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MWC 2022 Device Blog: Day 2: Smartphones & Bluetooth

by Ken Hyers | Mar 01, 2022

Mobile World Congress (MWC Barcelona) - the largest and arguably the most important mobile industry event – is back again, taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb 28 to Mar 3, exhibiting plethora of new devices and setting the hottest trends in 2022.

As usual, Strategy Analytics is there, and if you want to meet our DEVICES analysts at the show, click here.

On Day One we looked at the most notable devices unveiled yesterday and over the weekend. On Day Two, we are taking a deeper dive into smartphones with interesting technical specifications, and looking at Bluetooth device offerings on show.

Foldable display smartphones are the most buzz-worthy devices in the industry, but no new foldable smartphones were announced at the show.

That didn’t stop Samsung, Honor, OPPO and others from displaying previously announced devices at the show.  For many, MWC 2022 represents the best chance to see the latest foldable offerings from these vendors for the first time in person.

TCL Introduces Foldable Concepts (Again)

TCL introduced a number of smartphones in its TCL 30 series at MWC. These devices for the US and European markets offered excellent value for money, as the most expensive, the 30 5G, comes with a retail price of €249, about $280 in the USA, with each of the phones offering triple (or in the case of the base model 30 E, dual) 50MP camera, and large displays paired with large batteries. TCL continues to push the envelope in terms of better than good-enough features for very low prices.

But what captured our attention was TCL’s foldable display smartphones on show. To be sure, the foldables were concepts and not actual device introductions. For the past several years TCL has brought foldable display concept devices to MWC, while teasing an imminent launch of a commercial product. In fact, the company nearly did launch a commercial foldable smartphone in 2021 before pulling back at the last moment, promising to come to the market with a foldable for sale in 2022.

TCL Foldable Display Concept Devices
TCL Foldables

TCL introduced three foldable display concept devices.  The TCL Surround Display places the display on the outside of the device (front and back) when it is closed, and when open fully covers the front and half of the back of the device.  Its second foldable, the Ultra Flex, has a hinge that opens 360 degrees, so that it can be folded with the display either fully covering the outside of the device or with the display fully concealed. The final device, a rollable display smartphone called the TCL Fold ‘n Roll, looks like a standard smartphone but unrolls a display from the side when a larger display is needed.

None of TCL’s foldables (and rollable) look completely ready for prime time. But they show independent thinking in the foldables space, where all other vendors seem to be taking their foldable design cues from Samsung. Here’s hoping TCL makes good on its promise to bring a commercial foldable to market in 2022!

Motorola’s New Flagship

Motorola is highlighting its Edge+ flagship 5G smartphone at MWC2022 (though actually it announced the device last week).  The new device’s party trick is a stylus à la Samsung’s S-Pen, which can be used for taking notes on the display and as a remote pointer to control apps. Like Samsung’s S22 Ultra (which comes with the S-Pen) Motorola’s Edge+ uses a top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and has a 6.7-inch OLED display, just slightly smaller than the S22 Ultra’s 6.8” display.  Unlike the Samsung flagship, Motorola’s Edge+ uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 for the front display, rather than the newest generation Gorilla Glass Victus+ used in the S22 Ultra.  Motorola’s Edge+ is a worthy offering in the flagship race. And with a retail price starting at US$999, it is a more affordable alternative to Samsung’s S22 Ultra which starts at US$1,199.
Motorola Edge Plus

Realme Goes Premium

Realme is known for marrying quality and affordability in its smartphones, but not for focusing on the premium end of the segment. That looks set to change with its GT 2 series, in particular its Realme GT 2 Pro. Announced in January, MWC2022 is the first major unveiling of the new devices.

The GT 2 smartphone series are unabashedly positioned as higher-end smartphones, and while Samsung’s S22 series may not necessarily be in their crosshairs, its Chinese competitors like OPPO, Honor and Xiaomi offerings are.
Realme GT 2 GT2 Pro

Retail pricing for the GT 2 starts at €549.99 (around US$615) while the Pro will cost €749.99 (around US$840).  The GT 2 comes with a last generation Snapdragon 888 chipset and a triple-lens 50M camera, plus a 5,000mAh battery and 65W charging.  The Pro comes with the latest gen Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor (like Samsung’s S22 Ultra and Motorola’s Edge+) and a 6.7 inche AMOLED display.

Sweetening things for potential buyers, both Realme offerings have a body made of a paper-like bio-based polymer made from renewables.  That lends some eco-friendly cred to what is an attractive and well-priced pair of high-end smartphones is already.

Realme Unveils Buds Air 3

Realme also introduced its new TWS Bluetooth earbuds, the Buds Air 3.  The €59.99 (~US$67) earbuds come with Active Noise Cancellation, Dolby audio and IPX5 water resistance.
realme Buds Air 3

The Buds Air 3 have a 546mAh battery for 30 hours play time and can be charged to 100% in just one hour.  The company notes that with 10 minutes of charging, they will provide 100 minutes of playback, which should be more than enough time to complete your commute, assuming we ever leave the home office.

Qualcomm Upgrades Bluetooth

Qualcomm at MWC2022 announced new technology that will soon deliver improved noise cancelation and audio for Bluetooth headphones and earbuds. Qualcomm has made the improvements using traditional Bluetooth and the newer Bluetooth LE audio standard. 

Its new S3 and S5 chips, based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 mobile platforms FastConnect 6900 and 7800, will be coming to devices in 2nd half of 2022 and promise lossless audio for smartphone listening.  As well, noise cancelation is said to be improved from what is currently available for Bluetooth headphones.  The technology is said to deliver 16-bit 44.1kHz lossless Bluetooth audio and 32kHz super wideband voice quality. It also supports a 68ms ultra-low latency gaming mode – this is significant for gamers, as Bluetooth is traditionally regarded as inferior for gaming applications due to its unacceptable latency for certain types of games.
Qualcomm S5 S3 chips


The sound improvements won’t be available unless the smartphone also has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound technology. This means that Android phones are likely to get the sound improvements, while Apple continues to follow its own path. Jabra, Xiaomi and iQOO are the first announced companies to be using the audio platform in their products, though we expect that list to expand significantly in coming weeks and months.

Stay tuned for our Day Three blog tomorrow, when we expect more exciting news from MWC 2022.





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