MWC 2017 Preview: All the latest MWC 2017 news and rumours, plus which phones to expect from Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei, Nokia, BlackBerry, Microsoft and more. When is MWC 2017? Everthing you need to know is right here, so bookpage this page today.
Finally, 2016 is behind us – and what a year for smartphones it was. We had a stunning Samsung Galaxy S7, the equally fantastic Google Pixel Phone and some affordable wonders such as the OnePlus 3 and iPhone SE – not to mention the incendiary Galaxy Note 7.
Now 2017 is here and there’s plenty to look forward to – not least the upcoming iPhone 8. But first, we have to contend with the year’s biggest smartphone tradeshow: Mobile World Congress 2017.
Read on for all the most recent gossip and an idea of what phones to expect at MWC 2017, or scroll down for a closer look at key players like Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Nokia, BlackBerry and others.
MWC 2017 Live: Latest news and rumours
With roughly a month to go until MWC 2017 kicks off in Barcelona, the first event invites are now rolling in and the rumour mill is really accelerating.
Chinese smartphone maker Huawei was one of the first to confirm a happening, with new flagship the P10 expected to launch on Sunday February 26 – the eve of the big trade show.
Electronics giant LG has an event pegged for the same day, when we're expecting to see its latest wares, namely G5 successor the LG G6.
Not to be outdone, Lenovo-owned Moto has announced plans for a February 26 unveiling as well, with the smart money on its 2017 flagship – likely dubbed the Moto G5 – taking centre stage.
Things are less clear when it comes to Samsung. The South Korean chaebol may reveal one of 2017's most eagerly anticipated phones, the Galaxy S8, at MWC – or stage a standalone launch event later in the year.
Stay tuned as we'll be updating this page regularly with all the latest announcements and gossip.
MWC 2017 Phones: What to expect
There's going to be loads of new phones making their debut at MWC 2017, but based on our experience, only a handful are worth keeping an eye on.
Here's our hot take on the best phones to expect at this year's Mobile World Congress – and fair warning of which ones probably aren't coming.
- BlackBerry 'Mercury'/DTEK70 – confirmed
- HTC 11 – no chance
- Huawei P10 – highly likely
- Microsoft Surface Phone – long shot
- Moto G5 – highly likely
- Nokia Android phone – highly likely
- Samsung Galaxy S8 – possible
- Sony Xperia X2 – likely
Those are the likely MWC 2017 highlights at a glance – read on for a more in-depth look at the big players plus key details about the show.
MWC 2017 Date: When is Mobile World Congress?
Mobile World Congress will take place in Barcelona, Spain, between February 27 and March 2, 2017. Read on for everything we can expect from the show.
Samsung at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, and possibly a tablet
Last year was really split into two distinct halves for Samsung. It began cheerily with the MWC 2016 launch of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which became two of our favourite phones. But, in autumn, Samsung faced global shame as new Note 7 handsets began exploding en masse. Whoops. Samsung eventually (and rightfully) scrapped the phone, so all eyes are on the South Korean tech giant’s next flagship.
Related: Best Android phones
That's almost certainly going to be the Galaxy S8, which is highly likely (though not guaranteed) to launch at MWC 2017.
Samsung needs to win back consumer trust with the Galaxy S8, so we’d expect a lot of talk about how its batteries are completely safe. Other features could include a 4K screen (though we’re doubtful on that), either a Snapdragon 830 or next-gen Exynos CPU, 6GB of RAM and a switch to USB-C, as was the case with the Note 7.
We'd expect an Edge version of the phone with a curved screen, unless Samsung decides to ditch the two-model system and go all out on the curved screen.
There’s also the possibility of a new tablet – probably the Galaxy Tab S3, which was a no-show at CES 2017, unfortunately.
HTC at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? HTC 11, Android Wear smartwatch
After a disappointing 2015, HTC turned things around somewhat last year. The Vive VR headset had an impressive debut, while the HTC 10 was a huge improvement over the poor HTC One M9.
HTC also helped Google build the Pixel phone, though you wouldn’t know from the look of it.
