Mobile World Congress is returning to Barcelona, filling out the halls of the Fira de Barcelona convention center between February 27th and March 2nd.
The trade show boasts that tens of thousands of attendees from over 200 countries are expected to attend to preview the latest technology impacting the mobile industry at large.
When it comes to consumer tech, that means MWC is a show filled with smartphone launches. Names like Honor, OnePlus, Huawei, and HMD’s Nokia are expected to make big announcements at the show, although key players like Samsung and Sony don’t appear to be preparing any major announcements for the event. And you can forget about Apple.
Like many trade shows, MWC has been a quieter affair for the past couple of years and was canceled entirely in 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. This year looks set to be slightly busier.
Read on for all the biggest news coming out of the show, and be sure to check back, as we’ll be updating this page regularly throughout the course of the week.
Mar 3This week on The Vergecast, we talked about TikTok’s AI filter, the Motorola Rizr, and Meta’s plans for VR.
It must be MWC, because every old mobile grievance was revisited, even as we celebrated what is surely our phone of the future, Motorola’s rollable Rizr concept.
We also dug into Alex Heath’s big scoop exposing Meta’s hardware roadmap, TikTok’s unsettling new filter, and talked a little about Elon Musk. Not too much.
Google is introducing a new widget for its notes and lists app Keep, which lets you put a single interactive note on your home screen. With it, you can check items off a list, which could be handy for a to-do or grocery list.Read Article >
While you can force one of Keep’s current widgets to show just a single note using the tags system, doing so isn’t as simple as just selecting one to display on your home screen. Plus, Keep’s existing widgets don’t have the level of interactivity that Google’s promising with its new widget; if you try to mark off checkboxes, it’ll just open the app instead of actually checking it off like the single note widget does.
Trade shows like Mobile World Congress are filled with one of my favorite kinds of phones. They’re the ones that have a single amazing, standout feature to offer to the world, even if their overall package might not represent something you’d want to buy and use as your everyday smartphone.Read Article >
They’re phones like the Vivo X20 Plus UD, which we tried out at CES 2018 and was the first phone to ship with an under-display fingerprint sensor. And although it wasn’t announced at a trade show, I’d put the OnePlus 7 Pro in the same category for being one of the first mainstream smartphones with a 90Hz display. Sometimes, it feels like all it takes is for one phone to show how beneficial a feature can be before the rest of the industry rapidly catches up.
Motorola’s launching yet another Razr this year, according to a report from CNBC. Yang Yuanqing, the CEO of Motorola’s parent company Lenovo, told the outlet that the next-gen foldable would arrive “very soon” with some improvements to the device’s hinge.Read Article >
In an interview with CNBC, Yang didn’t expand much on what’s new with the upcoming Razr but said its inner display could have a less notable crease when unfolded — an issue that just about every foldable maker has to contend with. “I think it’s much better,” Yang told CNBC in reference to the new device.
Mar 1Rizr up.
As well as Lenovo’s rollable laptop concept, we also checked out a phone prototype from its Motorola subsidiary. The company called it the “Motorola Rollable” in our demonstration, but it appears to be called the “Rizr” if the name printed on the rear of the device is anything to go by. That’s a nod to Motorola’s sliding feature phones from the mid 00s. Find our full thoughts here.
Mar 1Xiaomi’s augmented reality glasses are too big for real life.
XDA has an exclusive hands-on with a prototype pair of AR glasses by Xiaomi. They’re wireless, support gesture controls, and can switch between transparent and shaded modes.
But they’re also bulky as hell and a long way off commercial readiness. As we learned yesterday, Meta, too, is still betting on an AR future. But we’ve yet to see breakthrough hardware that can actually take us there.
