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What to expect at MWC 2020: GSMA cancels MWC conference amid Coronavirus fears

This year's Mobile World Congress has been called off - here's what you need to know

UPDATE: MWC 2020 has been cancelled. The news broke yesterday evening and was made official today (12/02/20) by GSMA CEO John Hoffman, who released a statement on the firm’s website. As it stands, most of the companies on the below list are still launching products this February, so keep an eye out for our coverage anyway.

The original article continues below.

From 24 to 27 February, the tech industry will descend upon Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the biggest tech events of 2020; we’re expecting to see an exceptional number of product launches from such esteemed smartphone manufacturers as Sony, Huawei, Samsung and others.

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to MWC 2020, including what to expect from each of the major manufacturers. We’ll be updating this page with the latest rumours, leaks and official info as MWC 2020 draws near, so stay tuned for more information.

READ NEXT: The best confirmed and rumoured smartphones launching this year

Everything you need to know about MWC 2020

1. What is it? The Mobile World Congress is an annual tech conference that takes place at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona. It’s predominantly an opportunity for smartphone, tablet and laptop manufacturers the world over to show off their latest products, but you’ll also find presentations on cloud computing, mobile network technology (5G), artificial intelligence and much, much more.

2. When is it? This year, MWC is running from 24-27 February – you can find a full agenda here. Journalists will be arriving in Barcelona from 21 February, to take in the event before the masses turn up.

3. Which companies have pulled out? Due to the ongoing Novel Coronavirus epidemic, several high-profile tech firms have pulled out of MWC 2020 citing health concerns. So far, the following firms have confirmed that they will NOT be attending:

  • Sony
  • Amazon
  • LG
  • Ericsson
  • Nvidia
  • ZTE

You can find out more below.

What to expect at MWC 2020: The launches

1. Samsung

It’s highly unlikely that Samsung will unveil its new line of flagship handsets at MWC 2020. The Galaxy S20 series – comprised of the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra – will instead launch on 11 February in San Francisco, at a Galaxy Unpacked event. Rumours suggest that the foldable Galaxy Bloom (or Z Flip) will also be in attendance.

You can find out more about the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Bloom via these links.

However, is there anything else in the Samsung pipeline? The South Korean firm has already announced both the Galaxy S10 Lite and the Galaxy Note 10 Lite: these affordable(ish) flagships do not yet have an official release date or price, so perhaps Samsung will take the opportunity to make the announcement in Barcelona.

Also waiting in the wings are the Samsung Galaxy A51 and A71. Like the Lite handsets mentioned above, these two mid-range smartphones have already been announced, but have not yet received release dates or price information. These handsets are more likely to launch in Asian markets before European/American ones, however, so don’t get too excited just yet.

2. Huawei

Huawei will likely be attending MWC 2020 with the same sort of hardware as last year. That means one flagship phone and one mold-breaking foldable.

The flagship phone in question is the Huawei P40. So far, we know very little about the new phone: rumours suggest that it WILL have Android 10, but this isn’t as significant as it sounds. Huawei has access to an open-source version of the core Android operating system – it’s the lack of Google apps that will really cause the P40 issues.

Huawei has confirmed that the P40 will officially launch in Paris at the end of March. If we do see the flagship at MWC 2020, it will likely be teased during the keynote, and you might spot a few hints on billboards across the city.

The foldable phone, meanwhile, is the rumoured successor to the Huawei Mate X – the Mate Xs. According to leaks and rumours, it’s supposed to be smaller, sturdier and cheaper than its predecessor, with a 5G-ready Kirin chipset inside.

3. Sony

Thankfully, there’s no confusion here: Sony is coming to MWC 2020 with the Xperia 2. Sony’s new flagship is sticking with the 21:9 4K display that proved a bit of a head-turner last year, and some rumours suggest that the Xperia 2 will include a hole-punch selfie camera, but that would rather spoil the whole “unimpeded screen” marketing ploy.

Also rumoured to make an appearance at MWC 2020 is the Sony Xperia L4. The successor to the budget L3 will reportedly have a 6.4in Full HD display, a 13MP rear camera and a middling Snapdragon processor inside. Expect a plain, simple smartphone at a very affordable price – although this launch has been rumoured since 2014.

UPDATE: Sony will not be attending MWC 2020. like LG (below), the firm feels that attending a highly trafficked conference might put its staff at risk, given the current Coronavirus outbreak. The Xperia 2 will still launch, Sony says, via a livestream. 

4. LG

Just like last year, LG has at least two major phones in the pipeline: the LG G9 and the LG V60 ThinQ. Both are flagship handsets with a rumoured quad-camera arrangement and a Snapdragon 865 inside – the difference is that the V60 will apparently support 5G.

More recent rumours – courtesy of Evan Blass – suggest that the LG V60 ThinQ will have a 5,000mAh battery alongside four rear cameras and, oddly, four built-in microphones. Why exactly LG is so proud of this last feature remains to be seen. 

UPDATE: LG has pulled out of MWC 2020 in light of the current Coronavirus epidemic. The firm may well launch/tease the above smartphones via a livestream, but don’t expect a physical presence on the show floor. LG promises it will host a separate event in the near future to unveil its new products.

5. Xiaomi

The Xiaomi Mi 10 (and Mi 10 Pro) have been comprehensively leaked ahead of their launch. Like the Mi Note 10, both phones will make good use of a massive 108MP rear camera – the same one rumoured to be used by the Galaxy S20 Ultra– with 6.5in 90Hz displays and a 4,500mAh battery.

6. Motorola

Motorola’s MWC 2020 showcase will inevitably involve the budget Moto G8 series. So far, the Moto G8 and Moto G8 Power are dead certs, based on recent leaks –the Moto G8 Plus and G8 Play already exist.

UPDATE: The Motorola Moto G8 Power has been announced – in the UK. It has a 5,000mAh battery, four rear cameras and a Snapdragon 665 processor, as predicted. Somewhat confusingly, in the US, the Motorola Moto G Power and G  Stylus launched alongside the Moto G8 Power – the Stylus has a stylus (obviously) and a slightly smaller battery but is otherwise very similar to the G/G8 Power.

7. Nokia

The confusingly named Nokia 9.2 PureView might make an appearance at MWC 2020, upping the ante in the rear camera department by improving upon the five rear snappers found on its predecessor (the 9.1 PureView).

8. Microsoft

It might be a big year for Microsoft at MWC, or it just as easily might not. It all depends on whether the firm decides to shed any more light on its pair of folding devices, the Surface Neo and Surface Duo.

Unlike the Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X, the Neo and Duo are both comprised of two displays separated by a hinge. Recent leaks gave us a glimpse of the new Android-based OS in action – multitasking will play a significant part.

9. OnePlus

At CES 2020 in Las Vegas this month, OnePlus revealed the Concept One, a concept phone with a rear camera that could hide behind colour-changing “electrochromic” glass when not in use. There’s an off chance this unusual device will resurface at MWC 2020.

The same can be said for the OnePlus 8. The firm has already confirmed it will have a 120Hz display, and rumours also point towards four rear cameras and a 4,500mAh battery. It is due to launch in May, so any appearance at MWC will be of the “sneak peek” variety.

10. Oppo

Oppo is no doubt opting to take the opportunity to announce the Oppo Find X2, a flagship handset with a 6.5in waterfall display, a triple rear camera and a Snapdragon 865 (the latest mobile processor from Qualcomm) inside.

We’ll be updating this page with even more MWC 2020 news as the event approaches, so check back soon. 

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