We live in a fun kind of extremely connected time where no consumer technology companies can keep the secrets secret. So when I flip out at the nearby Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I can already tell you that it will bring perhaps the most diverse range of smartphone shapes, sizes, designs and specifications we've seen. MWC 2019 will be defined by this diversity, with businesses stretching on the edges of conventional design to try to come up with an original idea, a sensational concept, or just a good old gimmick that will separate their product from the rest. Simply put, things are going to be weird.
During the many years I've attended the MWC, I've also noticed two main avenues for progress for most phone manufacturers.
Path A is for copies Apple. Let's just be in advance of that. Copying the iPhone is how Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei ̵
Path B is to pursue being first regardless of much else. This approach assumes that the consumer is unclear, easily distractable and dissatisfied with only incremental improvements. The more dramatic the news and the more visually appealing and appreciably different it is the better. No one is immune to this mindset, and the basic premise is right: when Samsung attempted to redesign the Galaxy S8 as a more refined but not entirely different S9, the market responded by slashing its sales. Therefore, the introduction of the Galaxy Fold header this week.
2019 is a B-B type of the year.
After the big redesign of the iPhone with the iPhone X, Apple didn't really make much of an overhaul of its smartphone in the fall of 2018. So anyone still trying to monkey the iPhone this year is basically going to be late for the party. It's already done. In the course of 2018, the display technologies realized in the future, but new mechanical constructions such as the periscope pop-up cameras appeared, and even the sliders made a comeback.
Every company participating in the MWC will maximize the exposure (with the possible exception of ZTE, which seems to keep low profile due to its uncertain future), and to do so, almost all companies go a bit wild with design. Let's look through some of the challenging examples that leaks and events report, we'll see next week.
- Huawei will respond to Samsung's Galaxy Fold with its own 5G foldable phone tablet hybrid. The device, which is not yet named and still most mysterious, is likely to be the poster child of the MWC 2019. It combines the two great hype trends of 5G and foldable, but exactly how much of what we are going to see or touch is up for debate .
- Nubia will bring its Alpha portable smartphone to MWC and we may be entitled to foresee that the company will add price and release date to the device for markets outside their domestic China . I saw the alpha back in September at IFA, as it was in a certain unfinished state, so the MWC can be considered the wrist phone's more appropriate debut.
- TCL, the big TV producer that also happens to sell phones under the Alcatel, BlackBerry and Palm brands, seems to be debuting a flexible display device by itself. In fact, a report suggests that there are as many as five foldable in TCL's portfolio, with one of them as a phone that people will be able to wrap around the wrist. There is a good chance that MWC will see at least part of this portfolio.
Beyond the specific brands and devices, we will definitely see more foldable, and there has been a rumor that LG will make a second display accessory for the upcoming G8 ThinQ flagship. With several companies already building phones with monitors on the front and back, and with the trend of sliders and pop-up selfie cameras that only grow, MWC 2019 formulates itself as an absolute eclipse of divergent designs. I can not wait.