Mobile World Congress 2016: The Best Smartphones We’re Waiting For At Barcelona
Less than two weeks from now, the Mobile World Congress will open its doors in Barcelona, Spain, and the world's tech companies will show off their wares.
The Internet being what it is, however, we've already got a pretty good idea of what's coming from the big name brands in the mobile space.
We don't really have to wait too long to see what's coming up, and since the MWC is a conference all about mobile technology, smartphones take the spotlight here.
Samsung Galaxy S7
Let's start at the front of the long line of expected smartphones at the MWC with the front runner in the Android space, Samsung's flagship Galaxy S7. The South Korean smartphone maker, in fact, was the first company to send out invites to its Feb. 21 event where it will reveal "The Next Galaxy" device.
The Galaxy S7 is expected to come in two variants, the smaller 5.1-inch S7 and the larger 5.5-inch S7 edge with a dual curved display. Besides the usual spec upgrades on the insides - faster processor, upgraded RAM, new camera sensor, and so on - this year's flagship Galaxy will probably look similar to last year's S6.
That's what the leaked photos reveal so far at least. If there is a difference, it's that the camera bump seems to have been flattened out so that it's now flush with the rest of the backside of the phone.
Directly competing against Samsung's Galaxy S7 both at home and abroad is Korea's other major smartphone maker, LG. Moreover, the company's next flagship, the LG G5, is also expected to be launched on exactly the same day right before the start of the MWC.
Unlike the S7, however, there will only be one variant of the G5, either a 5.5-inch or a 5.6-inch 4K display. That's it - no mini nor plus sizes coming from LG. Still, of all the major smartphone brands basically making slight upgrades from their past flagships, it looks like LG is the only one doing something radically different with the G5.
Aside from the smarter and faster insides, the G5 is also expected to sport an all-metal body design that will still allow for a removable battery using some sort of detachable slot at the bottom of the device. In addition, the G5 is also expected to have an "always-on" screen that will "never go asleep while others do."
Xiaomi Mi 5
Finally, topping our top three list of the best smartphones we're waiting for at the MWC is Xiaomi's Mi 5. Though the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is yet to sell its devices in the United States, the company is huge in Asia.
That being said, we imagine Xiaomi will be making its presence known in our shores sometime soon as this year's MWC will also be the company's first ever appearance at the event. It's here that its flagship Mi 5 is bound to make its official launch, too.
Between the S7 and the G5, the Mi 5 will be the largest of the three Asian-made flagships. Hugo Barra, the former Google VP for Android and now Xiaomi vice president, tweeted an image boasting that the Mi5 is "All you ever imagined, and more."
How much more versus other flagships is yet to be seen, however. For example, the Mi 5 touts to have the Snapdragon 820 processor, which is the same chip the S7 and the G5 have. It will have a larger 5.7-inch screen, but it's stuck at 1080p resolution. At best, we're thinking Xiaomi has beefed up its custom OS to offer new features not yet seen before in a mobile device.
As for the rest of the pack, where are they? HTC and BlackBerry have reportedly decided to back out of the event this year, and are expected to hold their own launches at later dates. As for Sony, the company didn't hold a press event last year either and still ended up announcing two devices.
There are murmurs of Microsoft making an appearance at the MWC, but if it's for the fabled Surface Phone, we expect Microsoft to hold its own event to debut that device as well. Lastly, Nokia has mentioned it will be stopping by, but it won't be to reveal a device. We've heard the company will be there to show off super-fast 5G technology instead.
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr