Smartphones, smartphones, smartphones
MWC 2015 has been and gone, but the products which were announced there aren’t likely to be forgotten any time soon, from the flagship HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones, to the stylish Huawei Watch and the innovative Galaxy S6 Edge – and those are just some of the highlights.
But we’re now looking towards next year’s show, MWC 2016, and thinking of all the things we want to see.
Whether it’s improvements on this year’s offerings or completely new ideas, there’s a lot we’re hoping for and as the year creeps towards a close we’re starting to hear a lot of rumors about possible announcements too.
What is MWC 2016?
MWC, or Mobile World Congress to give it its full title, is one of the biggest events in the smartphone calendar. It’s right up there with Apple’s iPhone launches and Samsung’s Unpacked events.
It takes place in Barcelona towards the end of February/beginning of March and it sees the world’s manufacturers (minus Apple) descend on the Fira Gran Via for four days of mobile madness. MWC 2016 runs from February 22 to February 25.
Every year TechRadar travels in force to cover the event live and bring you all the latest news from the show. Mark it in your diary, submit your wish list in the comments and brace yourself for everything mobile. In the meantime, here’s what we want to see.
A truly bendable phone
Samsung and LG have teased us with the likes of the Galaxy S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and the LG G Flex 2, but we want someone to take these ideas to the next step, with a bendable phone or at the very least a phone which makes good use of its curves. There’s talk that Samsung is readying a foldable phone for launch in early 2016, so it’s possible it could arrive at MWC.
But whether that or something else hopefully there’ll be at least one bendy phone at MWC 2016 and hopefully it will be a flagship, rather than being designed as a niche device.
HTC One M10
The HTC One M9 launched at MWC 2015 and there’s a good chance we’ll see the HTC One M10 at MWC 2016. But what specifically do we want? A better battery would be a good start, but beyond that it needs to be substantially different to and better than the M9.
That might mean changing the admittedly brilliant design, or maybe HTC will achieve it by adding new features to the phone, like a fingerprint or iris scanner, but the company needs to do something, because as great as the M9 is it feels like HTC is treading water.
We wouldn’t be surprised if the M10 takes some design cues from the HTC One A9, which itself sports an iPhone-inspired design.
Early rumors suggest we might see wireless charging, a powerful processor and perhaps a new camera, but there’s still surprisingly little to go on for a flagship phone that could be here in early 2016.
Samsung Galaxy S7
There’s also a good chance we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy S7 at MWC 2016 and we hope so too, especially after how impressive the S6 was.
Battery life is a key concern again and it would be good if Samsung could return some of the features it cut from the S6, like a microSD card slot and a water resistant build.
Early rumors suggest it might do just that, or at least the microSD card bit. There’s also talk of either a Snapdragon 820 or Exynos M1 processor, a strong magnesium alloy build, a durable Turtle Glass display and a pressure-sensitive 3D Touch-like technology.
The camera could be in for quite a change too, despite the Galaxy S6’s snapper impressing us. There are conflicting rumors on exactly how it will change though, with some saying it could be in for the same 23MP sensor as the Sony Xperia Z5, while others reckon it will drop down to 12MP but with improved low light performance. Whatever the case we have high hopes that it will be good.
We have seen reports suggesting that Samsung may jump the gun with the Galaxy S7 launch though, with a January unveiling being touted. We’d say that sounds unlikely – but stranger things have happened.
Every new flagship smartphone
How about the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC One M10, LG G5, Sony Xperia Z6 and Motorola Moto X (2016) all launching in Barcelona together? It would be the mobile holy grail.
It’s nothing more than a pipe dream, but seeing every major Android manufacturer drop a new flagship in Barcelona would cement MWC’s title as the most important technology conference of the year.
We’d be in dreamland, the crowds would love it and consumers will get to select from a bunch of top notch handsets at the same time, rather than having to wait weeks, or even months, for all the top players to show their hand.
Come on guys, one for all and all for one.
More Windows phones
Windows Phone has had a tough time up against the might of Android and iOS, but Windows 10 Mobile is finally here and it’s accompanied by the impressive Microsoft Lumia 950 and Microsoft Lumia 950 XL.
We probably won’t see any more new Microsoft flagships at the show, but hopefully a new OS will lead to a boost in popularity and with it a slew of new Windows Phone devices from other manufacturers at MWC 2016.
A brilliant Lumia camera phone
Remember the Nokia Lumia 1020? A solid smartphone with an absolutely stonking 41MP camera bolted on the rear. It’s about time the Lumia brand treated us to another super smartphone camera, and MWC 2016 would be the perfect venue.
