MWC 2021 news, dates and everything so far from the big smartphone show

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the biggest trade show in the mobile calendar and it’s where many of the year’s most exciting handsets are often announced – alongside tablets, wearables, and other tech.

It's happening right now, with the event running from June 28 to July 1, but this year - thanks to Covid-19 - it's smaller than normal, as well as being held later than normal and being run as a hybrid event, with lots of the announcements expected online.

So what can you expect to see at MWC 2021? Little has been announced so far, and while we've seen a few gadgets revealed during the show, it's going to be a lot quieter than in previous years.

You’ll find everything we've heard so far below, and as soon as we learn more we’ll update this article with all the details. So make sure to check back here if you want to stay up to date on MWC 2021.

Latest News

MWC 2021 is going ahead right now, and we're set to hear a variety of smaller announcements at the show. That said, there has been little that has been confirmed to go ahead.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The biggest smartphone trade show of the year
  • When is it? Right now (June 28 - July 1)

What are the MWC 2021 dates?

MWC 2021 is happening right now (it's scheduled to be held from June 28 – July 1). Those aren’t the original dates, as it had previously been planned for early March, but it was delayed to increase the chance of it actually being able to go ahead.

While it's being held in Barcelona as usual, it also has “virtual elements” this time. The GSMA - the company behind the show - has confirmed it'll be much further scaled back than in previous years.

In an interview with Mobile World Live, GSMA Limited CEO John Hoffman confirmed that the plan is to have between 40,000 and 50,000 attendees. In 2019, the last physical MWC show, there were around 110,000 attendees.

Ericsson is one of the biggest companies that often attends MWC, but the company has decided to withdraw from the 2021 event. Google, Samsung, Sony, Nokia and others have since said the same - but many still suggest they'll take part in the virtual elements, meaning we might still see announcements from them.

What is the plan for MWC 2022? Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, has confirmed to TechRadar plans to keep its February window for future shows after the 2021 event.

"We do want to be going back to the February Barcelona rhythm once 2021 is done." Granryd said. "A lot of product launches are happening towards the beginning of the year, so we'd like to time that into our event."

What's happening at MWC 2021

It seems there won't be many consumer announcements at MWC 2021, but below you can see everything we know so far.

Samsung at MWC 2021

Galaxy Watch 3

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

Samsung has confirmed it won't have a physical presence at MWC 2021, but it will be using the event to reveal its new software for smartwatches. Or at least that's what we're expecting.

Previously teased at the Android 11 launch, the company has confirmed it'll be hosting a virtual livestream where it says you'll get to learn how "the next Galaxy Experience can empower you", along with its "vision for the future of smartwatches".

That isn't exactly clear on what the company will be revealing on Monday, June 28, but it does seem to suggest we'll be hearing more about its new Tizen OS and Wear OS hybrid.

The Samsung Galaxy livestream is scheduled to take place at 13:15 ET (10:15 PT / 18:15 BST) on Monday, June 28 (which is 03:15 AEST June 29 in Australia), and you’ll be able to tune in via the company’s YouTube channel. 

Lenovo at MWC 2021

The Chinese computing company Lenovo is at MWC 2021, and it has revealed a bunch of new gadgets in the mobile computing space.

Its new announcements include the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13, Yoga Tab 11, Tab M7, Tab M8 and Tab P11 Plus. Those last three are cheaper Android tablets, while the first two are more computing focused devices.

The company has also introduced a new product called the Lenovo Smart Clock 2, which is the company's latest smart home device.

TCL at MWC 2021

TCL MWC 2021

The NXTWEAR G (Image credit: TCL)

TCL made its MWC announcements several days before the event officially kicked off, but it's not unusual for companies to get the ball rolling early.

The most interesting of its announcements was the NXTWEAR G, a pair of smart glasses that you can connect to your phone to have videos displayed on them. But the effect is the equivalent of viewing the videos on a 140-inch screen.

They don't have a battery, so need to be plugged into your phone, but that ensures they're light and compact. They're going on sale later this year for €599 (around $715 / £510 / AU$945).

The company also unveiled the Alcatel 1, a super-cheap Android 11 smartphone, costing just €59 (roughly $70, £50, AU$90), and launching in Europe in August. This has a 5-inch screen, so it's compact too, but we don't know much else about it yet.

And TCL additionally launched a 5G outdoor hub (to bring 5G to your home), and demoed its new Multi-Screen Collaboration feature, which lets you connect a TCL 20 Pro 5G to another device (such as a Windows 10 PC) and interact with it on your monitor.

What else could MWC 2021 bring?

Few official announcements have happened so far, and it doesn't seem there's much else scheduled in for a consumer audience. Here's what we may see, but this is all based on speculation and rumors, so none of this is guaranteed.

Sony at MWC 2021

Sony Xperia 1

The Sony Xperia 1 was an MWC announcement (Image credit: Future)

Sony often announces major phones at MWC. During the 2019 show for example it unveiled the flagship Sony Xperia 1, along with the mid-range Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus.

This year the company has already announced the Sony Xperia 1 III, Xperia 5 III, and Xperia 10 III, so what does that leave for MWC? 

Well, we've also seen leaks surrounding the Sony Xperia 1 III Compact and there's also talk of a mystery 'Ultra' phone, so they're also possibilities.

Regardless though, we’d think it’s likely that we’ll see something from Sony at MWC 2021. That said, the company has pulled out of the in-person event - but it may well still announce something online.

Huawei at MWC 2021

Huawei Mate Xs

Could we see the successor to the Mate XS at MWC 2021? (Image credit: TechRadar)

While Huawei didn’t launch any of its main flagships at MWC 2019, it did unveil the foldable Huawei Mate X, which was quite a big deal. It also often unveils new tablets and laptops during the event.

So while we probably won’t see the Huawei P50 or Huawei Mate 50 at MWC 2021, we might well see something from the company – perhaps including one or more foldables. The Huawei Mate X2 has already landed, but there's rumors that Huawei has some affordable foldables on the way at some point this year.

Nokia at MWC 2021

The Nokia 9 PureView was a highlight of MWC 2019

The Nokia 9 PureView was a highlight of MWC 2019 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Nokia often has a big presence at MWC, with flagships (such as the Nokia 9 PureView in 2019) and lower end phones both accounted for.

At the time of writing the company hasn’t yet launched the Nokia 10, so that’s overdue.

Leaks currently can't agree on whether it will land in the first or second half of the year - if the latter then it might not arrive until after MWC, but the confusion could stem from MWC happening right in the middle of the year.

And if the Nokia 10 doesn't land there, at the very least we’ll probably see some low-end or mid-range Nokia phones, such as the Nokia 8.4. It's worth noting that Nokia has pulled out of attending MWC 2021 in person, but claims it will participate in the 'virtual event'.

Everything else

While we’ve covered many of the likely highlights above, there will probably be all sorts of other things on show from all sorts of other companies.

At MWC 2019 we saw new phones from Alcatel, Xiaomi, ZTE, and more. Other likely candidates for MWC 2021 phone launches include Honor, Motorola, and Oppo. Plus, you can expect a variety of tablets and laptops, potentially alongside some smartwatches and fitness trackers – though notably there weren’t any at MWC 2019.

What we probably won’t see is anything by Apple or OnePlus, and while Google might unveil something it almost certainly won’t be a phone – at MWC 2019 the company just talked about Google Assistant improvements and Google Fi.

As with a number of other companies though, Google has said it won't attend the physical event, but that still leaves it open to online announcements.

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