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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Saqib Shah

When is Mobile World Congress 2024? The hottest gadgets coming to Europe's top tech show

Get ready to drool over some of the flashiest new gadgets as Mobile World Congress (MWC) rolls into Barcelona.

The annual show regularly attracts more than 80,000 visitors from around the world to worship at the temple of bonkers tech. A rollable phone? Sure, why not? 

In recent years, MWC has lost some of its sheen as some heavyweights have ditched it to host their events. As such, don’t expect to see Samsung or Google — while Apple was always a no-show anyway.

That still leaves many recognisable names, including OnePlus, Nokia, Nothing, Lenovo, and Motorola, along with countless Chinese and South Korean gadget makers.

Here’s what’s in store at Mobile World Congress 2024.

When is Mobile World Congress 2024?

MWC is a four-day event that kicks off on Monday, February 26 at the Fira de Barcelona, a 240,000-square-metre venue in the heart of Spain’s bustling metropolis.

What we’re looking forward to

London-based tech firm Nothing could reveal its latest phone at the event (Nothing Tech)

So, what devices are destined to make an appearance at this year’s show? We’ve rummaged through the announcements, reports, and rumours in the lead-up to the event to bring you some of the possible highlights.

Cool and crazy new phones

Fittingly for an event with mobile in its name, we should be bombarded with new phones. The wildest ones will probably fold, slide, or in the case of Motorola’s insane concept, bend around your wrist like a bracelet. If that’s a bit too quirky for your taste, there are always good, old flat phones like the recently announced Nothing Phone 2a and Honor’s flagship Magic 6 Pro.

A transparent laptop

Lenovo is said to be bringing a transparent laptop to Mobile World Congress (Lenovo / Evan Blass)

Transparent TVs were a big draw at the other big tech event, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now, we’re hearing that Lenovo is planning a laptop with a completely see-through display. Do you need one? Well, unless you want to see all the crumpled-up chocolate wrappers and discarded cups of tea hidden conveniently behind your computer, probably not. Then again, that didn’t stop Lenovo from making a rollable concept laptop either.

Smart rings versus smartwatches

Are we ready to leave behind smartwatches for smart rings? Samsung is banking on it (Samsung)

With Samsung set to release its first smart ring, expect to see more trinkets you can wear on your finger at MWC. The idea of a discreet activity and sleep tracker you can wear around the clock sounds great on paper. Still, it hasn’t convinced the masses to rush out and buy them. Maybe, because the best ones cost over £200, along with a monthly subscription. Trim down that price and ditch the rolling fee, and you’ve got a deal. Meanwhile, the OnePlus Watch 2 will be there to persuade you that smartwatches are still superior.

AI and smart glasses

Many hucksters will tell you that artificial intelligence should be crammed into every gadget and appliance on Earth. In some cases, it might work: AI that can skim your apps to book flights, hotels and restaurants sounds handy. That’s what German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom is planning for MWC. Unlike the new AI gadgets from startups Humane and Rabbit Inc, this new helper will live on your phone. 

The XReal Air 2 Ultra smart glasses (XReal)

Separately, Vodafone will show off what sounds like a router for a new wave of smart glasses. The HyperRealityHub (yes, it’s one word) will essentially power the type of goggles the tech world reckons everyone will soon be wearing. By cutting down the amount of parts you have to cram into these things, Vodafone reckons the hub will usher in smart glasses that look like, well, glasses. Seeing as the bulky Apple Vision Pro gave some people headaches, that may not be such a bad idea. Stick enough of these routers around London, and we can all don our VR Ray-Bans on the tube.

An electric car from a Chinese Apple wannabe

Forget phones, Xiaomi wants to take on Tesla with its new EV (Xiaomi)

While the world waits for the long-gestating Apple car, China’s Xiaomi is pushing ahead with its own EV. The company could take the wraps off an electric sports saloon at MWC, roughly three years since it announced its grand foray into the auto market. The Chinese company already makes e-scooters, so why not cars? Having already cribbed from Apple’s iOS for its phones, now it’s looking to steal more of its thunder. Good luck topping Sony’s motor that can be driven with a PS5 controller, though.

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