With Microsoft now at the Lumia helm, there’s enough drive (and money) to push Windows Phone to the fore – and a cracking cameraphone will have everyone talking.
A stronger Chinese presence
Huawei and ZTE always have big stands at MWC, and MWC 2016 won’t be any different – but the devices they’re peddling are usually less eye-catching than the more established names.
We’d like to see a real flagship contender from each firm, which will actually launch in a timely fashion around the world (with prices revealed up front) and minus the weirdness the brands can sometimes suffer from.
We also want a solid presence from the likes of OnePlus, Oppo, Honor, Meizu and Xiaomi. These Chinese firms are producing high quality, low cost handsets which could give Samsung and co. some serious headaches if they manage to crack the Western market. Show us what you’re made of!
Batteries, innovation, tablets and wearables
Bigger batteries rather than slimmer phones
The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a brilliant phone, but in focusing on design and making it as slim as possible Samsung forgot about one of the key things – good battery life, and many other manufacturers are almost as guilty of this.
We’ll happily take a thicker phone if it means a bigger battery, we’ll even pay a little more, so hopefully the powers that be, or the people that make, are listening, and many of the phones announced at MWC 2016 have great battery life.
As well as thicker batteries how about new batteries? The same type of juice packs have been powering our phones for years and the reality is that they’re just not very good.
New battery technology is being researched all the time and hopefully by MWC 2016 some of that will have gone past the research stage and been implemented into smartphones. Origami batteries anyone? Or how about super-fast charging ones?’
We’re also hoping to see more phones at MWC 2016 adopt the new USB-C standard found on the OnePlus 2. It allows you to plug your charging cable in either way round – like Apple’s Lightning connector – for easy top ups at night. Thankfully a number of late 2015 phones have started using this, so we’re hopeful that the flagship crop at MWC will.
More power, without the heat
Each year we see ever more powerful phones, but this year the mobile chip of choice – the Snapdragon 810, has been subject to overheating concerns.
No-one wants a toasty phone, especially not when excessive heat can risk damaging the innards too, so we hope whatever phones are announced at MWC 2016 are even more powerful, but without the heat. This shouldn’t be a problem, in fact Fujitsu already claims to have the answer.
Given the bad press the Snapdragon 810 got we’re sure Qualcomm and the other processor manufacturers are making cooler chips a priority, so we’d say this is one thing that’s very likely.
An amazing Nokia tablet you can actually buy
Nokia (yes Nokia, not the Microsoft owned Lumia) teased us ever so cruelly at MWC 2015 with the gorgeous Nokia N1 tablet. It ran Android, looked like an iPad Mini and it’s fair to say at least one of us fell in love with it.
Now all we’re asking is for Nokia to give it a cheeky spec bump, a sweet software upgrade and actually make it available to buy outside of Asia and we’ll marry it in a heartbeat.
Smartwatches hitting their stride
It’s still early days when it comes to smartwatches. The latest ones like the LG Watch Urbane, the Samsung Gear S2, the Apple Watch and the Moto 360 (2015) are finally starting to look less like tech and more like fashion, but they still have a way to go before they’re likely to convince the masses to ditch their dumb-watches.
There needs to be other improvements too, with battery life key among them. We hope that by MWC 2016 many of the problems faced by smartwatches will have been solved and they’ll be ready for prime time.
We were hoping Google would show off Project Ara at MWC 2015, but sadly that didn’t happen and the company has now confirmed that it won’t be launching the hardware until 2016.
That could mean we’ll see it at MWC 2016 and given the long wait we hope that Google will hit the ground running with a whole heap of modular phones, or at least a whole heap of modules for phones.
Then we’ll be free to fix whatever the manufacturers inevitably get wrong/not to our tastes. No fingerprint scanner? Add one. Rubbish camera? Switch it for a better one. Battery too small? Put a bigger one in. And never buy a whole new phone again. Maybe.
Surprises are always fun. Well, not always, there was that one time with the trampoline and the custard, but we don’t talk about it.
When it comes to MWC more powerful devices are a given, new phones from HTC and Samsung are likely and everything else we’ve hoped for, well, we already hope for it, so it won’t be much of a surprise.
So surprise us assorted tech makers. Bring us something we can’t predict. Just make sure it’s not something rubbish. And there’s no custard. We never want to see custard again.
- We’ve got a wishlist for CES 2016 too.