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Nothing at MWC 2020 will break the iPhone’s stranglehold on the industry

None of the devices that are set to launch at MWC 2020 will break Apple and Samsung’s control of the phone market, according to industry experts.

IDC Research Manager Marta Pinto told Trusted Reviews that, while she expects to see a number of great handsets at the show later this month, it is unlikely any of them will radically change the flagship market.

“Apple did a really good holiday season in Europe and Samsung had a good performance in 2Q and 3Q2019. The volumes these two brands make up the greater bulk of the market, in some countries coming up to more than 80% of the volumes (and higher in terms of value),” she said.

“This means that it is really difficult to challenge the duopoly. Even with declining volumes, Huawei kept the 3rd place and volumes that are hard to match without a portfolio covering all price points and products that spark the interest of consumers. Some vendors like OnePlus are doing good when taking into consideration the YoY growth but the brand is known for its back to back product line which constrains its expansion.”

Related: Best smartphones

MWC is a yearly trade show in Barcelona where phone makers debut new products. Apple is the only major phone brand that usually doesn’t attend, though due to concerns about the coronavirus, other companies have pulled this year, including LG.

Pinto said the Coronavirus will likely impact more brands, but the scope is difficult to judge. She added that she still expects to see some surprises at the show.

“Last year was the year of 5G first devices. This year is the year of new form factors, namely foldable! I believe that the samples from last year will turn up at the show as market-ready devices,” she said.

Kantar Director of Consumer Insight Dominic Sunnebo told Trusted Reviews that he expects Samsung’s hotly rumoured next foldable, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, to be a particular highlight.

“Samsung is also likely to announce a new lower priced foldable device, with a similar mechanism to the Motorola Razr – this could be an important catalyst for foldables growth,” he said.

Sunnebo added that he also expects to see a strong presence from Huawei at the show, despite its recent issues with the US government, which has been mounting pressure on tech firms to diminish ties with it.

“Huawei is set to shortly announce the P40, which will be the first Huawei handset to launch with its new non-Android OS. This will be a critical move by Huawei and is likely to be the top point of debate at the conference,” he said.

Related: What is Huawei Harmony OS?

Huawei unveiled its custom Harmony OS last year, after an executive order from the White House forced Google to remove its Android license, cutting its phones off from numerous services, including the Play Store. It is designed to work on numerous devices, including phones, TVs and smart home tech.

Motorola, Xiaomi, Oppo and Nokia are also expected to unveil new phones at the show. None of the information is official yet, but the four are expected to have everything from new foldables and flagships to mid-range 5G handsets at MWC 2020. Jump over to our what phones to expect at MWC 2020 explainer for a detailed breakdown of what tech to look out for at the show.

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