MWC 2015: what to expect
MWC 2015 is expected to be every bit as big and there are plenty of rumblings of what might be on show – the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 are pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance in Barcelona.
They are showstoppers on their own, but there are lots of other things going on in the mobile world too. Here’s what we know so far.
Latest updates: It looks like the Sony Xperia Z4 and LG G4 will not be at MWC, but Microsoft could have big plans as it’s announced a press conference.
HTC has sent out invites to a special event it’s holding on March 1 in Barcelona, teasing us with the headline “utopia in progress.”
We expect the Taiwanese firm to launch its next generation flagship smartphone at this event, currently dubbed the HTC One (M9) surprisingly enough, though codenamed the HTC Hima .
It fact HTC has gone as far as to confirm the “new HTC One” will be arriving on March 1, so all bets are off. The HTC One M9 will be in Barcelona.
While the name doesn’t impress the specs should, with rumors of truly flagship worthy tech. There’s also talk of a 5.2-inch HTC One (M9) Plus, which is supposedly packing a QHD display and a fingerprint scanner and there’s a moderate chance this could make an appearance too.
It’s not just the company’s flagship phone we’ll be keeping an eye out for though, with other reports suggesting we may be treated to an HTC smartwatch and perhaps a tablet as well.
Samsung returned to MWC last year with a bang, launching the Galaxy S5 at the show after shunning it in 2013, opting instead for a standalone launch for its Galaxy S4.
Multiple sources all point towards MWC 2015 for the launch of the Korean firm’s next blockbuster mobile – the Samsung Galaxy S6 and indeed Samsung has sent out invitations to a press event on March 1.
It also looks a lot like Samsung is working on a curved screened variant of its next flagship dubbed the Galaxy S Edge, so keep an eye out for that, as the bendy line on Samsung’s invite strongly suggests it will be present.
And let’s not forget about Samsung’s own mobile operating system, Tizen, which has finally seen its first handset go on sale in the form of the Z1 and we could see more in Barcelona.
That’s further supported by reports from Xperia Blog that Sony won’t have a formal press conference at MWC.
Sony will have a booth at the show and we’re bound to see something from the company.
For one thing we’re due an update to the 10.1-inch Xperia Z2 Tablet, plus there’s a chance we’ll see another Android Wear smartwatch to join the SmartWatch 3 in Sony’s ranks, and there’s always the possibility of some new mid-range handsets.
Another possible flagship? Well, no. Not by the looks of it. Like Sony, it appears LG will hold the launch of its LG G4 until later in the year, avoiding the flurry of announcements which will be made in Barcelona.
Last year the LG G3 was launched at its own unique event in London, and with a potentially crowded line up of new devices at MWC it makes sense for the Korean firm to do its own thing afterwards.
LG has already launched three Android Wear smartwatches, the G Watch, G Watch R and Watch Urbane, and we’ll see the latter in the flesh for the first time at MWC. We’d say LG probably won’t roll out another at the show – but we’re not ruling it out completely.
Last year Nokia caused a storm at MWC by launching handsets running a heavily modified version of Google’s Android operating system.
The sad news is Nokia is unlikely to be at MWC 2015, and if it is its presence will be much, much smaller. On a positive note Microsoft will be taking over what was the Nokia booth, exuding all things Lumia and Windows Phone.
In fact it’s doing one better, because as well as having a booth Microsoft has also announced a press conference for March 2.
There’s not a huge amount of news regarding exactly what will be on show, but it’s been a while since the flagship Nokia Lumia 930 was launched, so it’s about time for a new hero for the Windows Phone brand.
Talk about a successor to the 41MP Nokia Lumia 1020 refuses to die down, so we’ll be on the lookout for another powerful cameraphone too. Then again there are also reports that Microsoft won’t bring out any major new hardware until later in the year.
So what will the press conference be about? Our guess is more Windows 10 for phones information, coupled perhaps with some mid-range or low-end handset announcements.
We’re also hearing mutterings that Microsoft may be readying a new wearable which could be shown off in Barcelona.
You can expect some new devices from Huawei after the firm confirmed its MWC 2015 press conference for March 1.
The company is reportedly planning on announcing new tablets and wearables at the trade show, though there isn’t much in the way of details on them other than the fact that at least one wearable will apparently be running Android Wear.
What we do know is its new flagship, the Huawei Ascend P8, won’t be in Barcelona as the Chinese firm is planning a seperate launch event in London on April 15.
The breakout brand from Chinese firm Huawei launched its impressive Honor 6 smartphone in the second half of 2014 alongside the entry level Honor 3C – and it’s returning with three new devices at MWC 2015.
That’s all the details we have for now, with the invite for the Honor press conference in Barcelona giving little else away. Prepare yourself for a trio of low cost, high spec handsets though.
Oppo, ZTE, OnePlus and others
You can be sure that the likes of Oppo and ZTE will be bringing their own arsenal of mobile devices to Barcelona and there will be plenty to see from the slightly more fringe players of the mobile market.
