Smartphones are integral part of modern life, and within a few short years it’s already pretty hard to imagine what life could be like without them. It’s basically no exaggeration to say that your smartphone can sometimes be your whole life in your pocket— it’s a photo album, map, mailbox, calendar, encyclopedia, phonebook, and more. Depending on how you use it, it’s sometimes practically impossible to plan an entire day without your phone in your hand guiding you through it.
The market is flooded with companies trying to get in ahead of their competitors. It’s no surprise that big names like Apple and Samsung are currently leading the pack, but the past few years have seen the rise of other brands that are determined to come out on top. We’ve seen phones get bigger, thinner, lighter, and come with better cameras, but what else could there be in store?
If there’s one place where brands can showcase what they’ve been cooking up in their labs and factories all year, it’s Barcelona. Specifically, the Mobile World Congress (now known as MWC) 2019, to be held in Barcelona from February 25 to 28. The MWC is the world’s largest mobile event, and brings together over 2,400 companies together for showcases, conferences, learning opportunities, and more.
MWC announced this year’s congress’ theme is ‘Intelligent Connectivity’, and in a world that’s slowly edging towards making artificial intelligence a reality, that’s no surprise. From smartphones we’ve begun to put together ‘smart homes’— gadgets that take on specific functions so that we don’t have to. Siri on iOS is, of course, the perfect example of this, and Google’s Alexa and similar products are also pushing further and further into the market.
Having AI as the theme for this year’s MWC highlights what industry specialists have been saying for years: AI is the new frontier for smartphones. With such a dynamic concept leading the discussions this year, companies are of course stepping up to the plate. Here’s a look at what companies might be gearing up to reveal in Barcelona.
The Finnish tech and communications brand was the go-to name in mobile phones for almost a decade, but the smartphone race has left them lagging behind. However, they’ve been catching up in recent years, and the Nokia 8.1 in its value flagship range is boasts a 20-megapixel adaptive camera and an adaptive battery that can last you two days. The internet is rife with rumors that Nokia may unveil its next flagship phone, the Nokia 9 PureView with five rear-cameras, at this year’s MWC, so definitely keep an eye out for that announcement.
Huawei has made headlines in recent months thanks to accusations from the US of spying and stealing tech, but its smartphone development is currently business as usual despite the friction. The Chinese tech giant is currently leading the charge on introducing 5G technology to smartphones, and according to an official tweet Huawei is expected to debut its foldable smartphone at MWC 2019. Rumors also have the P30 and P30 being unveiled at MWC, although experts are split on whether that will happen later on in the year instead.
Samsung has confirmed that it will be launching the Galaxy S10 on February 20, and will also be announcing a Samsung foldable smartphone on the same date, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t have anything up its sleeve for MWC 2019. There might be some new addition to Samsung’s wearables line, including the Samsung GalaxySport and Samsung Galaxy Fit, and the company might unveil some new releases for its midrange A-series line of phones.
Oppo currently has 20% of the market share in the Philippines, making it one of the top brands in the country alongside giants Apple and Samsung. With Oppo also set to reveal its own foldable smartphone at MWC, as well as an Oppo device that will purportedly have up to 10x optical zoom and optical image stabilization, it looks like the company is hungry for more. The company is also following the 5G trend, and has said that it looks to reveal its own 5G-compatible phone within the first half of 2019. Whether that will be at MWC remains to be seen.
The specs for the company’s MWC release have been leaked for a while, but Sony has confirmed that it will be launching the Sony Xperia XZ4 in Barcelona. The Xperia XZ4 will have a 21:9 aspect ratio, flat panel screen, two front-facing cameras, and possibly a 4400mAh battery that will be able to support adaptive fast charging, wireless charging, and Stamina mode. Reports are in that Sony will also be launching the Xperia XA3 with dual rear cameras and a Snapdragon 660 chip alongside it.
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Daniel Ling is a tech writer, gamer, and cat dad. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology an indeterminate number of years ago, worked for a while in the IT industry, switched to startups, and now does writing in his spare time. If you want to catch up on the latest gossip about gadget releases, he probably already knows it, and if he doesn’t then he can at least Google it pretty quick. If you challenge him to a Star Wars trivia battle, you will lose.