It almost goes without saying that it’s been a very busy week here at Clove HQ! The buzz of Mobile World Congress has been felt in the office with several high-profile handset announcements.
Most of the big name manufacturers had something to show off. Many of these will be available for sale at Clove very soon, if not already.
We’ve posted about most of these individually throughout the week. We know it can be difficult to keep track of everything, so we’ve rounded up all the major smartphones into this post.
Mobile World Congress smartphone announcements
Of course there’s a lot of news we haven’t covered. Mobile World Congress WC has announcements about wearables, IoT equipment and hardware from smaller outlets.
Here though is a run down of all the big handset announcements that should be on sale in the coming months.
The new flagship from LG features a unique screen with an 18:9 display ratio.
This allows for new UI features with side-by-side squares incorporated in to the camera and other core apps such as calendar and email.
The phone will also feature Android 7.1.1 with Google Assistant and a Dual 13MP camera set up.
Combining a 4.5″ touchscreen with physical keyboard, Android 7.0 and BlackBerry security features, the KEYone is the smartphone a small but vocal cadre of enthusiasts have been wanting for years.
Priced at £499, this looks to be a reasonable outlay for what may be the most sought after business handset of the year.
This 5th generation model eschews plastic for an all metal construction.
It also features a very high end camera, with initial specifications pointing to it being the same model used in the Galaxy S7 range.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
They may sit well behind other manufacturers in global smartphone sales, however Sony continue to pump out devices.
With a Snapdragon 835 processor and 5.5″ 4K HDR screen, this is without a doubt the phone for serious specification nerds.
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
The XA1 Ultra isn’t quite that big at (only) 6 inches, however that’s still a lot of screen space.
Other key specs include Sony’s impressive 23MP camera sensor and new MediaTek Helio P20 range processor.
Sony Xperia XA1
Android 7 is confirmed, as as the same 23MP camera and MediaTek Helio P20 processor found on the larger Ultra model.
Now manufactured by HMD Global, these new handsets are utilitarian and affordable.
They Nokia 6 doesn’t really measure up against big name flagships from other manufacturers. They also aren’t the target.
Instead the 6 provides a very well-manufactured and reliable device with a specification that allows the majority of users to do what they need.
A stock installation of Android 7.1.1 is also confirmed. So there will be no messy overlay or implementation of features that don’t come as standard.
The core experience will be the same, albeit with a 5.2″ screen and half the storage and RAM.
Otherwise the design is very similar with an aluminium body and curved-edge glass screen.
At the entry level of Nokia’s range can be found the 3. This looks like it could become the new Moto G of Android phones, with that particular range edging further into mid-range territory and price every year.
The 3 drops screen size and resolution down to 5 inches and 720p. The aluminium frame is also swapped out for a polycarbonate shell with metal edging.
Android 7 is still installed though and without any additional bloat, this could well be a very good choice for those needing a basic and cheaper handset.
Aside from the introduction of a colour screen and a slimmer body, this is the embodiment of the original. A basic and robust feature phone with (almost) no frills.
That means no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Not even email. But you do get Snake (sort of).
It’s undoubtedly a gimmick announcement given that other companies (and the new Nokia for that matter) still have feature phones on their books that don’t get this kind of treatment.
Still the hype alone may generate extra sales outside of the traditional emerging economies where these devices still continue to sell.
Huawei P10 Plus
Huawei continue to make inroads in western markets as they develop more and more powerful handsets. They’re yet to fully steal the march on Samsung globally, however Huawei’s dominance in their native China, coupled with increased advertising and awareness away from home is paying dividends.
The P10 Plus looks every part the modern flagship. A large 2K 5.5″ curved-edge display dominates the front panel. Huawei’s own octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor clocks in at a very respectable 2.4 + 1.8 GHz too.
Leica camera lenses, high fidelity audio and a large battery may well see this as the thinking man’s flagship against Samsung’s inevitable S8 launch.
This handset features the same chipset, software and camera setup. Only the screen drops down the spec sheet at 5.2 inches and without the curved edge.
What else was at Mobile World Congress?
Too much to put in one blog! The biggest phone announcements are above but Mobile World Congress is also about exploring the mobile space as a complete industry.
Samsung put out some new Windows 10 based tablets for professionals; the Galaxy Book range will be available soon.
Wearables are struggling to stay relevant. With Android Wear 2.0 now out in the open, LG and other manufacturers have new ranges of wrist-bound devices to sell. Yet it still seems that not that many people are willing to buy them.
Moto & Huawei phones will use their touchpad / fingerprint scanners to replace Android navigation keys. Advanced sensors can now read taps, double taps and swipes to help navigate the OS. You can still bring the software keys back, but this looks like the beginning of full gesture-based interfaces.
Oppo have patented a new physical zoom lens for smartphones. Tipping the camera module on its side and doing some voodoo with mirrors will allow for a 5x physical zoom module within a traditional smartphone. Perhaps a OnePlus 4 will incorporate this in 2017.
Sony’s Xperia Touch mini projector is definitely launching. It’s also definitely only for those with a burning desire to play with new technology; the price tag sits at 1,499 Euros. The unit will project a Touch sensitive display onto any flat surface.
Lots of companies are getting in to the self-driving sector. From big-name car manufacturers to start-ups with niche entry points, expect a swathe of articles about this are in the tech world this year.
VR continues to tick along in the background. With Android Daydream on Nougat and the Vive / Oculus (despite recent lawsuits) on the shelves for those with semi-deep pockets, we reckon VR will iterate rather than innovate in 2017. Games developers are still pushing the technology’s limits. Expect a few more years before VR starts to cross paths with mainstream applications and daily life.
5G networks will begin testing in locations around the world throughout 2017.
What wasn’t at Mobile World Congress?
Samsung’s Unpacked event is live at the end of the March. This is where we’ll get the first official look at the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
Rumours also continue to abound about a Microsoft Surface announcement which will include phones. Since they have now effectively killed off the Lumia brand, a Surface Phone is definitely on the cards.
Pixel 2? Probably. Now that Google are in the hardware game proper with both handsets and home assistants, it’s a fairly safe bet we’ll see a yearly iteration.
The inevitable iPhone 8 will of course be shown off in Autumn. After 3 generations of the same hardware design, everyone is expecting a game-changing hardware redesign and features.
Needless to say, as soon as we know more, we’ll be here to share the details.