MWC 2016: what we want to see

MWC 2016: what we want to see

MWC 2015 has been and gone, but the products which were announced there aren’t likely to be forgotten any time soon, from the flagship HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones, to the stylish Huawei Watch and the innovative Galaxy S6 Edge — and those are just some of the highlights.

But we’re now looking towards next year’s show and thinking of all the things we want to see, whether it’s improvements on this year’s offerings or completely new ideas, there’s a lot we’re hoping for and as the year creeps towards a close we’re starting to hear a lot of rumors about possible announcements too.

What is MWC?

MWC, or Mobile World Congress to give it its full title, is one of the biggest events in the smartphone calendar. It’s right up there with Apple’s iPhone launches and Samsung’s Unpacked events.

It takes place in Barcelona towards the end of February/beginning of March and it sees the world’s manufacturers (minus Apple) descend on the Fira Gran Via for four days of mobile madness.

MWC 2016 runs from February 22 to February 25.

Every year TechRadar travels in force to cover the event live and bring you all the latest news from the show. Mark it in your diary, submit your wish list in the comments and brace yourself for everything mobile. In the meantime, here’s what we want to see.

A truly bendy phone

Corning Willow Glass

Samsung and LG have teased us with the likes of the Galaxy S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and the LG G Flex 2, but we want someone to take these ideas to the next step, with a bendable phone or at the very least a phone which makes good use of its curves.

Hopefully something will manage that at MWC 2016 and hopefully it will be a flagship, rather than being designed as a niche device.

Bigger batteries rather than slimmer phones

battery

The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a brilliant phone, but in focusing on design and making it as slim as possible Samsung forgot about one of the key things — good battery life, and many other manufacturers are almost as guilty of this.

We’ll happily take a thicker phone if it means a bigger battery, we’ll even pay a little more, so hopefully the powers that be, or the people that make, are listening, and many of the phones announced at MWC 2016 have great battery life.

Battery innovation

battery icon

As well as thicker batteries how about new batteries? The same type of juice packs have been powering our phones for years and the reality is that they’re just not very good.

New battery technology is being researched all the time and hopefully by next year some of that will have gone past the research stage and been implemented into smartphones. Origami batteries anyone? Or how about super-fast charging ones?’

We’re also hoping to see more phones at MWC 2016 adopt the new USB-C standard found on the OnePlus 2. It allows you to plug your charging cable in either way round — like Apple’s Lightning connector — for easy top ups at night.

HTC One M10

HTC One M9

The HTC One M9 launched at MWC 2015 and there’s a good chance we’ll see the HTC One M10 at MWC 2016. But what specifically do we want? A better battery would be a good start, but beyond that it needs to be substantially different to and better than the M9.

That might mean changing the admittedly brilliant design, or maybe HTC will achieve it by adding new features to the phone, like a fingerprint or iris scanner, but the company needs to do something, because as great as the M9 is it feels like HTC is treading water.

Early rumors suggest we might see wireless charging, a powerful processor and perhaps a new camera, but there’s still surprisingly little to go on.

HTC may be about to throw a spanner in the works however, as certain rumors surrounding the HTC One A9 suggest the Taiwanese firm may be set to launch another high-end phone before 2015 is over, though other leaks suggest the A9 could be more mid-range.

Samsung Galaxy S7

Galaxy S6

There’s also a good chance we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy S7 at MWC 2016 and we hope so too, especially after how impressive the S6 was.

Battery life is a key concern again and it would be good if Samsung could return some of the features it cut from the S6, like a microSD card slot and a water resistant build.

Early rumors suggest it might do just that, or at least the microSD card bit. There’s also talk of either a Snapdragon 820 or Exynos M1 processor, a 16MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing one, a strong magnesium alloy build, a durable Turtle Glass display and a pressure-sensitive 3D Touch-like technology.

More power, without the heat

processor

Each year we see ever more powerful phones, but this year the mobile chip of choice — the Snapdragon 810, has been subject to overheating concerns.

No-one wants a toasty phone, especially not when excessive heat can risk damaging the innards too, so we hope whatever phones are announced at MWC 2016 are even more powerful, but without the heat. This shouldn’t be a problem, in fact Fujitsu already claims to have the answer.

Smartwatches hitting their stride

LG Watch Urbane

It’s still early days when it comes to smartwatches. The latest ones like the LG Watch Urbane, the Samsung Gear S2, the Apple Watch and the Moto 360 (2015) are finally starting to look less like tech and more like fashion, but they still have a way to go before they’re likely to convince the masses to ditch their dumb-watches.

There needs to be other improvements too, with battery life key among them. We hope that by MWC 2016 many of the problems faced by smartwatches will have been solved and they’ll be ready for prime time.

Modular mayhem

Project Ara

We were hoping Google would show off Project Ara at MWC 2015, but sadly that didn’t happen and the company has now confirmed that it won’t be launching the hardware until 2016.

That could mean we’ll see it at MWC 2016 and given the long wait we hope that Google will hit the ground running with a whole heap of modular phones, or at least a whole heap of modules for phones.

Then we’ll be free to fix whatever the manufacturers inevitably get wrong/not to our tastes. No fingerprint scanner? Add one. Rubbish camera? Switch it for a better one. Battery too small? Put a bigger one in. And never buy a whole new phone again. Maybe.

A bigger Windows Phone presence

Lumia 930

Windows Phone has had a tough time up against the might of Android and iOS, but Windows 10 Mobile is finally here and it’s accompanied by the impressive Microsoft Lumia 950 and Microsoft Lumia 950 XL.

We probably won’t see any more new Microsoft flagships at the show, but hopefully a new OS will lead to a boost in popularity and with it a slew of new Windows Phone devices from other manufacturers at MWC 2016.

Surprises

MWC

Surprises are always fun. Well, not always, there was that one time with the trampoline and the custard, but we don’t talk about it.

When it comes to MWC more powerful devices are a given, new phones from HTC and Samsung are likely and everything else we’ve hoped for, well, we already hope for it, so it won’t be much of a surprise.

So surprise us assorted tech makers. Bring us something we can’t predict. Just make sure it’s not something rubbish. And there’s no custard. We never want to see custard again.


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