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MWC 2021: what to expect from the big mobile show

MWC
(Image credit: Future)

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the biggest trade show in the mobile calendar and it’s where many of the year’s most exciting handsets are often announced – alongside tablets, wearables, and other tech.

Or at least, it’s usually the biggest trade show in the mobile calendar, but in 2020 it was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the good news is that – for now at least – MWC 2021 is scheduled to go ahead, though it will be later than normal, as explained below.

So what can you expect to see at MWC 2021? While nothing has been confirmed just yet, we can take some educated guesses based on previous years. You’ll find them below, and as soon as we learn more we’ll update this article with all the details. So make sure to check back here if you want to stay up to date on MWC 2021.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The biggest smartphone trade show of 2021
  • When is it? June 28 - July 1

When is MWC 2021?

MWC 2021 is scheduled to be held from June 28 – July 1. Those aren’t the original dates, as it had previously been planned for early March, but it has now been delayed to increase the chance of it actually being able to go ahead and be well attended.

While it will be held in Barcelona as usual, it’s also set to have “virtual elements” this time.

Of course, since no one can predict the future it’s always possible that the event will be further delayed or even cancelled, but for now, late June is when to mark it in your calendar.

What to expect at MWC 2021

At the time of writing there’s no concrete news about what to expect at MWC 2021, but we have some ideas based on the sorts of products that are typically announced.

Sony at MWC 2021

Sony Xperia 1

The Sony Xperia 1 was an MWC announcement (Image credit: Future)

Sony often announces major phones at MWC. During the 2019 show for example it unveiled the flagship Sony Xperia 1, along with the mid-range Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus.

So does that mean we could see the Sony Xperia 1 III at MWC 2021? Potentially, but with the event now taking place later in the year it might be too late for that phone. Regardless though, we’d think it’s likely that we’ll see something from Sony at MWC 2021.

Huawei at MWC 2021

Huawei Mate Xs

Could we see the successor to the Mate XS at MWC 2021? (Image credit: TechRadar)

While Huawei didn’t launch any of its main flagships at MWC 2019, it did unveil the foldable Huawei Mate X, which was quite a big deal. It also often unveils new tablets and laptops during the event.

So while we probably won’t see the Huawei P50 or Huawei Mate 50 at MWC 2021, we might well see something from the company – perhaps including the successor to the Huawei Mate Xs.

Nokia at MWC 2021

The Nokia 9 PureView was a highlight of MWC 2019

The Nokia 9 PureView was a highlight of MWC 2019 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Nokia often has a big presence at MWC, with flagships (such as the Nokia 9 PureView in 2019) and lower end phones both accounted for.

At the time of writing the company hasn’t yet launched the Nokia 10, so that’s overdue and will probably arrive before MWC 2021, but you never know, we might see it there, or even the Nokia 11.

Failing that, at the very least we’ll probably see some low-end or mid-range Nokia phones, such as the Nokia 5.4 or Nokia 8.4.

LG at MWC 2021

LG Velvet

MWC 2021 could host the LG Velvet 2 (Image credit: TechRadar)

LG launched the flagship LG G8 at MWC 2019, and while the G range is seemingly dead (and replaced by the LG Velvet), we might see something similarly interesting at MWC 2021. In fact, given that the LG Velvet launched in May, MWC 2021 is happening at roughly the right time for the LG Velvet 2.

The LG V70 is also a possibility, following on from the flagship LG V60 ThinQ which landed in February and may well have had an MWC launch if the event had been held.

Everything else

While we’ve covered many of the likely highlights above, there will probably be all sorts of other things on show from all sorts of other companies.

At MWC 2019 we saw new phones from Alcatel, Xiaomi, ZTE, and more. We also saw new Samsung handsets, but don’t get too excited – in recent years the company has held separate events for flagships like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S30. Rather, we’ll potentially see some new mid-range A-series phones.

Other likely candidates for MWC 2020 phone launches include Honor, Motorola, and Oppo.

Plus, you can expect a variety of tablets and laptops, potentially alongside some smartwatches and fitness trackers – though notably there weren’t any at MWC 2019.

What we probably won’t see is anything by Apple or OnePlus, and while Google might unveil something it almost certainly won’t be a phone – at MWC 2019 the company just talked about Google Assistant improvements and Google Fi.