TechRadar will be out in force at MWC 2015 to bring you all the latest as it happens, so make sure you bookmark this page.
MWC 2015: what we want to see
What would make MWC 2015 an amazing show for us? Plenty of new, innovative products that’ll take 2015 by storm.
Here’s what we’d love to see in Barcelona between March 1 and March 5.
Second generation smartwatches
Technically we’re probably already on at least the third generation of smartwatches, but they’ve only recently started to take off and we’re certainly on the first generation of Android Wear devices.
Those that have arrived so far are pretty good, but there’s a lot of room for improvement and with the Apple Watch looming other manufacturers would do well to get truly polished products on the market before it launches.
So what specifically do we want? More smartwatches that actually look like a watch would be good, with circular displays like the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R, except less chunky and with smaller bezels than the G Watch R and without the cut-out on the Moto 360.
Longer battery life would be good too, as would higher resolution displays and more power, though it’s unlikely we’ll see all three in one watch any time soon. Just making them look good and removing the need to charge them every night would be a great start. Hopefully some such devices will turn up at MWC 2015.
HTC One M9
It’s unlikely that the HTC One M9 will launch at MWC, but you never know and if nothing else it will probably launch at around that time.
If it did then it would probably be one of the most exciting handsets there. Hopefully whenever it launches it will have an improved camera (but maybe not take the same approach as the HTC Desire Eye).
It would also be good to see some truly cutting edge specs, water and dust resistance and a more attractive design, if that’s even possible.
Sony Xperia Z4
The Sony Xperia Z2 launched at MWC 2014 so we’re fully expecting the Sony Xperia Z4 to launch at MWC 2015. Beyond that not a whole lot is known about it, but that hasn’t stopped us coming up with a wish list.
Among the things we want to see is a QHD display, improved low-light camera performance, 4K video which actually works (big ask we know) and a refreshed design.
We’d be amazed if we got all that, but even some of it would make the Sony Xperia Z4 an exciting prospect.
A new Lumia flagship
Microsoft can call the Nokia Lumia 830 an ‘affordable flagship’ all it wants, but we’re not fooled, it’s a mid-ranger in flagship clothing. Even though the Lumia 930 only came out in July we’re already feeling in need of a new flagship, perhaps because so few Windows Phone handsets are released in general.
So whether it’s the Lumia 1030 with a 6 trillion megapixel camera or the Lumia 940 with high-end performance we’d love to see something new.
While a new flagship is surely in the works we don’t particularly expect to see it at MWC, more likely it will arrive later, but it would definitely be a highlight of the show if it did turn up.
There have been rumblings of a Microsoft wearable for a while now, though it’s not clear whether it will be a full blown smartwatch or a wristband.
It’s not clear when Microsoft’s wearable will be arriving, so there’s no reason to think it will be announced at MWC 2015, but that’s likely to be just about its last opportunity before the Apple Watch launches, so you never know.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
The Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is one of the best slates outside iPad land, but come MWC it will be a year old and due a refresh, as Sony only released a compact slate with the Z3 moniker.
There’s a good chance we will see a Z4 Tablet at MWC 2015 and there’s also a good chance it will be more of the same, just more powerful and possibly even thinner than the already impossibly slim Z2 Tablet.
But what we really want to see is a better screen, as the 1200 x 1920 display on the Xperia Z2 Tablet just didn’t cut it at a 10.1-inch size point. Get the screen sorted and Sony could have a real iPad Air killer, though by then it will be the iPad Air 2 it’s competing with.
A premium Samsung flagship
There’s a good chance that Samsung will announce the Galaxy S6 at MWC 2015, but we don’t just want to see any old flagship, we want Samsung to really wow us and make up for the slightly muted response to the Galaxy S5.
That’s the main thing we want to see, but improvements to the screen, power, camera and battery would all be appreciated too.
We’re expecting the 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 to start making an appearance in smartphones next year and it would be great if some of them showed up at MWC 2015.
It’s designed to improve performance for everything from gaming to streaming 4K videos, all while delivering impressive battery life, so hopefully it will be a noticeable improvement over the Snapdragon 801 and even the Snapdragon 805.
Phones with 5+ gigabytes of RAM
Android L is 64-bit and it would be great to see some phones make the most of that. We might not even have 4GB of RAM in our handsets yet but with 64-bit there’s support for a whole lot more than that, so maybe MWC will be where we see manufacturers start to break through the RAM ceiling and run wild with it.
We probably won’t, in fact we’d be surprised if we see 5GB of RAM in a phone before the tail end of next year at the earliest, but it’s always possible.
With each passing year new devices get more powerful, bigger and occasionally smaller, depending on the trends of the time, but that’s not enough, especially now that just about every smartphone seems to deliver solid performance anyway.
For devices to stand out and more importantly for them to excite us they need to be bold and different but hopefully not gimmicky.
Finding that balance isn’t always easy, we’d argue that the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge just about managed it while the HTC Desire Eye maybe didn’t, but at least we’re seeing companies try new things even when they don’t always work. So more of that please at MWC.
- We’ve got a wish list for CES 2015 too.