MWC 2021: What we expect to see at the world's biggest mobile event
MWC 2021 is looking a lot different this year. Although the world’s biggest mobile-first trade show is still happening physically, it’s happening later in the year than usual. Even then, the COVID-19 pandemic will invariably have a profound effect on the event.
Mobile World Congress is an electronics trade show that happens in Barcelona each year. Usually, it happens in late February or early March, but not so this year. The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) set a later date for the massive event. This date change will allow some companies to physically exhibit at MWC, but several sessions are fully virtual akin to CES 2021.
MWC 2021: Important info
- When is MWC 2021? Mobile World Congress officially takes place from Monday, June 28, 2021, through Thursday, July 1, 2021. We do expect a few firms to debut new products at the event, but don’t expect the usual swathe of flagship smartphone launches this year.
- Where is MWC 2021 held? The event happens in Barcelona, Spain, one of the most populous cities in all of Europe. Several sessions will also take place virtually.
- Is MWC 2021 open to the public? Mobile World Congress is geared directly towards businesses in the mobile telecom industry. While there is no rule against the general public attending, it would be difficult to gain access without first proving you are somehow connected to the mobile industry. Some virtual sessions will be free for the public to view, though.
MWC 2021: Companies hosting events or keynotes
MWC 2021 has a meager lineup compared to previous years, but you can still expect a few companies to make announcements or deliver keynotes at the event. While some events are physical, taking place in Barcelona, most are virtual.
Intel is hosting a virtual event titled “Unleashing the Possibilities of 5G” at MWC 2021. Alongside the wireless technology, the company’s also chatting AI advancements, too. The event takes place on Monday, June 28 beginning at 6 PM CET (12 PM ET).
The Chinese tech giant has already unveiled several products prior to MWC 2021, including a new smart clock and tablets. But that’s not all. The company is also hosting a live virtual session on Monday, June 28 beginning at 1 PM CET (7 AM ET) titled “Beyond Innovation.” This will take the form of five interviews focusing on key advancements, including 5G, IoT, and foldable phones. Lenovo is hosting several additional virtual sessions too. Find the full list at the link.
Nvidia is hosting several sessions across MWC 2021 week. These are primarily focused on the intersection of 5G and AI, automation, and healthcare. The latter session specifically looks at the role of AI in healthcare during the current pandemic and the future.
Qualcomm announced that it won’t be physically present in Barcelona this year, but it will host a keynote delivered by company CEO-elect Cristiano Amon on Monday, June 28 beginning at 12:15 PM CET (6:15 AM ET). The keynote, titled “Building for the next decade,” will focus on 5G.
Samsung is hosting a virtual event on Monday, June 28 beginning at 1:15 PM ET to talk more about its partnership with Google on Wear OS, the “Galaxy Ecosystem” and “mobile security.” We’re also expecting the firm to unveil its new flagship smartwatch series, the Galaxy Watch 4.
Elon Musk is delivering a keynote on Tuesday, June 29 beginning at 5:30 PM CET (11:30 AM ET) as the chief engineer of Space X. Judging by the keynote overview, Musk will also touch on the Starlink program, Tesla’s advancements in the automotive industry, and Neuralink.
MWC 2021: Companies not attending
There are a few notable absentees from MWC 2021 this year. The big names missing out include Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Oracle, Nokia, and Sony.
While the likes of Samsung, Qualcomm, and Lenovo are hosting virtual sessions or have personnel delivering keynotes, the companies will not have a physical presence at the event.
That’s all we know about MWC. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can stay up-to-date on any new information and announcements.
Last year’s event was canceled, but you can read about our favorite 2019 products from when the most recent MWC event took place.