MWC is always known to bring the big hitters in mobile to the plate, with many brands battling it out to shoulder its way into the headlines.
But the home run this year (no more baseball references, promise!) wasn’t any one handset, despite the blossoming of the foldable phone. Even better, we got to see the technology that’s set to shape the next decade: 5G.
From future 5G plans and the latest chip tech to the world’s first 5G-enabled smartphones, the entire industry is in a cyber race to get us access ASAP. Here’s how it went down at MWC 2019…
What 5G smartphones were announced at Mobile World Congress?
It may be a little too early to get our hands on one just yet, but we got to see 5G in action, in the flesh, which is pretty exciting.
Huawei Mate X
Dubbed the “world’s fastest foldable phone”, Huawei was very happy to show off its Mate X folding handset with its 5G capability.
Sporting downlink speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, CEO of Huawei’s consumer products Richard Yu said the Mate X will let you download a “1 GB movie in 3 seconds”, which is nothing short of astonishing. And with all the other revolutionary tech 5G is expected to offer us, the Mate X will be a fantastic phone to experience it on first.
Read more about Huawei’s Mate X announcement at MWC 2019
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Going rogue a few days before the exhibition, Samsung unveiled its long-awaited S10 (and surprise Galaxy Fold) at its own Unpacked Event in sunny San Fran.
Despite mainly focusing the launch of its stunning new devices, the tech giant did also promise a 5G version of the S10, so it’s safe to say Samsung anticipated MWC’s focus on 5G.
Xiaomi Mi MIX3
Xiaomi wasted no time in showing what it had done to make 5G a reality in both our handsets and our homes. Introduced alongside its new flagship Mi 9 smartphone, the 5G MIX3 is the result of nearly three years of intense development, so for a first-ever MWC launch Xiaomi hasn’t done bad at all.
To prove it had cracked it, Xiaomi also demonstrated the first public 5G video call outside of China, which was an incredible feat to witness.
The Qualcomm takeover
As creator of the chip that most smartphone brands will be using for their 5G phones, Qualcomm played a big part at MWC in explaining how 5G really will upgrade our digital experience.
And popping up all over the place at various launch events across MWC was Qualcomm President and chipset pioneer Cristiano Amon. He broke it down in layman’s terms how Qualcomm’s new processor, the powerhouse Snapdragon 855, is making the latest handsets 5G-capable.
“4K video streaming will be as easy as streaming music”, Amon said at Xiaomi’s launch event. While with OPPO, he mentioned how 5G will “completely redefine the experience of multimedia gaming”.
Thanks to Qualcomm, 5G will be a commercial reality in the coming few months.
What do other brands have planned for 5G?
We didn’t see a physical, bona fide 5G smartphone in every camp at this year’s MWC, but other brands have still made significant headway in putting this new network into our palms by the end of the year.
The up-and-coming Chinese phone manufacturer set out three ways its 5G handsets will transform our use of smartphones:
- 5G cloud gaming – Online multiplayer games are expecting a huge upgrade with the introduction of 5G connectivity and bandwidth.
- Intelligent connectivity – Say goodbye to buffering and long download speeds. You’ll have your content in seconds.
- Breeno – OPPO’s smart voice assistant will be able to perform loads more tasks with 5G capability.
The Japanese behemoth made the headlines at MWC 2019 for its ground-breaking 21:9 screen to give the ultimate cinema experience on a smartphone, but 5G wasn’t forgotten either.
Only displaying a prototype at its stand in the exhibition centre’s Hall 3, Sony was bit more reluctant than its peers to fully recognise 5G handsets as an immediate commercial opportunity. But that doesn’t mean they’re far behind – Berlin's annual IFA tech show isn't far away after all…
Excited for 5G phones? Let us know in the comments which one you’d be interested in using…