Tuesday , October 24 2017

What’s coming up at MWC 2016, and what are we excited about?

EDITORIAL  Mobile World Congress is, today, two weeks away. Two weeks from today, Ausdroid will be getting ready for MWC 2016’s press day, and while we’re not expecting to be quite as busy as we were last year, there’s still quite a lot rumoured (and confirmed) to be announced at MWC this year, and we’re rather excited to be going to see it first hand.

This will be Ausdroid’s second year at Mobile World Congress, thanks to the support of generous sponsors who value Ausdroid’s attendance and insight. We won’t rabbit on about that now, because it’s not what you’re primarily interested in, but if you too are looking forward to Ausdroid’s coverage this year, show Huawei some love, because without them, we wouldn’t be going.

Anyway, there’s the usual big names for this year’s event, with Samsung, Huawei and LG all confirming press conferences for Press Day.

There are, sadly, some notable exceptions. HTC haven’t confirmed that they’re doing anything much at MWC this year, after successful showings over the past few years with the original HTC One, One M8 and One M9. Equally, while Sony has a big showing at MWC some years and not others, this year appears to be one of the ‘not’ years; they have an event on, but it isn’t a headline event on Press Day. Rather, it appears  Sony will be conducting some sort of presentation from their booth on Monday, though no one is really sure what Sony might be announcing.

For the bigger names, there’s been very little left to rumour this year. LG have confirmed that they’re releasing something called a G5 at MWC 2016, and with history as our guide, and a healthy dose of rumours alongside, we know the G5 will be a phone, and likely one hell of a phone. Rumours abound, but mentions of things like replaceable battery, dual cameras, high performance chipset and boosted RAM and storage mean the G5 is likely to be a great phone for 2016, just as the G4 was a great phone last year.

LG-g5-case-leak

In fact, LG’s G5 might be the most exciting phone for 2016.

Samsung have all but confirmed they’re releasing the next instalment of their Galaxy S line, and after seven years, it just keeps on getting better. Many saw Samsung’s design change last year as an overwhelming positive, getting rid of some crusty design elements and reinvigorating the Galaxy S line with rounded, chrome-less edges, slim design and a consistent design language with the Note line as well.

Specification wise, there’s little between the Galaxy S7 lineup and LG’s G5; rumours are they’ll use the same chipset, offer similar storage options, 3GB RAM or more, and both will (even without rumour, history tells us they will) feature excellent mobile cameras too.

Probably the only likely difference is LG’s choice of removable battery, with Samsung rumoured to be bringing back the Micro SD card this year presumably to take advantage of Android 6.0 Marshmallow’s enhanced storage technology that allows Micro SD cards to function as internal storage (meaning there’s next to no compatibility issues unlike years gone by when Micro SD hasn’t been all that useful).

Removable or not, battery life will be of key importance in 2016’s mobile devices, and we’re going to be paying a lot of attention to what’s announced at MWC; LG are rumoured to be opting for a 4,000 mAh battery to power the G5, and Samsung too have likely increased their modest batteries from last year to 3,000mAh or more for this year’s flagship handsets. So they should. With more powerful processors and ever larger or more powerful displays, that juice is needed to keep things running all day.

So those are the two major announcements, what about everyone else? Huawei is sponsoring our trip to MWC, what are they doing?

Unlike LG and Samsung, who leak like the worst bathroom tap in history, Huawei are tight-lipped. So tight lipped, in fact, that virtually no one has any idea what they’ve been working on. Rumours of a new P-line handset to succeed the Huawei P8 abound, however there’s every indication that the P9 will be launched sometime later in the year, around March.

So, if Huawei isn’t doing a phone launch for MWC, could it be a tablet, a new wearable, or something else entirely? With recent launches in both the phone and wearable categories, as recently as CES for a new Mate 8 phone and new Watch variants, I’d say its somewhat unlikely we’re going to see much there.

huawei-hybrid-laptop

There has been rumour of a hybrid tablet/laptop from Huawei, shown above, and speculation is rife that this device will be announced at MWC this year. Dubbed the Huawei MateBook, the device will run both Android and Windows 10, with a detachable tablet and keyboard dock (somewhat like the Pixel C). We don’t know much more about it than what we’ve heard in this fairly light-on rumour, but with Huawei promising “a brand new Huawei device that will meet the demands of the next generation of mobile innovation” the shoe certainly fits.

There’ll be plenty of other new and exciting things at MWC, no doubt, from other big manufacturers and lesser known as well; after the rush of Press Day on Sunday, we’ve got two days to explore GSMA’s flagship conference, with some booth tours locked in for hands-on time with new devices, and time to explore what else will be happening in mobile for the year ahead.

We know that things have been a little quiet around here in the last month or so, but expect a wave of coverage coming soon. Keep it locked on Ausdroid for the next few weeks, for all the news coming out of MWC 2016!

 

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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