The Realme GT3, the latest smartphone to make me ask myself whether phones can ever charge too quickly, is being officially announced today at MWC Barcelona. It supports 240W SuperVOOC charging, which Realme says is capable of completely filling its 4,600mAh battery in just nine and a half minutes.Read Article >
The Realme GT3 will be available in select markets starting at $649 for a version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’ll be available to buy internationally in May and June this year, Realme vice president of global marketing Chase Xu confirmed in a Q&A session after the event.
Redmi’s fast-charging technology just got even more ridiculous. In this post on Weibo, the Xiaomi-owned phone maker shows off its new 300W fast-charging technology that can power up a phone in just five minutes flat, as spotted earlier by Android Authority.Read Article >
If you don’t believe it, you can see it here for yourself. Redmi hooks up a modified version of its Note 12 Discovery Edition, which comes equipped with a 4,100mAh battery instead of a 4,300mAh one, to its superfast charger.
This year’s Mobile World Congress is shaping up to be a real fiesta for unconventional form factors, and OnePlus is the latest company to join the celebration. At a panel discussion today, the company announced its intentions to launch a foldable phone in the second half of 2023. That’s about the extent of the details we have for now, though it seems like a safe assumption that the device will look a lot like one of the existing foldables on the market from Oppo — OnePlus’ parent company.Read Article >
With companies like Apple and Google yet to enter the foldable market, Oppo is now on its second round of folding phones — though they’ve mostly been limited to China. The Find N was a tablet-style foldable released in 2021 with a surprisingly refined design for a first-gen product. Oppo followed it up in late 2022 with the Find N2 and Find N2 Flip. The latter is a clamshell-style device in the vein of Samsung’s Z Flip series, and it’ll be Oppo’s first foldable available in Europe when it goes on sale in just a couple of days.
The Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro are making their global debut today, starting with a launch event at Mobile World Congress. The 13 series phones were announced in China late last year, each with Leica co-branded cameras and top-shelf Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipsets. Based on previous releases, they won’t be coming to the US, but will be available in the UK, Europe, and other parts of Asia.Read Article >
Given that we’ve known the phones’ specs since December, there’s nothing surprising there, but here’s the recap: they’re both upper midrange phones, but the 13 Pro stands out with a 1-inch-type sensor borrowed from the Xiaomi 12S Ultra and 120W wired fast charging.
- Unrolling Lenovo’s latest laptop and phone concepts at MWC 2023.
Just when we were getting used to foldable phones, tablets, and laptops, these concept designs suggest rollable screens are in the near future, ready to extend the view by a few more inches when you need them to, without taking up more space in your pocket or bag.
Jon Porter is at Mobile World Congress 2023 this week and can show you Lenovo’s rollable screen laptop plus its Motorola-branded rollable phone.
Finnish telecoms firm Nokia has redesigned its logo to remind the world that it doesn’t make mobile phones anymore.Read Article >
“In most people’s minds, we are still a successful mobile phone brand, but this is not what Nokia is about,” Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark told Bloomberg. “We want to launch a new brand that is focusing very much on the networks and industrial digitalization, which is a completely different thing from the legacy mobile phones.”
We finally have global pricing for the Honor Magic VS, which is the first foldable from the company that it’ll sell outside of China. During its presentation at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company said it’ll be available to buy in global markets starting at €1,599 (around $1,690) for a model with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. It’ll be available in the UK in June, but release dates in other global markets are yet to be announced. For reference, at €1,799 (£1,649 / $1,799), Samsung’s competing Galaxy Z Fold 4 was priced a little higher at launch last year.Read Article >
Alongside it, the company announced a more traditional flagship smartphone series headed up by the Honor Magic5 Pro, which will cost €1,199 (around $1,267) for a model with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage and which will be available in the UK in May and in the second quarter of this year in other global markets. There’s also a non-Pro Magic5, which will start at €899 (around $950) for a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Google Chrome’s giving its page zoom feature a boost, which should make it more helpful for people who have difficulty reading the smaller screen on Android devices. With the improved feature, you can increase the size of text, images, videos, and interactive controls on mobile web pages by up to 300 percent while preserving their original formatting.Read Article >
While the feature hasn’t yet become available for all Chrome users, you can access it now if you download the Chrome beta on your phone or tablet. To enable the feature, tap the three dots icon in the top right corner of the browser, hit Settings > Accessibility, and then adjust the zoom level to your liking.
