Predictions for Mobile World Congress 2017

CCS Insight Looks Forward to Barcelona


Year on year, Mobile World Congress expands in popularity, stature and credibility. The mobile industry's annual gathering in Barcelona covers not only emerging areas but also provides a platform to showcase the impressive development of technologies and capabilities across this thriving sector.

This year will be no exception. As competition heightens and businesses look to innovate and capture customers' imagination on every level, we'll see the continued evolution of the telecom industry. Here we look at what to expect at the show.

Devices and Wearables

Mobile World Congress has become a key event for phone-makers to launch new devices. Samsung, for example, has used past shows to launch its latest high-end phone. This year, however, it's chosen to unveil its flagship device at a separate event later in the year, giving other manufacturers the chance to grab the limelight.

CCS Insight expects the big announcements to come on the eve of the show at a series of press conferences. Look out for new devices from the likes of Gionee, Huawei, Lenovo (and its Motorola brand), LG, HMD Global (and its Nokia brand), Oppo, ZTE and others.

Every phone-maker will be hoping that its latest Android device will stand out in the sea of smartphone sameness. We expect the big trend is going to be smaller bezels — it's going to be all about taking stunning screens right to edge of devices. There are likely to be a few devices sporting dual cameras and biometric features such as fingerprint and iris recognition.

A notable announcement will be the return of Nokia phones. This once ubiquitous brand will reappear as HMD Global unveils its first portfolio of phones bearing the Nokia name, which it has licenced for a range of Android-powered devices. We have high hopes for the new products. In November last year, we predicted that Nokia-branded Android smartphones could grab 5 percent of the global smartphone market by 2019 (see HMD Bets on Nokia Brand).

In other device news, we expect virtual reality and 360-degree content to be hot topics at the show. We're looking forward to seeing numerous smartphone VR headsets compatible with Google's Daydream system. We think a plethora of 360-degree cameras at a range of prices will be the catalyst for an explosion of "surroundie" pictures and videos in the coming years. We may not see it in Barcelona, but we also forecast a manufacturer will launch a smartphone with an integrated 360-degree camera during 2017.

Wearable devices will also be a strong focus, with several new products expected at the show. Google is sure to take the opportunity to re-energise its efforts in full-touch smartwatches with the unveiling of the first devices using its new Android Wear 2.0. Look out for the new products from LG as well as ZTE and perhaps a few others. However, all this activity has yet to prove that smartwatches are more than just a solution looking for a problem.

We remain concerned that the new Android Wear watches will fail to impress. Smart analogue watches, which combine digital notifications with a traditional analogue face, will pick up more pace during 2017, and we think that by 2018 sales of such watches will outstrip those of Apple and Android-powered devices.

Networks

As in 2016, 5G will be a hot topic at Mobile World Congress. However, among all the noise, most operators will struggle to find solid business cases in support of 5G deployments any time before 2020. Gigabit LTE is going to be the headline story when it comes to network evolution.

Network operators see gigabit LTE as an opportunity to extend the return on their investments in 4G networks, and this is going to be one of the hottest tech topics in 2017 as leading operators around the world upgrade their networks.

Internet of Things

For several years, many of the big companies attending Mobile World Congress have heralded the ascendancy of the so-called Internet of things, yet their grand statements about embracing this world are starting to look meaningless. In Barcelona this year, the major names must put some edges on their ambitions.

Watch out for developments in machine-to-machine deployments in areas such as retail, healthcare, agriculture, construction, utilities, smart buildings and smart cites. We'll also see tremendous activity in connected cars, as well as convergence between enterprise mobility management systems and cloud platforms for the Internet of things.

We also think there'll be a growing coalition of operators seeking to take a big role in smart cities. Supporting smart cities is a natural extension of mobile network operators' business models, but they need to move quickly, given the ambitions of Google and others in this area.

Big data analytics, machine learning, deep learning and artificial intelligence will all make an appearance at the show. The most visible aspect of these technologies is smart assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Voice Assistant, but we believe the biggest opportunity lies in enterprise use of the technology.

We expect to see many types of company putting themselves forward as suppliers who can bring machine learning and artificial intelligence into an area. This will not only be in cloud services but also increasingly in networks, apps and in connected devices themselves.

A team of CCS Insight analysts will be attending Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. We will be issuing Daily Insights summarising news from the event, as well as more comprehensive analysis in the days after the show.

This entry was posted on February 13th, 2017 and is filed under Mobile World Congress (MWC). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Ben Wood On February 13th, 2017


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
The #Krack attack that puts billions of devices at risk highlights a flaw in the creation of the Wi-Fi standard: https://t.co/3RbiAW7Th2
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Congratulations @AnthonyVollmer. https://t.co/uBYiXwLAwF
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Most memorable preso at Qualcomm 4G/5G event was @BT / @EE’s dancing MD (IT & Mobile), Fotis Karonis. Bullish goal… https://t.co/WT45rxO61S
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
#IoT This is interesting: Apple partnership with GE for Predix. https://t.co/gyCCtjGitR. But an SDK per IoT platfor… https://t.co/JMy3vALaIs
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Samsung partnering with Google on ARCore makes sense. Samsung changing though - 3 yrs ago it would have sought to d… https://t.co/oKgDrjPQV0
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
5G subscriptions will reach 1 billion in 2023. Our new 5G forecast for the ambitiously long period of 2018-2025:… https://t.co/lykFFxl8Sr
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
Sorry to hear MobileIron's @bmainz has left. EMM is rapidly reshaping. Tough out there for a specialist, public firm https://t.co/tWiEj06djI
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Spoilt for choice, what a line up; @ChampionsLeague goals show or #CHEROM live in #UHD #4K & #DolbyAtmos on BT Spor… https://t.co/5uqH3KbuGx
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
Voda UK to launch novel PAYG concept. Spend limited to £1/day, but unlimited voice/SMS and 500MB of data thereafter. Aim to mitigate worry.
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
Hands on with the new Ricoh Theta V! 4K video is the highlight of the V - I'm hoping to see an improvement in the p… https://t.co/kd0vGEXHBd
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @benwood: Big news from Samsung overnight. Despite strong profits CEO resigns. Cites concerns over future challenges. https://t.co/bqI1…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
RT @TheBMA: Two junior doctors were left looking after more than 400 patients during very unsafe shift at stretched hospital https://t.co/q…
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
The Wi-Fi Krack Security Vulnerability Highlights a Flaw in the Standard's C... Read more
Blog Post
Game On in Smartphone Market Will There Be Demand for Razer's Gaming Smartphone? Razer, ... Read more
Blog Post
Google Touts Gigabit LTE Advantage Aims to Enhance Android Experience on High-Tier Phones It's... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
CCS Insight Predicts 1 Billion Users of 5G by 2023, with More Than Half in China 5G to take off faster than any previous mobile technology ... Read more
More news