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February 27, 2015

MWC 2015: What are you most looking forward to?

by John_A

mwc-2015

Mobile World Congress officially starts this coming Monday, though much of the excitement actually unfolds this Sunday, as the HTC One M9 and Galaxy S6 are expected to be formally announced at their respective press events. There’s certainly a lot to be excited for this year, with HTC and Samsung’s upcoming flagships getting a good share of the media attention so far.

So, let’s get right to it, shall we? What are you most looking forward to at MWC? Are you excited by the leaked devices you’ve seen so far? Following the tradition we started in late 2014, we’ll begin by sharing a few responses from the AA community. For those that would like to participate in next week’s debate and get a chance to possibly be featured in our weekly post, remember that we post up our Friday Debate topic in our forums one to two days ahead of publishing.

As you can imagine, this week’s topic saw a lot of interest, but we’ll feature two of them here and you can read the rest on our forums.

Note: For those that watch the weekly podcast, a special episode recorded on scene in Barcelona should go live sometime this weekend — providing all goes well. It will not be ready today, however.

What the AA community has to say

Mastermuffin

I’m certain that most people are looking forward to the HTC M9 and Galaxy S6 and, surprise surprise, so am I. Leaks can either make the device less appealing before any real info is even out or they can build massive hype, and in this case M9’s leaks have done the former, while S6’s have done the latter and intrigued me a lot.

The conspiracy theorists can say whatever they want, but I believe that the leaked promo material of M9 isn’t some clever fake info fed to us by HTC so that they could surprise us on March 1st. They’re simply doing the Apple/Sony/Samsung aka not updating their flagship’s design. It’s still interesting to see the things we don’t yet know of, like perhaps some neat software feature(s).

Now the S6 is something or rather hopefully will be. First of all I must say that even the leaked pictures of the S6 Edge look extremely good! It may just be a more expensive version of the S6 with limited availability and nothing really significant to add in terms of usage, but the design looks extremely good. Do I need to add “in my opinion” to this? Well IMO, there you go. But there’s more to the S6 than just the Edge; it might just be Samsung’s all-or-nothing flagship. That means that Samsung should have put all they have into it, and judging by the leaks, they mostly have. The arguably overrated metal will make its appearance for the first time in an S phone, the display will be top-of-the-line, the processor will beat the competition at least on paper and there will be a miniscule amount of bloatware, if you don’t count Touchwiz as one (I don’t). So finally a phone from Samsung that’s one of the best no matter how you look at it. There’s a catch though, and it’s a big one for some: expandable storage and removable battery will most likely be gone. Can’t have it all eh? Anyways this isn’t an S6 pre-review, moving on.

Finally, I’m also waiting for the surprises. If I remember correctly, LG will skip MWC and announce the G4 a little later, so it would be a pleasant surprise to see it make an appearance. Also the completely unpredictable devices are always nice, especially when they’re good.

So to sum up what I’m waiting for: M9, S6, surprises!

Dolyak

As much as all the hype and rumors are on the newest flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, those devices really don’t interest me all that much. The reason being is that those handsets see a new version year after year and with all the publicity surrounding them they’re going to get the most coverage and make all the headlines for articles, that’s just the very nature of the top tier flagships.

What I’m interested in seeing is all the innovations from the lesser known and upstart companies. The “lower tier” manufacturers are the ones that really put pressure to change and shake up the market.

Take for example during CES earlier this year, BLU was out there pushing it’s 5000mAh battery Studio Energy and the 5.1mm thin Vivo Air. Last year OnePlus One took the Nexus spotlight for being affordable with future-proof specs. I’m interested in the devices that actually address our day to day concerns like battery life, durability, network compatibility, and then I want to see the devices that make us say “how” or “why” like the very first Note from Samsung that paved the way for our current generation of large screens.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the top tier flagships are bad in any way (I’ve owned the Galaxy S line from the Vibrant(S1) to the S4) but I don’t feel like they push the boundaries. Some friends of mine actually even go as far as saying every phone taking shelf space in retail stores all look the same. I personally don’t agree but that does reinforce that the most known phones only push the envelope in specs that only the heaviest gamer or multitasker utilizes, not innovations that make us think.

Not to mention that devices from lesser known brands don’t break the bank, and we’re all looking to save money to buy the next device as it is, especially since swapping phones often has become commonplace in this world of developing technology.

What Team AA has to say

Gary Sims

In terms of mobile phones there was only really two interesting announcements at CES 2015: The LG G Flex 2 and the Zenfone 2. The lack of new products at CES means that the expectations, and to some extent the hype, for MWC 2015 is high. However I fear we could be in for some disappointments.

First the obvious stuff. Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S6 and HTC will launch the HTC One M9. These are two very big announcements and they will in some part shape the smartphone landscape for the next 12 months. However, these two companies have a track record of producing “more of the same” when it comes to their flagship devices. All the rumours point to the M9 being just a revision of the M8, and Samsung has fooled us too many times when it comes to “the next big thing.” I hope I am wrong.

Sony isn’t holding any official press events at this year’s show, and LG and Asus have already made their big announcements at CES. This means that besides Samsung and HTC, any other big surprises will have to come from companies like Huawei, Lenovo (including Motorola), and ZTE. I am also looking forward to see what OnePlus and Meizu have to say.

