The biggest mobile technology event in the world is upon us. The next Mobile World Congress is the alter ego of the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Where CES is full of remote concepts, increasingly autonomous cars and furniture for the smart home, the MWC is fixed with no apologies for mobile and telephone technology. Hosted in Barcelona every year, the MWC hosts some of the most important Android releases, and this year is no different with Samsung preparing to introduce its new Galaxy S9.
Before plunging into the river of leaks that preceded this year's MWC, it is worth highlighting the most important moments we should expect:
Sunday, 8AM ET / 2PM Barcelona: Huawei press conference.
Sunday, 10AM ET / 4PM Barcelona: Nokia press conference.
Sunday, 12PM ET / 6PM Barcelona: Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2018.
Monday, 2:15 a.m. ET / 8:15 a.m. Barcelona: Sony press conference.
Tuesday, 1:30 PM ET / 7:30 PM Barcelona: Asus press conference.
If you are interested in knowing exactly what each of these large companies has to announce during the MWC, stay tuned to The Verge during those times and we will offer you the latest as it happens. But let's get into things we already know (or think we know).
Samsung's response to the iPhone X
The Galaxy S9 is the latest in a long list of Samsung flagship phones to be launched at the Mobile World Congress. Over the years, Nokia, HTC, Sony and LG have competed with Samsung for the spotlight, but this year all leaks, exaggeration and interest have been absorbed by the next pair of Galaxy devices.
The highly anticipated Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will be Samsung's first direct response to Apple's iPhone X, although they appear to be evolutionary rather than radical updates. Filtered images show a slim bezel design that is difficult to distinguish from the Galaxy S8, although the fingerprint sensor on the back has been moved to a central position and the new camera system is expected to have a double-aperture configuration , unique among smartphones.
Samsung Galaxy S9 in DeX PadPhoto: Evan Blass / Twitter
Specifically, the S9 is expected to look quite similar to S8. Like last year, Samsung is selling two models: a 5.8-inch Galaxy S9 and a 6.2-inch Galaxy S9 Plus. Both phones will have the same Super AMOLED displays at 2960 x 1440 in the same 18.5: 9 aspect ratio, and will continue to have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance and will have a front iris scanner. Also like last year, the S9 is expected to ship with a non-removable 3,000 mAh battery, while the S9 Plus will have a greater than 3,500 mAh.
One of the trends that will probably dominate the MWC this year is the abandonment of the analog headphone jack, but Samsung seems to be resolutely clinging to it in the Galaxy S9. A new DeX Pad accessory has also been leaked, suggesting that Samsung is going to take advantage of its DeX system to make the phone work like a PC when connected to a monitor.
The latest leak even discloses the expected price S9: € 997 for the Galaxy S9 Plus and € 841 for the Galaxy S9.
Sony is preparing to get rid of the bevels
Apparently, all MWC, Sony feels flattered to cheat. The Japanese hardcore tries to have big and bold statements for the show, but his schedule to update his flagship model every six months tends to leave us disappointed by the incremental changes. For this year, there are indications that we will see an Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, direct successors of the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact that were launched half a year ago. The most exciting of them could be the indication that Sony changes to a screen ratio of 18: 9 and abandons its huge bevels.
The Xperia XZ2 is expected to have a 5.8-inch screen, while the Xperia XZ2 Compact will have a 5-inch 1080p screen. The latter would be one of the few smaller phones (relatively speaking) with a Full HD screen. Both will have curved backs, according to a complete leak in Swedroid, which will cause the fingerprint reader to move from the power button backwards. However, the headphone jack is one of the victims of Sony's new design.
In Sweden, it is said that the Sony Xperia XZ2 has a price of SEK 7990 (approximately $ 980) and the smaller Xperia XZ2 would cost SEK 5990 kroner ($ 740-ish). The launch date indicated by Swedroid is March 6.
