What New Cellular Hardware To Anticipate At MWC 2016
Cellular World Congress, the most important tradeshow particularly targeted on cellular, kicks off in simply over every week’s time in Barcelona so right here’s a fast rundown of a few of the huge hardware-targeted bulletins we’re anticipating to land throughout the most effective a part of every week of absolutely cellular-targeted information…
The large reveal for Samsung might be shiny new additions to its Galaxy flagship smartphone line-up — with a brand new S7 and S7 Edge (its curved-edge display variant) anticipated. Leaks recommend the brand new flagships may have strain delicate screens — a la Apple’s 3D Contact addition — plus quicker charging by way of a brand new USB Sort-C port, digital camera enhancements and beefier chipset hardware. It’s attainable the corporate may additionally have a rethink on final yr’s (unpopular) determination to take away the microSD card slot from its flagship. Android followers will certainly hope so.
As well as, the teaser invite to Samsung’s pre-MWC press convention locations loads of emphasis on VR. So we’re anticipating some substantial information round its Gear VR platform too, possible linked to the brand new flagships — so maybe some new VR capabilities baked into the brand new flagship telephone hardware to provide consumers an incentive to select up not one however two new bits of Samsung package this yr. 2016 is the yr of the good VR reboot so Samsung can be aiming to capitalize on the hype. And whereas full-fats gaming VR headsets comparable to the forthcoming Oculus Rift are going to be too costly to be mass market, Samsung’s Gear VR platform gives a mid-priced choice that repurposes present smartphone hardware to ship a level of digital immersion — letting individuals dip their toes within the VR waters with out upending their piggybank to take action.
South Korea’s LG has needed to play second fiddle to Samsung for years however that doesn’t imply it’s not going huge on MWC bulletins. The corporate shall be unboxing its newest flagship, the LG G5, at an occasion on Sunday afternoon — admittedly a couple of hours earlier than Samsung’s massive reveal in order that the LG G5 can have its personal second within the limelight.
We already know the G5 will embrace a contact-enabled case — because of LG PRing this tidbit already. The case will let customers take calls, verify the time/date and notifications with out having to flip it open to get to the display, because of the telephone having an all the time on show. The case is harking back to HTC’s Dot View case, launched with its flagship HTC One M8 smartphone again in spring 2014. As they are saying, imitation is the sincerest type of flattery….
What else do we all know concerning the LG G5? Rumors recommend a metallic unibody design, which might be a step up from LG’s typical plastic design; a fingerprint scanner (and probably iris scanning tech); and twin digital camera lenses on the rear, which might be one other ‘impressed by HTC’ second.
In contrast to in MWCs previous we’re not anticipating a lot in the best way of latest flagship smartphone hardware from Taiwan’s HTC, which isn’t holding a totally fledged press occasion at this yr’s present. Given how a lot the corporate has struggled to show its telephone fortunes round in recent times this isn’t an enormous shock. Final month CEO Cher Wang even stated that VR is now “extra essential” for the corporate than telephones. So HTC’s MWC bulletins are going to be targeted on its forthcoming Vive VR headset, which it’s constructing in partnership with video games developer Valve.
We already know the Vive headset is resulting from ship from April, with pre-orders beginning later this month, however we’re anticipating the corporate to take time at MWC flesh out a number of extra particulars about what can be within the Vive field — and particularly disclose a really key little bit of intel: the worth.
China’s Huawei might not have the model glamour of Samsung however it’s been making some regular marketshare positive aspects in current occasions, in line with analysts. At MWC the corporate has a press occasion scheduled for the Sunday afternoon the place it says it is going to be unveiling “a model new Huawei system that may meet the calls for of the subsequent era of cellular innovation”. It’s potential this can be a brand new flagship smartphone — aka the Huawei P9, successor to final yr’s P8. The corporate additionally has a line of mid-tier units, and makes smartwatches too. So loads of hardware choices right here.
Ah who doesn’t love a wildcard. In years previous the Nokia press convention was a staple of the pre-MWC hardware press convention circuit, given the corporate was the foremost pressure in cellular for a number of years. However since Microsoft acquired Nokia’s cellular making division regular service has been disrupted. Nevertheless, from this yr, Nokia regains the power to stay its personal model identify on smartphones once more — so it’s attainable we might get a hardware-associated announcement at its MWC presser once more this yr.
Or it might unveil a brand new 5G basestation (or comparable) — given networks is a core division of the remaining firm. Nokia has already introduced it’s launching a community safety administration middle for operators on the present this yr, for instance.
Albeit final summer time Nokia’s CEO Rajeev Suri confirmed the corporate’s intention to design and license handsets in 2016 — assuming it could discover the fitting companions to energy a return to the telephone market. And it has already labored with Foxconn to place out an Android pill (the N1), which it was displaying off at MWC final yr. So we’ll quickly discover out whether or not it’s expanded that technique to smartphones now too. If it has, it’s actually taking the bull by the horns by immediately clashing with Samsung’s Sunday night press occasion timing. So it will both be a really bullish return to smartphones for the previous world primary cellular maker. Or a ‘nothing to see right here’ networks-associated presser… Both approach, TC might be on the bottom in Barcelona to seek out out.
China’s smartphone upstart Xiaomi might be holding a press preview of its forthcoming Mi 5 flagship smartphone at MWC on the Wednesday, on the identical day because it holds a launch occasion in Beijing. It’s not being coy about this, with its invite to the occasion explicitly stating the Mi 5 identify…
What else do we all know concerning the Mi 5? Xiaomi international VP Hugo Barra confirmed final month in a tweet that it’ll have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor.
He’s additionally tweeted a sneak peek on the homescreen — which incorporates what appears like help for twin SIM with two sign bars up prime, plus NFC help:
— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) February 2, 2016
As with many an Android OEM Sony has had a reasonably robust time standing out within the crowded smartphone area. So whereas will probably be holding a press convention at MWC it’s extra of a low key affair, scheduled for the Monday morning like final yr (when it had a pill with a bluetooth keyboard and a brand new mid-vary handset to point out off). Expectations for Sony’s 2016 MWC bulletins are a seize bag of guesses at this level. Maybe some new Xperia tablets. Or an replace to its wearables line. A significantly leading edge flagship Sony smartphone is far much less possible at this level.
We’re not anticipating any main information from Redmond at this yr’s present given it’s all however retrenching from smartphones, with continued job cuts to its cellular making division underneath CEO Satya Nadella. In its newest incomes report, Microsoft famous it bought simply four.5 million Home windows Telephone in its Q2, down from 10.5 million within the yr earlier than quarter, with telephone based mostly income declining forty nine per cent in fixed foreign money… Ouch. So anticipate a really low key presence from Microsoft this yr on the world’s largest cellular present.
One other former cellular big that’s been reduce to ribbons by the dominance of Android is BlackBerry. The corporate previously referred to as RIM launched its first Android powered smartphone, the Priv, final fall. A touchscreen slider that took a cake-and-eat it strategy to smartphone enter choices. There are rumors it has a non-slider comply with up within the works; i.e. a full Qwerty-plus-touchscreen handset, code-named Vienna. So it is going to be fascinating to see whether or not the corporate takes the plunge and launches a second Android system at MWC this yr. The corporate is just not holding an official press convention which suggests it’s not going to be making any flagship hardware launches. Which maybe additionally recommend the Priv has not been promoting nicely sufficient to persuade CEO John Chen that BlackBerry wants to remain within the hardware making enterprise. Time will inform on that one.