Besides smartphones, we can expect the biggest announcements to be about wearables. The killer wearable device hasn’t yet been invented and I doubt we will see it at MWC 2015, but who knows, maybe we will!

As for non-Android related products, it will be interesting to have a ringside seat as Microsoft manages to destroy any good-will and customer loyalty it had after it bought Nokia’s consumer base. Likewise it will be fascinating to see what Blackberry will try next, to stop itself from sinking completely. Too harsh? Maybe, we will see.

Robert Triggs

Do I need to say it? Ok I’ll say it – the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Perhaps I have fallen prey to the hype this year, but I’m genuinely interested to see if Samsung can pull something interesting out of the bag. Oddly, I’m not really too bothered what the features are, but I really want to see something a bit different from the company, something to demonstrate that Samsung still has what it takes to be a leader in this industry. I could say the same for the HTC One M9 too, but there’s little indication that HTC wants to change its forumula. I hope Samsung hasn’t fooled me again.

There are also plenty of interesting and unique announcement that I’m equally excited about. Kyocera’s solar charging smartphone prototype is a novel potential solution to mediocre battery life, Meizu’s Ubuntu powered MX4 will give us a glimpse at what a high-end smartphone can do with the fledgling rival OS, and the prospect of an Nvidia Tegra X1 powered tablet or renewed SHIELD controller is even more compelling. Oh, LG’s Watch Urbane looks absolutely stunning too. It might actually tempt me with to pick up smartwatch, if the features are right.

MWC 2015 is definitely going to be a memorable one.

Jimmy Westenberg

Of course I’m excited for the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and the HTC One M9. Who wouldn’t be? These are made by some of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the world, so obviously all eyes are going to be on them this week.

In terms of other mobile phones, the one I’m most excited about came out of left field the other day. Apparently Meizu will show off the MX4 Ubuntu Edition at the trade show. We’ve known Meizu has teamed up with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, for quite some time now. But the first actual Ubuntu phone that made its way to market was a repurposed Aquaris E4.5, the low-budget BQ-made handset. I was admittedly upset when I heard the first Ubuntu-powered phone would be made by BQ. But now, it looks like we’re getting yet another Ubuntu phone, this time with better hardware, and I couldn’t be happier.

Straying away from mobile phones, I’m really interested in what Sony will bring to MWC. We already know Sony isn’t planning on bringing a ton of new devices, but the ones we know about so far are pretty attractive devices. Specifically, I’m looking forward to the new Xperia Z4 Tablet. It’s the company’s first full-sized tablet refresh in a while, and to me, it’s long overdue. Even if it will be offered at an expensive price point, I don’t think Sony will disappoint with this one.

Matthew Benson

For me, the question of MWC isn’t really what I am expecting, but what I’m not. It feels like with each passing year, the “core” of the convention is in the days/weeks preceding the event, especially given the massive number of leaks or press events that come beforehand (see LG’s four new budget phones). Still, let me break it down:

Samsung: We all know what’s going to be on display here, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Nothing really exciting at this point given that in the past 24 hours, we’ve literally seen both. What I’m more interested in is the potential of the Galaxy Tab S2, especially with the rumored 4:3 aspect ratio. The Nexus 9 was a surprisingly refreshing experience given the “unusual” proportions, and I’d love to see Samsung spin out something with a SAMOLED display. I suppose the smartphones will have to do, however, though I am holding out for tablets.

LG: Considering that LG already released the G Flex 2 (which I have spent time with only to be sorely disappointed) and has gone on-record to state the G4 won’t be present, it would seem as if there is nothing much to see. But how freaking awesome would it be if the company had a brand new product on display which made use of the dual edge concept it showcased during CES last month? Man that would really irk Samsung, given how much money and marketing has inevitably been spent on the Galaxy S6 Edge.

HTC: I really, really hope the company is doing an unprecedented level of trolling and is going to wow the pants off all of us. The “rehashed” M8 is just a potential disaster waiting to happen: why would any casual customer buy the “new” product at $199+ on contract when the “old” model is sitting right next to it, looks the same (save for the camera) and will inevitably be reduced to $0 for a 2-year commitment? It just doesn’t make sense at all. Maybe if HTC hadn’t churned out the M8 in Windows Phone clothing last Fall it would be less egregious, but at this point? Give us something that looks original. The company is promising some major surprises for MWC? As others have said, who cares about accessories? Or is the HTC M9 Max supposed to be a surprise when it’s already been leaked? How about that Nexus 9-type tablet that was rumored?

Motorola: I’d love to see the Moto X Pro at MWC; who wouldn’t love a Nexus 9 with the enhancements Motorola has baked into the X? It might be only for China, but I’m all over it!

Sony: At this point, nothing much from Sony is going to impress me sadly, unless there is a major redesign with both the hardware and software.

If I had to pick one product though, I’d say I’m most excited about the Galaxy S6 Edge. Let’s just hope there are some surprises left in store for us.

Now it’s your turn

You’ve heard from our community members and Team AA, now it’s your turn. What are you most anticipating when it comes to MWC 2015?

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