Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, one of the biggest annual trade shows for telecom companies and mobile phone manufacturers, is officially cancelled amid fears over the coronvirus outbreak. MWC sees some of the world’s biggest telecom companies; including many from China, attend the event each year in Barcelona, Spain.
Many of the big names had already pulled out of the event from Sony to ZTE to vivo to HMD Global; and GSMA, the body that hosts MWC has taken a call to pull the plug on the event. The MWC 2020 has been an annual event since 2006. The event was officially supposed to start on February 24 till February 27; though many of the major smartphone companies hold their press briefings a day or two before.
In a statement GSMA said, “With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today; the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak; travel concern; and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event.”
GSMA had earlier said it would continue with the show and laid out preventive security measures for those visiting from China and other attendees. But given that most of the big the names have pulled out, it is not surprising that the event has been cancelled.
The coronavirus outbreak is also expected to impact the supply chain in China with analysts at research firm Canalys predicting that it will severely affect smartphone and PC shipments in the country. Given the restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, there could be an impact to production as well, and there is a lot of uncertainty as to how this will play out.
So what happens to all the big smartphone launches that were planned? Here’s what we know so far
Xiaomi was to do a global debut for its Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro smartphones on February 23 at MWC 2020. While the phones will launch in China later today, the Barcelona launch was a global event. Xiaomi had not officially withdrawn from the event, but it is not clear what the next steps are for the Mi 10’s global showcase. Xiaomi is yet to announce whether it will do a livestream event for the non-China market.
For Realme, it would have been the brand’s first launch events at MWC 2020, where a new Realme X50 Pro with 5G support was supposed to launch. Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth had posted on Twitter about the upcoming launch. We have reached out to Realme for a statement as to what the company plans to do next.
Oppo Find X2 was expected on February 22, ahead of MWC 2020 opening. The Find X2 is the successor to the original Find X that launched back 2018 with a truly bezel-less display, had a rotating camera and an in-display fingerprint sensor. We have reached out to Oppo for a statement regarding the launch. It does not look like the company has planned any livestream for now.
HMD Global had already withdrawn from the show. It was expected to showcase new products at the event, including a modern take on a old Nokia phone. Last year, it had shown the Nokia 9 PureView with five cameras at the back at MWC 2019, and this year the Nokia 9.2 with five cameras was expected.
“We believe the prudent decision is to cancel our participation at Mobile World Congress and want to express our sincere thanks to the GSMA and other authorities for their tireless efforts to address the challenges resulting from Covid-19, and they have our full support as they move forward,” the company said in a statement.
As of now, the launch event is also cancelled and HMD Global has not rescheduled or announced a launch via a livestream. It is unclear when these new phones, which were to be showcased at MWC 2020, will be unveiled. For now, HMD Global’s launch for the new Nokia phones is delayed; and there’s no word on when the phones will be revealed.
Vivo was expected to showcase its new APEX 2020 concept phone at the event. The phone is expected to feature an under-display selfie camera and a near bezel-less display. Last year’s APEX concept phone had no buttons at all and no port either.
But vivo also withdrew from MWC 2020. It had issued a statement earlier this week saying, “Based on the present situation; we have decided to withdraw from our debut at MWC 2020; and other related events later this month in Barcelona, Spain.” There’s no word on when vivo will showcase the phone now. It has not announced an event via a livestream either.
Sony had pulled out of MWC blaming the coronavirus outbreak and it was expected to showcase a new Xperia 2 smartphone; which would sport a punch hole camera. It is likely to be a 5G smartphone powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor.
Still, Sony has not cancelled the launch as such and is hosting a livestream for the same. It will take place at 8:30 am CET on February 24, 2020 online on the Sony Xperia YouTube channel. Other mid-range phones are also expected from Sony at this launch.
At MWC 2020, LG was expected to launch its detachable dual screen smartphone, the new V60 ThinQ. The phone is also expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 865 processor. LG has not given an exact timeline so far as to when it will launch its upcoming flagship.