Mobile World Congress (MWC) is back, promising a host of big launches in the telephony space, including new phones, new tech, and more.
This is the biggest mobile tech show of the year where major players from across the industry come together to show off products, close deals and check out some of the innovations coming to consumer devices over the next 12 months.
We’ve seen fewer smartphone launches at MWC in recent years – now they’re usually held at separate events, including Samsung Unpacked – but there’ll still be plenty of news and announcements coming from the event for a few days.
As always, we’ll be on site at MWC and keep you up to date with the most important news. Before the event officially kicks off, here are the most exciting launches to look out for.
When is MWC 2023?
MWC 2023 will run from Monday, February 27 to Thursday, March 2 – though expect most of the big announcements to happen early in the week rather than at the end of it. It takes place in Barcelona, Spain, with a wide range of exhibitors and plenty of conferences and meetings taking place during the event.
What to expect at MWC 2023
Almost everyone who is anyone in mobile technology will be present at MWC 2023: even if companies do not launch new products, they will certainly show off existing ones (like the Oppo Find N2 Flip, for example).
We’ve already had a few hints and rumors about what to expect at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and these are some of the areas where we expect there to be plenty of news and new gadgets to lean on.
Folding and rolling phones
As we mentioned, we don’t have many phone hits at MWC right now – although there were a few launches at MWC 2022. The launches we know of include the OnePlus 11 Concept, the international expansion of the Magic Vs Honor foldable phone (above), and the global availability of the Xiaomi 13 (plus maybe one or two other Xiaomi surprises).
Certainly, we will also receive demo versions of the latest technology of folding and rolling screens, ready to be implemented in the phones of the future. Expect to see the various screens and prototypes shown at MWC 2023, with improvements in resolution, clarity and durability – especially from Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Oppo and Honor.
Folding phone screens are getting easier and cheaper to produce, which means more models are in the pipeline and phone makers can get more creative with designs and sizes. When it comes to screens that stretch by rolling, we know that many manufacturers, including Samsung, are interested in this type of technology.
Artificial intelligence, applications and satellite technology
It’s hard to break away from AI right now – ChatGPT, anyone? – and that will undoubtedly carry over to MWC 2023. Expect plenty of demonstrations of AI running on smartphones, as we’ve already seen from the Qualcomm Stable Diffusion test on the Galaxy S23, and news of how much better phones will take care of it in the not-too-distant future.
Apple is now bypassing Mobile World Congress – though it hasn’t always been that way – but Google usually shows up to promote Android and support its partners. We won’t get any major Android news, but there could be one or two software updates or new apps; many app developers and developers will be present at MWC 2023.
Speaking of Apple, the satellite technology it has added to the iPhone 14 will most likely get a response from the mobile companies that are at MWC this year. Satellite connectivity and satellite messaging will likely be the order of the day, giving us an idea of how we can communicate without a cellular signal or Wi-Fi in the phones of the future.
6G and networks
There’s a lot going on at Mobile World Congress that isn’t very exciting for humble consumers – supply chain deals, infrastructure upgrades, and so on – but on our end, that means hopefully cheaper technology and faster speeds. We haven’t heard much about 6G yet, but that could change at MWC 2023.
You might be thinking that the 5G speeds you’re getting on your phone – if you’re getting any at all – aren’t yet good enough for us to even think about 6G right now, but that’s part of what MWC 2023 is all about: a preview of future tech. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear news of some 6G benchmarks and theoretical upload and download speeds.
Don’t panic 5G fans, as there will be plenty of news and updates on the existing technology, be it in terms of expanding coverage, better connection speeds for phones, or cheaper internal components that can maintain a high-speed connection without using up so much battery.
Virtual reality headsets count as mobile technology, and you’ll notice MWC tech roundups are often accompanied by photos of people wearing strange and wonderful boxes on their heads. Almost all the big names in VR and AR will be at MWC, even though there may not be many major new product launches.
Mobile World Congress is often a time for smaller tech companies to shine, and that may be the case with virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. Look out for innovative new gadgets from manufacturers not so well known, as well as upgrades to core hardware technologies.
There’s a lot of Metaverse-related talk and discussion at MWC 2023 – so even if consumers aren’t completely convinced of the idea right now, those who work in the mobile industry still want to push it. As always, we’ll pick news that’s really newsworthy to share with you.