Huawei, HTC, LG and Motorola dodge the giant of the galaxy
Existing LG V30 in Raspberry RedPhoto: LG
Four of the world's leading mobile brands will not bring new and emblematic flagship devices to the MWC. Huawei has booked an event at the end of March for its next premium phone, HTC will spend MWC talking about its virtual reality efforts, Motorola will not launch flagships in February, and LG may not be ready for its next big launch until June. It is likely that Motorola will repeat its performance at the MWC 2017 by completing its mid-range Moto G series.
Whether these companies want to come face to face with Samsung or not, it seems that their development cycles are simply not synchronized with the MWC calendar. Last year, it became known that Samsung was able to secure exclusive access to Qualcomm's first batch of Snapdragon 835 processors, which allowed it to bring the Galaxy S8 to market before its competitors. It is reasonable to suspect that a similar dynamic could be at play with respect to the Snapdragon 845 chipset tracking this year.
It is likely that LG has the most attractive device on display with a smooth update of your V30 phone. The company has mocked a new feature of the AI camera for what is expected to be called LG V30s and retains the same appearance and design as the existing model.
Reactivation of the Nokia brand increases
HMD surprised us at the Mobile World Congress 2017 with a modern version of the Nokia 3310. That simple classic stole the show from a trio of Android phones from the same company, thanks to the strong bond of Nokia nostalgia. A year has passed and the sales of Android devices with the Nokia brand seem to be increasing slowly, but we are still waiting for a true flagship phone that can compete with a Samsung Galaxy S9 or a Google Pixel 2.
That could come in the form of the Nokia 8 Sirocco this year. It is rumored to be a new phone, based on the Nokia 8, with a 5.5-inch OLED screen with curved sides and the Sirocco brand that was used for the first time by Nokia in 2006. The filtered images show a fingerprint reader back and a dual camera, but there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. In addition to this new release, which may or may not reach the MWC, there are strong indications that Nokia will introduce a Nokia 7 Plus device with Android One and a Nokia 1 entry-level phone, developing the full range of its Android portfolio. And you never know, maybe there will be another retroactive device like the 3310!
The iPhone X notch looks
Asus is one of the big electronics companies that hopes to make more impression at this year's MWC than it normally does. But the device with which it is rumored is doing, the anticipated ZenFone 5, will have a characteristic aspect of another company's device: Apple's iPhone X. The filtered images show an unmistakable similarity between Asus' new phone and Apple's current flagship, with an edge-to-edge screen and a trapezoidal notch on the top that houses the headset, front camera and sensors. The leaks on the back of the ZenFone 5 also show it using a dual camera system arranged exactly like the iPhone. A more conventional ZenFone 5 Lite has also been suggested for additional pre-MWC leaks.
As usual at MWC, the influence of the iPhone's design will be felt in all of Fira's exhibition halls, even without Apple's official presence at the fair. The particular notch design of the iPhone X can hardly be described as beautiful, but it has already been created by numerous companies: the noi of Croatia, for example, has previously announced the clone of the iPhone X it brings to Barcelona, and that trend alone grow during MWC 2018 and the rest of the year. It may seem cynical, but Android manufacturers simply respond to the demand of users of a smartphone that looks like an iPhone X without costing as much as one.
The massacre of headphones
Huawei P10, LG G6 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium at MWC 2017Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge
Yes, the new Samsung Galaxy S9 from Samsung and the LG V30 soda are almost sure to keep the headphone jack. But what about all the others? Sony, which appeared in my optimistic article last year stating that the headphone jack is still active, is ready to abandon it in 2018. Huawei already dropped the plug of its Mate 10 Pro last year, joining Google, HTC, Motorola and an increasingly wide range. variety of others. Like it or not, the analog audio connector is now considered very optional for smartphone manufacturers, and many move aggressively to make it superfluous.
The MWC 2018 will be another massive show with a lot of new smartphones from a wide variety of companies. But if you insist on having a standard headphone jack on your next device, it's probably the smallest program for many years. The future of portable audio is wireless, everyone agrees now, and phone companies are rushing, whether we're ready or not.