"With 2017 well under way, the next big smartphone launch platform is Mobile World Congress 2017. We've flittered through CES 2017 - the first big tech event of the year - with very few smartphone announcements.
One of the biggest fixtures in the mobile launch calendar, here's everything you need to know about MWC 2017 and what smartphones, smartwatches and other devices we can expect to see.
What is Mobile World Congress?
Mobile World Congress is an annual trade show run by the GSMA. The location moves around Europe, but in recent years it has been held in Barcelona, Spain.
Mobile World Congress is the launch platform for many of the year's big smartphones, but it has also given us a range of tablets, smartwatches and other connected devices in recent years.
Outside of the consumer sphere, it also draws in many of the industry heavyweights to talk about the future of mobile, like 5G, chipsets, VR and other technologies.
When is Mobile World Congress 2017?
Mobile World Congress 2017 will be held on 27 February to 3 March. These are the days that the show itself is open, the press days - where the big announcements are made - usually fall before this.
Sunday 26 February will be the big launch day, the day before the show opens to visitors, with a number of confirmed press events, which we've detailed below.
Hottest phones expected at MWC 2017
In brief, here are the major phones we're expecting to see at MWC 2017
- BlackBerry DTEK70
- LG G6
- Moto G5
- Nokia 8/P1
- Sony Xperia X2
- Huawei P10
BlackBerry at MWC 2017
BlackBerry has stopped making its own phones and has handed the license to TCL. There had long been rumours of a new handset - codenamed Mercury - launching in 2017 and in an unusual move, a prototype of the Mercury has already been shown off, so we've had a play with it.
The touch and type phone brings back a full BlackBerry keyboard in a candybar form, but runs Android. A heady mix, but not fully revealed yet, the BlackBerry Mercury or DTEK70 as it might be known, will be launched at MWC 2017. An invitation has been issued for the BlackBerry unveiling on the evening of Saturday 25 February.
Google at MWC 2017
Google always has a good time at MWC, using it as an opportunity to show off all its Android partners. Google doesn't typically launch at MWC, but rumours are suggesting that 8 February will see the release of Android Wear 2.0, along with a couple of new devices.
It might be that Mobile World Congress is the first opportunity we get to see these new Android Wear devices, rumoured to be built in partnership with LG.
Huawei at MWC 2017
Huawei has generally been having a good time of things, growing brand recognition and releasing some accomplished devices like the Huawei P9. Huawei has a mixed history with MWC, often using the conference to launch new devices, but not always the new flagship, which often gets its own, large, launch event a month later.
The company sent out press invitations for an event taking place in Barcelona on 26 February, saying a "flagship device" is being unveiled. It has since followed that up with a video on YouTube confirming that flagship device will be the P10.
Google also recently revealed the Huawei VR headset and we have a suspicion that the Huawei Mate 9 Pro may be announced for the UK and US at MWC too, perhaps along with wider Alexa availability. There are also rumours of the Huawei Watch 2, a second-generation Android Wear 2.0 watch, said to be more sporty this time around and offer a cellular connection.
HTC at MWC 2017
With HTC enjoying something of a return to form with the HTC 10, and coming off the back of working on great devices in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL expectations are high for HTC in 2017.
HTC has already shown off its glass giant, the U Ultra, but that's not its flagship device for this year.
HTC's rumoured flagship device is going under the name of HTC Ocean, and the suggestion is that it will offer a very different method of interaction, with no buttons on the device at all. The picture of this phone is a little murky at the moment with rumours of three devices due in early 2017, the first two of which have already been announced.
HTC hasn't, however, scheduled a press conference for MWC, so a launch is looking unlikely.
LG at MWC 2017
LG used MWC 2016 to launch the G5, with its wide variety of accessories, or Friends, as LG calls them. The LG G6 will be launched at MWC 2017.
LG has already started teasing elements of its next flagship, first talking about display technology, what people want from a phone and then batteries, slowly building a picture. We expect this trickle tease to continue.
The touch and type phone brings back a full BlackBerry keyboard in a candy bar form, but runs Android. A heady mix, but not fully revealed yet, the BlackBerry Mercury or DTEK70 as it might be known, will be launched at MWC 2017. An invitation has been issued for the BlackBerry unveiling on the evening of Saturday 25 February.
Motorola at MWC 2017
Motorola - whether at Google or Lenovo - hasn't always used MWC in recent years to launch devices. However, an invite from Lenovo to an event scheduled for 26 February in Barcelona, confirms that Moto has some plans for the event.
There's been rumours of a new Moto handset, thought to be a new G series handset, accompanied with plenty of leaks, suggesting that this device may be launched at MWC.
Nokia at MWC 2017
Nokia recently teased that it will be making some kind of announcement on 26 February, and has sent out a save the date for an MWC press conference.
Nokia announced its first Android phone, the Nokia 6, as a China exclusive. This is a premium build, but mid-range core spec and there's no word on whether it will be coming to other regions.
There's long been rumour of a second phone, the Nokia P1, which was always pitched as a flagship device. More recently, a leak suggested this phone will be called the Nokia 8 and feature some impressive specifications.
We expect HMD Global, protectors of the Nokia smartphone brand, to make everything clear at MWC.
Samsung at MWC 2017
Samsung was expected to announce the Samsung Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress 2017. The company typically dominates the Sunday, in this case 26 February, and Samsung has booked in a press conference for that date.
The invitation shows the outline of what looks like a tablet, suggesting that we'll be seeing the Samsung Tab S3 launched. As for the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch, a collection of dates have been suggested after MWC, with large events in New York and other locations.
Samsung won't miss the opportunity to dominate headlines, however, so we're expecting Samsung to strongly tease the Galaxy S8 at its MWC press conference - as it has done at previous events.
Sony at MWC 2017
Sony likes to launch devices, often using IFA and MWC as the chance to do so. Having moved on from the Xperia Z family into the Xperia X, there's already rumours that Sony will be using MWC 2017 to update the Xperia X. In fact, there is talk that the company could announce five new devices.
Sony has scheduled a press conference for Monday 27 February, so we will know more then.
ZTE at MWC 2017
ZTE has been looking to raise its profile outside China and appearing at MWC is one way to do that. The company has previously confirmed that it is looking to launch a new smartwatch, so that might be on the agenda for an MWC release. This is now looking a lot more likely, with a press event scheduled for 26 February and the recent leak of the ZTE Quartz, a new smartwatch."
Source: Chris Hall, www.pocket-lint.com
- Joseph Flaherty