This year’s Mobile World Congress will be the least eventful in years, given the rate at which major manufacturers are pulling out of the show.
Sony has become the latest big name mobile company to withdraw from the annual expo, citing fears over the spread of the coronavirus.
The Japanese giant joins LG, Ericsson, Nvidia, Amazon and others who have dropped out, while Samsung is severely limiting its appearances.
Sony still plans to launch its phones, likely the Xperia 5 Plus, but on YouTube at the previously scheduled time of 8:30am (CET) on February 24, 2020.
Related: MWC 2020: Who’s in and who’s out?
In a press release on Monday, Sony said: “Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation on January 30th, 2020.
“As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.”
At this rate, Sony is unlikely to be the last major firm to pull out of the show, given the growing concerns over the spread of the virus. Last week, organisers the GSMA announced new guidelines for attendees, including advising a no handshake policy during the Barcelona gathering.
In an announcement last week, the group said the GSMA said it is “building on its existing plans to protect the health of our attendees, clients and staff at MWC Barcelona. GSMA colleagues around the world are taking strong measures to contain and lessen any further spread of the virus. These measures include adhering to advice from the WHO and other health authorities, respecting travel restrictions where they exist, arriving early in Spain to allow time for self-quarantine and ensuring access to masks.”