HTC could use MWC 2017 to unveil the HTC 11, its latest flagship phone, although it’s just as likely to have a separate event. Rumours are thin on the ground so far, but we’re most likely to see a focus on great audio, clean software and, hopefully, a better camera. Due to HTC’s close working relationship with Google, we’d like to see the phone compatible with Daydream VR and hopefully with Google Assistant built in.
What could hamper this timeline, however, is the launch of the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play, which HTC debuted on January 12. The former comes running a top-end Snapdragon 821 chip, and so is unlikely to be usurped just one month later. If we're going to see an HTC 11, likely running the newer Snapdragon 835 chip, then it's probably going to land a little later in the year.
HTC’s rumoured first smartwatch could also make a debut, but it’s been delayed for so long now that we’re wondering whether it’s actually been canned completely.
LG at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? LG G6
LG is another premium brand known for releasing flagship handsets at MWC, and the rumours of an LG G6 launch in Barcelona are already circulating.
The most consistent tip we’ve heard so far is that LG plans to scrap the modular design we saw on the LG G5. Hopefully, putting a stopper on the curious modular plug-ins will help resolve some of the build-quality problems that plagued the G5, as the bottom won’t need to pop off anymore.
Related: Best budget Android phones
Maybe our first sniff at possible G6 features comes from LG’s other high-end device, the V20, which launched late last year. This audio-centric phone ditches the modules, but still has a removable battery and comes running Android Nougat.
Huawei at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? MateBook 2, Huawei P10, Huawei Watch 2
Rarely does a tradeshow happen without a Huawei presence, and we doubt MWC 2017 will be any different.
2016’s MWC saw Huawei launch the MateBook, a rival to the Microsoft Surface, and it would make sense for an update to come next year. While we liked aspects of the MateBook, its poor battery life and iffy performance left us disappointed.
We could see the Huawei P10, but this will probably have an event all to itself. Something more likely is the Huawei Watch 2, possibly with LTE connection to make the most of the upcoming Android Wear update.
Apple at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? Nothing
For a short period, Apple was listed as an exhibitor at MWC 2017. Then it was removed and order was restored.
Apple won’t have a presence at the show, as it never does, instead focusing on standalone events to showcase its new products. Waiting for the iPhone 8? A September event in California is far more likely.
Sony at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? Xperia X2
Sony Mobile's smartphone woes are obvious, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the firm from churning out new devices multiple times a year.
Sony Xperia X Compact
MWC 2016 saw the death of the Z series and the birth of Xperia X, so naturally an update seems a good fit for MWC 2017. The Xperia X currently sits in the middle of the X series, which is topped by the hulking XZ – but that already feels outdated.
We're hoping 2017 sees Sony breathe some much-needed life into the Xperia line to help make the devices feel competitive again.
Nokia at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? New Android phones
Nokia is also expected to make a showing at MWC. Yes, you read that correctly. After a long absence from the smartphone business, Nokia has confirmed that it will be making announcements in Barcelona this year. That’s particularly useful information, as the company already confirmed that we’d see new Nokia Android phones in the first half of 2017.
The phones aren’t actually built by Nokia, mind. They’re being developed by a company called HMD, which has snapped up the rights to the Nokia brand licence for about a decade. The company has already launched one Android Nokia phone – the Nokia 6 – in China, with European models likely to follow at MWC.
Microsoft at MWC 2017
What are we expecting? Surface Phone (maybe)
Microsoft will be in attendance at MWC, but there’s no guarantee we’ll see a new smartphone launched. Rumours have circulated about a prospective ‘Surface Phone’ for a while, but there’s little evidence it will be ready in time for MWC 2017.
That said, the lack of evidence is by no means confirmation that the Surface Phone won't surface (pun intended) at MWC. Microsoft has already set up a booking page for meetings at MWC and has secured a stand space, so it’s likely the company will have something to show off. And with Windows 10 Mobile seemingly ailing because of a lack of supported hardware, it’s high time Microsoft debuted a new flagship device.
Related: Best Android Apps 2017
Video: Best Smartphone 2016/17:
What do you want to see at MWC 2017? Let us know in the comments below.