MWC 2017 – What to expect

Barcelona will once again be hosting the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event run by the GSMA. Like it most often does, the MWC will start towards the end of February. To be more precise, the event will run from the 27th of February to the 2nd of March. Most big players of the mobile industry are expected to make an appearance during the event in order to showcase their latest devices and other technological endeavors.

Events and keynote speakers

The first keynote speakers have already been announced and include a host of CEOs and Chairmen including John Stankey of AT&T, Rajeev Suri of Nokia, Eugene Kaspersky of Kaspersky Lab, John Hanke of Niantic, Arnaud de Puyfontaine of Vivendi Group, Chang-Gyu Hwang of KT Corporation, José María Álvarez-Pallete of Telefónica, and GSMA’s own Mats Granryd.

As usual, there will be a range of events along the product announcements. Four Years from Now (4YFN), the startup business platform, will be returning this year with a distinct theme for each day of the event: Disrupted by Mobile, the Internet of Things, and Digital Media. In addition to that, Women4Tech (W4T) will be presenting a programme focused on addressing the gender gap and increasing the inclusion of women in the mobile industry through a series of events.

Product launches

Samsung

One of the companies which always makes an appearance at the MWC is Samsung. The company has a tradition of unveiling its devices a day before the actual conference starts in order to drum up even more interest. As such, I would expect that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and/or S8 Edge will be announced on the 26th of February. Rumors surrounding the company’s next flagship devices are already circling around. For instance, Samsung might include a curved screen in both its flagship models, do away with the Edge name, and focus instead on different sets of features including a potential 4K screen for the best VR experience.

Sony

Guessing the name of Sony’s next flagship devices is almost as fun as witnessing the product launches themselves. The Sony Xperia series will undoubtedly be making a comeback at MWC. The company will most likely reveal at least two devices during the event, including the successor to the Xperia XZ. The truth is that Sony had a weird but interesting 2016 with a varied range of devices so it’s hard to gauge exactly what the company will unfold during MWC.

LG

Since the modular LG G5 was announced at last years’ MWC, it would not be surprising to see the launch of the G6 during this year’s conference. LG took a risk which didn’t pay off last year so even though the company isn’t always present at the MWC, I would expect them to be there this time. The company will need a solid, interesting device to turn any heads its way.

Huawei

Huawei’s history with the MWC is a bit unconventional. Even when the company makes an appearance, it doesn’t always unveil new flagships but rather focuses on new product lines instead. Even so, Huawei had a very decent 2016 and there’s no reason to believe that 2017 will be any different. Should they choose to make an appearance at the event, they might even recreate the headline-grabbing success of the Mate 9.

HTC

Despite the fact that HTC skipped the MWC for the HTC 10, the company could very well return this year with its flagship’s successor. Interestingly enough, there are no leaks and rumors about the HTC 11 so any announcement might take most of us by surprise.

Other expectations

MWC has always been the place to be for anyone remotely interested in the mobile industry and this year will not be any different. With an increasingly wide range of diverse events and product launches, we might even get to see long-anticipated trends spring into life. Virtual reality will surely be a focal point of conversation throughout the entire conference with companies like Samsung and Google heading the charge.

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