What’s in store for Mobile World Congress 2016?

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With the world’s biggest mobile technology show set to kick off in Barcelona next week, what news can you expect?

It’s late February, which means only one thing in the mobile technology world – Mobile World Congress.

The world’s largest mobile show will be taking over Barcelona’s Fira Grand Via next week, as the building’s eight great halls, and a large number of other venues scattered around the city, play host to the most exciting companies in the technology space right now.

Last year’s show saw a number of blockbuster smartphone releases, some of the world’s most influential minds speaking to large audiences, and, as usual, a number of oddities we never expected.

So what’s to come at Mobile World Congress 2016? Here’s our view…

samsunggalaxys7videoSamsung has dominated the build-up to MWC 2016, as details of the company’s latest flagship smartphone have gradually snuck out over the past weeks and months.

The show has become known for Samsung’s latest releases, following the Galaxy S5 launch in 2014 and the reveal of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge last year. The newest devices, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, are certain to be unveiled at MWC on Sunday, and should be the company’s most powerful and exciting releases to date.

With a super-powerful processor, waterproof case and a super-charged camera, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge should ensure Samsung keeps its spot as the world’s top phone maker for a little while longer yet.

And several other major new releases

Of course it won’t be all Samsung at MWC, as many of the world’s other foremost vendors will be clamouring for attention with their own releases.

Top of the pile will be LG, whose G5 smartphone has attracted a lot of attention in recent weeks as details have leaked out. Set to also be revealed on Sunday, the LG G5 will feature an always-on display and could well come with a set of modular accessories to boost aspects such as camera performance and battery life.

MWCHuawei is also holding its press conference on Sunday afternoon, meaning we should see at least one new smartphone, most probably the Huawei P9, but maybe also some new wearables as well.

Elsewhere, HTC and Sony are also holding big events, so expect new releases from them too, with HTC in particular under a lot of pressure to really wow people with its anticipated M10 smartphone.

But also keep a look out for smaller vendors looking to grab their share of the headlines. With this year’s CES dominated by smart homes and IoT technology, many vendors delayed their releases until MWC, meaning we could see all sorts of exciting new smartphones seeing the light of the day.

Wearables and connected technology

Over the past few years, wearables have exploded on to the technology scene, as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and most recently, virtual reality headsets all drive interest in personal technology.

MWC 2016 should see a whole host of new wearables unveiled and shown off, with the likes of Samsung, Huawei and LG all expected to have new products for us to admire. However the show is also a chance for some of the more niche players to also have their moment to shine, so expect to hear from some new names that could have a big effect.

Also on show should be a whole load of new connected and smart products to continue the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). With CES 2016 giving many manufacturers the chance to show off their wares, MWC will hopefully see a lot of this actually working and operating in real life. With our homes, vehicles and businesses all becoming smarter and more connected, MWC could be our first proper look at some of the most important technology being released this year.

MWC-BAGSBig names saying big things

Away from the gaudy vendor press conferences and packed show floor, MWC 2016 also boasts a speaker line-up featuring many of the biggest names in the technology space. With three keynote theatres and countless other panels, roundtables and discussions, it’s hard to think where else you’d find such expertise in one city.

This year sees the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Buzzfeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti all taking to the stage alongside a veritable Who’s Who of technology chiefs, with nearly all the main industries represented.

But there will also be a bit of star glamour at the show, as companies look to draw in new customers and fans with various celebrity guest spots and performances. This year’s show will see Lewis Hamilton joining Qualcomm, Will.I.Am with his ‘dial’ smartwatch, and many others surely tucked away for now, ready for their big moment.