OnePlus’ latest concept phone is all about keeping cool. The company showed off the OnePlus 11 Concept device at MWC Barcelona, which features glowing blue pipelines on its back to represent the cooling liquid of the company’s “Active CryoFlux” cooling technology.Read Article >
Yes, it’s designed to look flashy, but OnePlus argues the cooling system serves an important and practical purpose. By keeping the phone cooler under load, the company claims the system could offer better performance in games and (slightly) faster charging speeds — all without the need for the “size, weight, and noise” of a physically spinning fan like we’ve seen from the likes of Nubia or in smartphone cooling accessories from Razer or Asus.
The last time I was at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2019, foldables were the new hotness in town. Samsung had announced — but not released — its first Galaxy Fold, and Huawei showed off a foldable of its own at the show — the Mate X. Four years and one pandemic later, and Lenovo is back at the same show to make a pitch for a subtly different kind of future, one where laptop and smartphone screens alike can gradually expand to offer more screen real estate, rather than needing to be completely unfolded like books.Read Article >
I was treated to a firsthand look at both devices, which were first teased by the company last October. There’s a rollable laptop and a rollable smartphone that Lenovo is currently branding as a Motorola device. (Lenovo acquired the phone brand almost a decade ago in 2014.) But Lenovo is emphasizing that both are early proof of concept devices, and representatives wouldn’t answer any of my questions about when they might be released to the public or how much they might cost when they do. I didn’t even get a chance to hold the devices for myself.
HMD has worked to make what it says are the most common smartphone repairs — replacing a broken screen, charging port, or flat battery — a simpler process on its new Nokia G22, and it’s partnering with repair specialists iFixit to provide customers with the necessary replacement parts, tools, and guides. The Nokia G22 will be available on March 8th in the UK for £149.99 (€179 / around $180) and will be sold in select global markets like Europe but not the US.Read Article >
The company joins a growing list of smartphone manufacturers that are making replacement parts more easily available to end customers. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen Samsung and Google partner with iFixit to sell replacement parts, while Apple launched its own Self Service Repair program. These companies are making spare parts easier to buy, but the actual ease with which you can repair their devices is more hit-and-miss.
Feb 24Read Article >
Making its debut at MWC 2023, the new Motorola Defy Satellite Link can enable almost any smartphone to send and receive text messages in places lacking cellular signals. Satellite communications features are being mainstreamed after Apple added Emergency SOS via satellite in the iPhone 14. Qualcomm is also looking to stick similar tech into upcoming high-end Android devices later this year, but Bullitt and MediaTek say their devices will be the first ones you can buy that communicate in both directions.
In less than a week, some of the world’s biggest mobile players will be crowded into the Fira de Barcelona convention center, ready to show off their latest generation of mobile devices. In previous years, that’s meant everything from flagship smartphone announcements from Samsung and LG (RIP), smartwatches, and even the launch of the original HTC Vive.Read Article >
These days, however, things feel a little different. Despite the “World” in Mobile World Congress, MWC Barcelona feels increasingly focused on Europe. The global smartphone market has never been a cohesive whole, but the US and China feel more than ever like they’re diverging from everywhere else. And that’s left MWC in a weird spot.
OnePlus is teasing a new concept phone in a pair of images released today. It’s called the “OnePlus 11 Concept,” and while the company is refusing to confirm exactly what the images are showing (this is meant as a “sneak peek,” after all), it looks like the device might come equipped with light strips similar to last year’s Nothing Phone 1.Read Article >
An official announcement isn’t expected until next week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, but for now here’s how OnePlus describes the “flowing back” teased today: