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A report out of South Korea this morning contains some interesting news for smartphone watchers. We speculated last week that major brands might avoid launching at MWC 2018 in order to avoid being lost amongst Samsung news. Well, that theory now holds more weight with a report from South Korea’s ET News indicating that LG and Huawei will avoid launching smartphones at next month’s event.

What’s Huawei doing?

Citing unnamed sources, ET News reports that Huawei have decided not to release the next-generation strategic smartphone P20 at MWC 2018, instead opting for a new product launch event in Europe in April and release P20. Rather than not show anything at MWC, the report indicates that Huawei will introduce new products such as tablet PCs or 2-in-1 notebooks.

It wouldn’t be the first time the Chinese company has done so; at MWC 2016 they took the wraps off their Matebook tablet convertible, announcing the P9 at later events. It would be a bit disappointing for the company not to launch a smartphone at MWC (given that it is the event for mobile) but we can completely understand why they wouldn’t for reasons of strategy.

There may be other reasons, too. We’ve heard that Huawei has delayed the release of next-generation smartphones to overcome internal and external challenges such as preparing for entry into the US smartphone market, stabilizing supply-demand of next-generation chipsets, and improving triple camera quality. All good reasons.

As for LG?

As for LG, they’ve virtually confirmed their move already. Instead of announcing the next instalment of their G-series – which could be re-named anyway – they’ll instead show a new version of last year’s V30 model. This report is seemingly confirmed, with ET News citing a “high-ranking operator of the mobile communication company” stating:

LG Electronics’ products that are disclosed at MWC 2018 can inherit the existing V30 design and modify only some functions and change the naming (product name).

What’s this mean for Samsung?

Put simply, it means two of its major competitors in the typical MWC smartphone space won’t be competing at this year’s show. Unlike the rush to announce we saw last year, with dozens of smartphone announcements in the space of a couple of days, this year’s MWC is likely to be a bit more restrained. Granted, we’ll still see press events from Huawei and LG, but they won’t be launching top-shelf mobile products.

This means Samsung will effectively have the top-tier smartphone mindshare largely to itself. Of course, there will still be announcements from Motorola, Alcatel, ZTE, and probably from Oppo and HTC (though there haven’t been many rumours), and undoubtedly others. However, you can expect Samsung to have a big show, and to capture a lot of the news cycle’s attention.

After all, after last year’s no-show due to Galaxy S8 delays, we’d like to see a big Samsung announcement anyway.

Source: ET News (Korean).
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With the LG V30++ only having a more storage and a ‘lens’ clone, it’s hardly going to set the world alight. They really need to cut the prices, which is where there is ample scope to compete.

It will be interesting to see if ZTE push out the Axon 9 at MWC. With talk of an 845, 4-6GB RAM, 64-256GB storage, 2:1 2880 x 1440 6″ display and Oreo (and thus treble) from the get go – it’s going to compete if it comes in at suggested $550-630.