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MWC 2017 : What Mobile Devices Can You Expect to See?

by Linda Sui | Feb 24, 2017

The biggest and most important mobile industry event – MWC 2017 will be taking place in Barcelona, Spain from Feb 27 to Mar 2.

Strategy Analytics will have a large team of analysts spanning smartphones, drones, robots, tablets, wearables, smart home, and connected cars in attendance.  In addition to hosting invitation only client presentations in Barcelona (attend), we will of course be hosting a post MWC Webinar on March 6 (register).

Which vendors will launch new smartphones? What devices, technology innovations and trends will be hot at the event?  As usual MWC will see new flagship introductions from most major vendors but overall we expect incremental enhancements rather than dramatic innovations.  Foldable display, AI and the promise of 5G will be hot device themes although the impact on volumes will not be until 2018 for the first two and post 2020 for 5G.

In advance of the congress, we have developed six megatrends across the MOBILE device industry we expect to see at MWC 2017

Huawei will launch a new flagship P10 / P10 Plus at MWC 2017 on Feb 26. Samsung confirmed it will not launch Galaxy S8 at MWC 2017, leaving Huawei’s P10 the chance to steal the show. LG will launch a new flagship G6 at MWC 2017 on Feb 26. Sony will launch some new smartphone models at MWC 2017 on Feb 27.Nokia (HMD) will debut new models at MWC on Feb 26. It remains to be seen whether Nokia (HMD) will launch a rumored flagship Nokia 8 or other mid-tier models (Nokia 3, 5 and 6). 

BlackBerry / TCL-Alcatel will formally launch a new Android phone called Mercury (or DTEK 70?) at MWC 2017, which was soft debuted at CES last month. Lenovo-Motorola will launch an upgraded Moto G5 at MWC 2017. ZTE (Nubia) will launch new Nubia models at MWC 2017 as well. Another Chinese vendor Gionee will launch two new smartphone models at MWC 2017: A1 and A1 Plus.

3. FOLDABLE DISPLAY from SAMSUNG and others: Mobile screens will be a more-critical-than-ever factor in differentiating products’ form factors in the next three years. While Samsung delayed Galaxy S8, it is highly likely the Korean giant will debut one or two foldable display smartphone models at MWC 2017. We don’t believe these phones will be commercially available till 1H 2017. However, Samsung is well-positioned to lead a smartphone form factor evolution thanks to its leading position in AMOLED display panel technology. We expect commercial foldable / rollable smartphones would become more common in late 2017 / 2018. We will be pounding the MWC floor to catch the flexible / foldable / rollable display trends.

4.MICRO TECHNICAL INNOVATIONS: Chinese vendor OPPO demonstrated super charging technology at MWC 2016. It will bring in new technical innovations on smartphones this year. Camera and enhanced zoom in function will be the hot topic for this year. In addition, we expect to see more companies demonstrating innovations on fingerprint, binomial recognition and AI areas.

5. ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE: The fascinating AI technology is improving fast, becoming more human-like, and is being widely introduced across multiple industries such as mobile, automotive and home appliances. Smartphones, drones and robots, from LG (Goole Assistant in coming G6), Huawei (Amazon Alexa in Mate 9) and others, are right at the cutting edge of the AI revolution, so we will be monitoring their status, AI accuracy and rollout schedules for the coming year.

6. 5G: 5G is still underway. We expect the 5G standard will be mostly confirmed by the ITU trade body in 2016 / 2017 (e.g. technical-performance requirements). It is not until 2020 that 5G will really begin to motor. We conservatively forecast 1 million 5G handsets to be sold worldwide in 2020. By 2025, global 5G handset volume can reach 300 million units. 5G brings more bandwidth, resilience, coverage, faster speeds and lower latency, so 5G will encourage the development of new services that match those criteria -- such as real-time virtual-reality for factories, transport, cinemas, etc. Nokia, ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm and others will demonstrate the latest technology development on 5G. We will be closely tracking these companies, as well as chasing more info about 5G chipset and network roadmap, as well as ecosystem and new business model etc. at the show floor.

Please stay tuned for our coming MWS 2017 device daily blogs.

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