Every year around the end of February, Barcelona plays host to Mobile World Congress, or MWC – a huge trade show that lasts the best part of a week, where anyone who's anyone in mobile puts in an appearance, and maybe launches a flagship smartphone or two as well.
This year is no different, and we're expecting to see a host of new products from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, HTC, LG, Sony and others at MWC 2018.
MWC starts with the press day on 25 February, and here's what you can expect this year.
MWC 2018 at a glance
When is MWC 2018? February 26 – March 1
Where is MWC 2018? Barcelona
What is MWC 2018? It's where a bunch of big brands get together to show off their new phones
The MWC show itself involves huge trade halls filled with booths and demo areas, where attendees can try out some of the cutting-edge devices new on the scene. As well as mobile phones, we'll be seeing wearables and VR kit aplenty this year in Barcelona.
As usual we'll bring you all the big news and announcements from Mobile World Congress this year from the press day on 25 February (the show proper starts on the 26th), but before the event begins, here are some of the devices we're expecting to see unveiled – and a few of the biggest flagship phones of 2018 are likely to be included.
Samsung at MWC 2018
Samsung had a relatively quiet MWC in 2017 but this year is set to be very different – the company has already promised to unveil "the next generation of Galaxy devices" at a press event on 25 February.
That undoubtedly means the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus are going to be shown off in Barcelona. Expect better performance, more storage, more RAM, even smaller bezels, and upgrades to the cameras that put Samsung back at the top of the tree as far as smartphone photography goes.
We've seen plenty of leaks about the S9 phones so far. Stereo speakers, 3D emoji, and dual-lens camera are definitely on the cards, but not (if the rumours are to be believed) a fingerprint sensor under the glass on the front – it's going to have to go round the back again like last year. The early renders of the phone look fantastic, too.
We might also get a few hints about what's coming later in the year from Samsung in terms of phones and wearables, while rumours continue to swirl about the foldable Galaxy X: if Samsung is prepping a foldable device, MWC would be the perfect place to launch it.
LG at MWC 2018
LG is always busy at Mobile World Congress and the LG G6 was one of the best phones of the show last year. Ordinarily we'd say the LG G7 was an absolute cert for MWC 2018, but insider rumours suggest the phone's production has been delayed.
With LG also making noises about producing fewer phones in the future as it looks to keep its profits healthy, it's possible that the company will wait until later in the year to show off it's major new handset for 2018.
LG will still have a huge booth at the event though, and we are expecting to see an upgraded version of the LG V30 break cover at MWC. LG says it's going to add extra AI smarts to the phone, with faster image recognition (to automatically adjust your camera settings) and some additional Google Assistant commands.
Apart from that, we might get a few hints about what LG is planning for the rest of the year, and perhaps some wearable news as well. We would love some new Android Wear hardware, but don't bet on it.
HTC at MWC 2018
HTC chose to launch its 2017 smartphones outside of MWC last year, and there's no reason to think that pattern is going to change this time around. HTC is likely to be showing off its existing phones, like the HTC U11+, rather than unveiling new ones.
Indeed, that's the way the rumours are pointing: industry insiders say HTC's 2018 flagship is likely to be announced in March or April, so that means nothing new for the attendees of Mobile World Congress to play around with.
Having said that, one of the highlights of MWC in recent years has been the HTC Vive demo area, and once again we'd expect it to be one of the busiest booths on the show floor – this time around HTC has the Vive Pro to show off, and we might hear more about HTC's VR and AR plans for the year ahead.
So we'd say a slim chance of seeing anything new from HTC this year, in either phones or VR, but the company will definitely have a presence at MWC, so anything could happen.
Huawei at MWC 2018
We get the feeling Huawei loves MWC and its press events are always one of the best at the show. The Chinese firm has another press event booked in for MWC 2018, which means new phones are likely to be around the corner.
We're probably looking at the Huawei P11 or possible the Huawei P20 based on rumours, the follow-up to last year's really rather good Huawei P10. Thin bezels, dual-lens cameras, and upgraded internals will be the order of the day, though so far nothing official has been revealed by Huawei.
We do know that Huawei has a press event scheduled for March, where we might see as many as three new phones, with one perhaps rocking a triple-lens camera on the back. That would suggest it won't unveil new phones in Barcelona but we'll wait and see.
Huawei might also have some other gear to show off at MWC 2018 – it now makes everything from smartwatches to 2-in-1s – so it's definitely a show to keep tabs on if you're a fan of Huawei hardware. We know from patent filings that Huawei is still exploring the wearable space.
Sony at MWC 2018
Sony always has plenty to say for itself at MWC and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium was one of the highlights of last year's show. With the Xperia design starting to look a little old and dated though, we're expecting something rather new from Sony this year.
As such, with Sony's press event already booked in for MWC 2018 - and one day after Samsung's Galaxy S9 event no less - we are expecting to see the arrival of the Sony Xperia XZ2, a phone said to be an 18:9, thin bezel phone with a 5.7-inch screen and a 4K display resolution, as well as a much rumoured XZ2 Compact.
Indeed, only recently the Xperia blog showed off an image that reportedly shows a prototype version of the Xperia XZ2 with a curved rear casing. We're sold already, but we'll have to wait for the 26th of February at MWC to roll around to get the full details.
Sony being Sony, the cameras inside these new devices are likely to be excellent too, and we'd expect the usual upgrades in terms of internals, with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 likely to put in an appearance. It could be a good chance for Sony to set its 2018 stall out early.
And the rest
There will be lots more for mobile enthusiasts to enjoy at MWC 2018. Google won't unveil any new hardware (probably), but will be promoting the benefits of Android, and may even reveal some secrets about Android P. Apple doesn't bother itself with MWC, so we won't be seeing any new iPhones.
Nokia made quite a splash at last year's event and we might well see some new handsets from the resurrected brand this time around too. Expect clean lines, stock Android, and some very good cameras to build on the Nokia 8 and its siblings.
The Nokia 9 looks likely for an MWC 2018 reveal, and is said to be coming with the latest Snapdragon 845 processor and as many as five lenses in its rear-facing camera. That's a lot of photography power.
The likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus will also be present and correct at MWC 2018, and as well as phones, we're going to be seeing a lot of wearables, VR kit and more. It should be a memorable show – we can't wait for it to get started! Stay tuned to T3.com where we'll bring you all the news as it happens.