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Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, the biggest annual technology event focused on mobiles, is about to unfold starting Monday, the 22nd of February. Most major smartphone manufacturers release their flagship devices this time of the year, and 2016 is no different.
Here is a quick rundown of what all are we expecting from the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC among others, at the MWC 2016.
Starting off the MWC festivities is Samsung. The South Korean mobile manufacturer will be launching its next flagship smartphone, or smartphones, at the ‘Galaxy Unpacked' event on the 21st, just a day before MWC officially begins.
We recently covered the rumors and features expected on the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. With specs including a Snapdragon 820 chipset, pressure-sensitive display, 4k displays and an Iris scanner, Samsung's newest flagship devices are expected to be monstrous in terms of performance.
The company's teaser for the event depicts the use of VR (Virtual Reality) technology. This means that Samsung will also be showcasing some developments along the path of their Gear VR platform. Gear VR, as a technology, has shown a lot of potential in the past couple of years and can be the perfect mid-range alternative to expensive headsets like the Oculus.
Contrary to last year's MWC, this time around there is no exciting news from the HTC camp. With an official announcement of the flagship One M10 launch not expected at MWC 2016, HTC isn't even hosting a proper press conference this time around. The launch of the One M9 at MWC 2015 was not received well and fortunes for the company have been falling since. Delaying the launch is a step towards prevention of hurried decisions, that cost HTC a lot of market share in the past one year.
With their VR headset, HTC Vive, due to ship starting mid-April 2016, the company is expected to remain focused on its virtual reality technology this time around and a few surprising announcements can be expected. The price of the Vive is what we are waiting for.
A big player in the Chinese smartphone segment, Xiaomi is all set to finally unveil the Mi5 smartphone, after a long haul of more than 18 months. The company will host the MWC press event on the 24th of Feb, with another simultaneous event happening in Beijing, China. Known to tease with puzzling posters, Xiaomi has explicitly revealed the number ‘5' in the teaser that leads up to the event date.
The Xiaomi Mi5 will be the company's first device to sport the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. It also brings back dual-SIM support and NFC compatibility, both absent from the previous Mi4.
Following the huge success of last year's G4, LG Electronics will be launching the LG G5 just a few hours before MWC and Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event. While most of the specifications of the device are currently under the wraps, what isn't, though, is the touch-enabled case that has been made for the LG G5.
Ironically, this new case has been ‘leaked' by the PR team at LG itself and displays how revolutionary this new case will be, except the fact that it has been based loosely on HTC's dot-view case, launched with the One M8 in 2014.
All the other rumors suggest that the G5 will have a metal unibody (no removable back!) and a fingerprint or Iris scanner for security. The smartphone is also expected to sport dual-cameras on the rear for depth photography.
As has been the case with OEMs including HTC and Microsoft, Sony has struggled to make a place for itself in the crowded flagship smartphone segment. This year will be no different as Sony plans to keep their MWC stall, a silent affair. With press invites sent out for their event on the 21st morning, we can't expect much but a couple of Xperia-branded tablets and some accessories to go along. A new smartphone isn't something Sony has in the pipeline for MWC 2016.
With the launch of the promising Lumia flagship smartphones last year, the Redmond-based software giant doesn't have any good sales reports to show from its mobile division. With continuous layoffs and losses from their smartphone line, no new Lumia smartphones are expected at MWC 2016. This year's biggest mobile event will be another day for the employees at Microsoft.
Every story has a dark horse. Nokia is currently the one in the global smartphone situation - only problem being that it is severely crippled. With no new launches for a long time, Nokia isn't expected to surprise this time around, either. Termed the most-awaited MWC press event in the yester years, Nokia's decline has been steady, most evidently after the Microsoft takeover. With no new hardware innovation, we can expect Nokia to come out with their plans regarding the 5G networks that the team has been working on.
Nokia had tied up with Foxconn to showcase the N1 Android tablet at MWC 2015. This year we shall get to know whether the partnership has proven fruitful and if we will see more of such hardware coming out from the Finnish brand's rusting development centers.
Gizbot will be at MWC 2016, covering all the major updates, from 21st February 2016. Stay tuned for our special updates.