of innovation within the cellular house.
Even if you happen to rely keynotes technically held away from the Barcelona present (which absolutely we will all agree nonetheless fall beneath the MWC banner by proxy), what was as soon as the must-see occasion on the planet of cellular has misplaced numerous its luster.
This culminated in MWC 2018 the place we noticed the Samsung Galaxy S9, a neat idea telephone and, properly, that’s about it.
One thing feels completely different this yr, although.
Trying throughout the teasers, leaks, and pre-show hype, there’s a rising glimmer of hope that MWC 2019 would be the sort of exhilarating showcase the cellular industry and shoppers deserve.
Foldable future, immediately
It seems to be like we’ll lastly not less than catch a glimpse on the first wave of foldable telephones with versatile shows at MWC 2019.
The smartphone design template has been crying out for a contemporary type issue for what seems like eternally. Loads of OEMs — together with Android’s high two, Samsung and Huawei — think about foldable telephones as the following true evolution of smartphone design.
We’ve seen experimental type elements just like the dual-screen Axon M, telephones with modular parts from Motorola, LG, and Important, weird idea units with screens on the rear, and now we’re even seeing ridiculous telephones with no buttons in any respect, however they’ve all didn’t catch on.
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In the meantime, Samsung, LG, and different main show makers have prepped for a foldable future for some time. Samsung first teased the know-how and the way it may change the best way we work together with smartphones way back to 2013.
This slow-burn method — to not point out Google’s determination to natively help foldable designs inside Android — suggests we’re not simply taking a look at one other flash-in-the-pan novelty.
Whereas we’ve technically already seen the primary folding telephone from Chinese language OEM Royole, the world continues to be ready to see what Android’s elite has in retailer. Samsung and Huawei are each anticipated to increase upon their plans for foldable units in Barcelona.
5G is absolutely right here this time
If you happen to attended MWC in individual lately, you’ll keep in mind phrases like “5G is right here” or “5G has arrived” misleadingly emblazoned throughout placards on telecom giants’ varied stands.
Seems it hadn’t arrived then, however it would this yr.
It’ll nonetheless be some time earlier than we’re having fun with lightning quick obtain speeds and buttery-smooth 4K streaming on the go, however the main U.S. carriers have dedicated to turning on their nascent fifth-generation networks in some capability in 2019.
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The primary batch of 5G telephones, on which these networks will rely, seems to be set to interrupt cowl at MWC 2019.
The probably candidates at this stage seem like Samsung, Oppo, Huawei, and Xiaomi. OnePlus already confirmed it’ll have a 5G telephone prototype on show.
Certain, a 5G telephone isn’t as instantly thrilling as a tool that folds out right into a pill, however 5G may usher in an Web of Issues revolution, and grow to be the lynchpin of sensible cities. It may act as a gateway to VR, AR, and XR experiences on cellular that change the best way we play, store, and usually interact with our handsets. That every one sounds fairly thrilling to me.
Xiaomi (re)takes the stage
Xiaomi had an unbelievable 2018 with continued success in rising markets, large development within the West, (principally) profitable launches in new areas throughout Europe, and an total improve in smartphone shipments and robust gross sales for its IoT and life-style merchandise.00
Now it needs to hold that momentum ahead at MWC 2019 by returning to the Gran Fira By way of in earnest after two years away. Whereas Xiaomi technically confirmed up final yr, you must return to 2016 to the muted reveal of the Mi 5 collection for its final main product announcement.
No matter what Xiaomi has to indicate, it’ll be fascinating to listen to what it has to say.
Emboldened by its speedy development on a worldwide scale (and with U.S. market plans nonetheless apparently within the pipeline), Xiaomi’s media briefing will likely be a press release of intent because it seems to be to topple a few of its flagging rivals and set up itself as one of many world’s main Android manufacturers.
The corporate is seemingly readying a 5G variant of its Mi Combine three slider telephone for the showcase, however there’s rising hypothesis it may additionally introduce the Mi 9 collection. We’d even get an official take a look at Xiaomi’s awesome-looking folding telephone.
A correct Nokia flagship
HMD International has carried out an unbelievable job reviving the Nokia model because it debuted at MWC 2017. The as soon as nice title of Nokia — bolstered by Google’s Android One software program — now lastly means one thing once more after the pitch-black darkness of the Microsoft/Lumia period.
We’ve seen HMD craft aggressive, inexpensive telephones for nearly each value bracket which have principally earned rave opinions and helped the model steadily claw again a modest chunk of market share in varied areas. Effectively, virtually each value bracket, not less than.
Whereas the Nokia eight and Nokia 7 collection have each delivered telephones approaching top-end specs, we haven’t seen a real, balls-to-the-wall Nokia-branded flagship because the Lumia 930 again in 2014.
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That appears virtually sure to vary at MWC 2019 with the arrival of the Nokia 9.
The long-rumored and heavily-leaked telephone may characteristic all of the trimmings you’d count on from a very high-end telephone with a premium design — OLED show, flagship internals, and a loopy penta-lens digicam and accompanying sensors that appear like a trypophobe’s nightmare (don’t Google that).
It’s barely disappointing to listen to the telephone might be powered by the Snapdragon 845 when Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset is prepared for primetime, but when HMD can as soon as once more maintain the value down the Nokia 9 may very well be the telephone Nokia followers have been ready for.
The Samsung Galaxy S10
It’s an apparent one, however Samsung’s Unpacked occasion on Feb. 20 only a few days previous to MWC’s official begin isn’t simply enterprise as traditional for the world’s most profitable smartphone maker.
The Galaxy S10 collection is a momentous launch for the South Korean big for a lot of causes, not least as a result of it represents the tenth anniversary of the Galaxy model. Do you actually suppose Samsung gained’t need to outdo the iPhone’s current tenth birthday celebrations?
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There are additionally extra severe elements at play. Within the face of declining gross sales, Samsung needs the S10’s launch to show to any challengers (learn: Huawei) it nonetheless has an iron grip on the industry.
To take action, Samsung is all-but-certain to disclose not less than three new telephones — the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e. The primary two signify vital upgrades over the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus you’d count on, with punch-hole shows, in-display fingerprint sensors, killer specs, and triple-lens rear cameras with 3D sensors.
The extra inexpensive, decrease spec Galaxy S10e, in the meantime, is Samsung’s reply to the iPhone XR.
Samsung is beneath actual strain to ship in an enormous method at MWC 2019.
Extra lately, Samsung began teasing its foldable telephone — rumored to be known as the Galaxy F — will seem in some capability on the present. There’s additionally hypothesis an ultra-premium model of the Galaxy S10 with 5G help may make an look.
Whereas there are nonetheless query marks over what precisely Samsung will unveil, that is the primary yr in fairly a while the place the electronics behemoth is beneath actual strain to ship. Whether or not it manages to hit these expectations or not, you must maintain your eyes glued to the Unpacked livestream in simply over every week’s time.
These are only a few the explanation why I feel this yr’s MWC 2019 may lastly buck the pattern of lifeless, predictable bulletins and set the stage for a landmark yr for the cellular industry. You should definitely tell us your ideas on the upcoming present and all of the potential bulletins within the feedback!