Here’s what to expect at MWC 2018

6 min read

Monday begins the biggest global smartphone event of the year. You may have thought it was CES, which we covered back in January, but Mobile World Congress is the smartphone/mobile tech specific equivalent where many companies will unveil their latest devices. Much like recent years, we expect this year to be another year dominated by Android manufacturers peddling their newest toys. We also know one, in particular, will be making huge news.

Samsung Galaxy S9

This one has all but completely leaked…because nothing is safe online. Samsung headlined MWC with their Galaxy launches, but have mostly opted for self-hosted events since the unveiling of the Galaxy S6. Their shiny, new Galaxy S9 has been leaked all over the place recently and we have a pretty decent understanding of what it will be showing off.

The overall design seems very similar to the previous S8. The standard will have a 5.8-inch screen while the larger Plus will have a 6.2-inch display. Both will reportedly keep the 18:9 aspect ratio with AMOLED tech. Other features that are rumored to stay are water resistance, headphone jack, and wireless charging. Another thing that Samsung will be featuring more may be DeX. The mobile to the desktop environment from Samsung has seen a heavier focus in both leaked renders as well as a new video of the keynote promo itself.

There are some glanceable changes too. The first is that Samsung has listened to reason and relocated their fingerprint scanner to the standard, sane spot on the back just below the camera. And speaking of the camera…it will have variable-aperture capabilities. This supposedly allows you to dial between f/2.5 and f/1.5 settings.

Samsung’s Unpacked 2018 starts at 12 PM EST.

Sony finally changes their design

Sony has rocked roughly the same iconic design for their phones for years. The blockish, hard lines of a Sony smartphone were instantly recognizable as well as polarizing. You either love it or hate it. The company looks to be poised to finally break a new mold on their handsets. Famous leak specialist, Evan Blass, added another notch to his belt by getting photos and details concerning the new Sony XZ2 and XZ2 Compact. (names are hard)

The new curves and industrial design immediately remind me of an HTC phone, but I don’t see that as a negative. Specs of the device have the XZ2 sporting a bezel reduced 5.7-inch screen and the Compact with a smaller 5-inch display. The phone will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo onboard and be powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (this is also in some models of the Galaxy S9s).

The new XZ2 will bring the initial release of “S-force” as well. This may be a direct reaction to iOS “Force Touch” but with a twist…it’s for audio. Yep, audio. Reports claim that it will sync audio playback with haptic feedback to expand the user’s audio experience. I’m not sure this was a problem that anyone was asking to be fixed, but Sony historically adds some pretty forward-thinking features to many of their electronics.

Sony also will return to the Qi bandwagon with the XZ2. They have provided wireless charging in a plethora of ways over the years. From proprietary pogo connection to Qi, Sony has a history of wire-free options and it’s nice to see that return this year. Blass has all but confirmed this with another leaked image of a new wireless charging dock to be announced alongside the XZ2.

Sony’s press conference is scheduled for Monday at 2:15 AM EST.

LG will refresh the V30 with AI and hardware bump

LG made a splash earlier this year by coming out with the news that it had stopped all development of their next smartphone. The company is losing to Samsung and it needed a change. For the short-term, the company has decided to add features to an existing smartphone instead. With the addition of AI and extra RAM, LG has announced the V30S ThinQ and will officially reveal it to the world at MWC.

The artificial intelligence is the most compelling change of the ThinQ. LG claims that with AI it’s altered the experience of the original V30 with hotword voice capabilities, new camera shooting options, and even enhanced low light photography. Qlens is a feature set of this newfound software and is in the same likeness of Google Lens and even plugs into Amazon to shop with a snap of an object you have in front of you.

It’s somewhat confusing that LG is making another “variant” of the V30. While they’ve tabled whatever they had in the works as the latest G-series device, simply rebranding the V30 with some quirky software (maybe that’s what the Q stands for?) seems rushed and not up to par with a company trying to compete with a juggernaut like Samsung. We will withhold complete judgment until we’ve got a hands-on, but I hope the rushed feeling doesn’t result in a half-baked end experience.

Honorable mentions

BlackBerry has long been a mainstay at MWC. The company formally known as RIM launched the KeyOne last year at CES, but were absent in January. That leaves us to believe that this years’ model may be primed to be revealed at MWC as well. If so, the company has kept the smartphone away from leaks and would come as somewhat of a surprise, but a refreshed QWERTY from BlackBerry has to be in the works. I’d love to see one on my desk with more RAM and better software optimization.

Another blast from the past that could easily pop up at MWC would be Nokia. Actually, we’re pretty sure of it. The CEO of the company behind the nostalgic brand, HMD Global, tweeted a teaser saying as much. Nokia has been making a comeback in 2017. They’ve sold over 4 million phones and recaptured 1% of the smartphone market with phones like the Nokia 5, 6, and the most recent 8. They are rumored to have a new flagship, Nokia 9, as well as an Android One device in the works. Oh, and they have a press event scheduled on Sunday at 10 AM EST.

These are just a few devices we think you’ll see at this year’s Mobile World Congress. However, it’s a huge event and many companies across the mobile market will be there. I’m sure there are multiple gadgets that will be announced other than what we’ve featured in this post. That’s the great thing about technology! There’s always a new shiny thing just around the corner. Is there a rumored phone that you can’t wait to see that we left off the list?