Mobile World Conference is one of the world’s largest tech events each year. Each year, mobile industry experts, companies, media, investors, and more head to the event to literally see what’s new. Several smartphone makers and other companies use this platform to showcase their upcoming handsets or technologies. Generally speaking, almost all the big brands in the mobile arena such as Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, and Huawei (but not Apple) take part in the show in one way or another. MWC 2019 took place in Barcelona from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28, and while most of the coverage has been bagged by Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, there were plenty of other mobile technologies and latest smartphones showcased at the event. (The theme of this year’s event was “Intelligent Connectivity.”) Speaking outside of the consumer sphere, MWC this year also had announcements made about 5G, mobile hardware, VR gear, and smart wearables.
Here are all the top announcements made at MWC 2019, or as it’s now officially known, MWC Barcelona.
Huawei Mate X
Foldable phones are now close to becoming a consumer reality. In fact, we have already witnessed a couple of prototypes and announcements about the market availability of foldable tech in recent times. However, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has taken the game of foldable phones to the next level.
The company launched its first-ever foldable phone, the Huawei Mate X, at MWC 2019. Just like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Mate X also folds from the center. However, the Mate X folds outward as opposed to the Galaxy Fold, which folds inward. The device is just 5.4mm thick when unfolded and comes with a grip at one end that is double the thickness of the rest of the device.
When open, the device sports an 8-inch diagonal display with a resolution of 2480 x 2200 pixels. When closed, the device features a 6.6-inch display with a resolution of 2480 x 1148 pixels.
The device is powered by the company’s most powerful Kirin 980 SoC paired with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. The device comes with two batteries of 4,500mAh each and is 5G ready. Another interesting aspect of the device is that it does not come with a dedicated selfie camera at the front. Instead, one of the triple camera sensors on the grip can be used as a selfie camera. The device is priced at a whopping €2,299 (about $2,600 in U.S. dollars, although Huawei’s battle with the Trump administration makes it unlikely the phone will be sold in the U.S.). This was the costliest phone announced at MWC this year. As per the company, the device is expected to go on sale from midsummer.
Nokia 9 PureView
HMD Global has been very busy acquiring the old name and fame of the Nokia mobiles. Accordingly, the company has been doing well launching various smartphones in every budget segment. The company has already launched multiple smartphones in recent years in all the budget, midrange, and high-end segments.
At the MWC 2019, the company launched Nokia 9 PureView, the company’s first smartphone boasting 5 cameras at the back. The device sports a 5.99-inch display powered by an OLED panel with 2K resolution. The device comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor under the hood and runs on the Android 9 Pie, out of the box.
Now let’s look at the unique selling aspect of the device: the imaging. The device comes with a whopping five camera sensors featuring Carl Zeiss glass to get the most out of the mobile photography. The phone also comes with a unique camera app, which is fine-tuned to accommodate and get the most out of all the five camera sensors.
The Nokia 9 PureView is undeniably a camera-centric smartphone and will be available in limited quantities at €599. HMD Global at the event mentioned that the device won’t have an ongoing production line, which means there will be a limited stock of the device for sale.
Qualcomm’s big announcement
The company showcased all the essential features of its new hardware, which includes new antennas and components for better network latching. The new components can also help the users track the device in real-time while reducing battery consumption. While we cannot expect 5G series to go online any time soon, many 5G-compatible smartphones are being launched. X55 can support download speeds of up to 7Gbps and upload speeds of up to 3Gbps.
At the show, Qualcomm’s president Cristiano Amon listed all the 5G-enabled smartphones running on the latest Snapdragon 855 processor with X50 and X55 modems. The company also announced that they are going to introduce the 5G compatibility to laptops in the coming years.
Sony Xperia 1
While we witnessed unique smartphones featuring foldable displays and numerous camera sensors, Sony, on the other hand, tried to gather some attention with its really tall aspect ratio displays.
Sony introduced three new handsets at MWC 2019 and all these three smartphones boast a 21:9 aspect ratio displays. The company showcased Xperia 1, Xperia 10, and Xperia 10 Plus at the event. While the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus are midrange smartphones, the Xperia 1 is the company’s replacement for its existing XZ series of flagship devices.
The Xperia 1 sports a 4K HDR OLED display. Sony has made its new phones rather tall with a skinnier form-factor and claims that this allows better grip and accessibility for users. The device sports a Snapdragon 855 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM. The device runs Android 9 Pie out of the box and features an IP68 rating for dust and water protection.
As for the imaging, the Xperia 1 features a triple camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and all three of these sensors are of 12-megapixels each. While Sony is yet to disclose the exact availability date and the price tag of the Xperia 1, the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus will go on sale at $350 and $430, respectively.
Xiaomi Mi9 and Mi Mix 3 5G
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi was one of the first to announce its next big devices right before the MWC 2019. The company unveiled the Mi 9 and the Mi Mix 3 5G smartphones in the company’s flagship segment.
While both the handsets have features with powerful specifications and are available at affordable pricing, the announcements were overshadowed by the likes of foldable and other fancy phones showcased at the event.
However, for the users who are not looking for an out-of-the-box aspect in their upcoming smartphones, the Xiaomi Mi 9 and the Mi Mix 3 5G should appeal to the masses. Speaking about the specifications, the Mi 9 features a 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display and is powered by the Snapdragon 855 SoC paired with up to 8GB of RAM. The device comes with a triple camera set up at the back featuring a whopping 48-megapixels main, 16-megapixels ultrawide, and 12-megapixel telephoto sensors.
The Mi Mix 3 5G, on the other hand, also comes with almost similar top-class specifications and is additionally powered by the Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem to support 5G networks. The Mi 9 price starts at around €400 whereas the Mi Mix 3 5G starts at €599.