Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the biggest mobile event of the year. The show sees the launch of many of the year's top smartphones, smartwatches and tablets, as well as seeing the emergence of the hottest new trends in mobile, such as 5G.

Outside of the consumer sphere, it also draws in many of the industry heavyweights to talk about the future of mobile, like 5G, mobile hardware, VR and other associated technologies.

Here's everything you need to know about the show.

When is Mobile World Congress?

  • MWC Barcelona: 28 June-1 July 2021

In 2021 the Barcelona leg of the show is delayed from its usual February-March slot and will now take place from 28 June-1 July 2021 all being well.

The GSMA is planning to host a physical event in Barcelona. Safety measures will be in place, including madatory face masks and social distancing, but vaccination won't be a requirement. Several major brands have announced their withdrawl from the show.

What is scheduled to launch at Mobile World Congress 2021?  

That's the million dollar question. In any normal year, there would be a series of launches from some of the leading mobile phone manufacturers - the likes of Sony Mobile and Nokia typically use MWC to launch new devices, there's often big showcases from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung. 

Normally we'd have a long list of devices we're expecting to see, but for 2021, we're not sure that's going to happen. Exactly what the show will have in store for us will very much depend on the state of the pandemic both globally and in Spain itself; in short, there's likely to be a lot of uncertainty, but it has been possible to hold some events, as demonstrated by IFA 2020 in Berlin.

Brands that have withdrawn

We don't want to be pessimistic, but it's easier to confirm those companies that have withdrawn from the physical show:

  • Samsung
  • Sony Mobile
  • Nokia
  • Google
  • Qualcomm
  • Ericsson
  • Facebook

There are some big names here: Sony and Nokia usually launch devices at the show. Samsung usually has something new to show off. Google normally dominates a huge area between the show halls, while Qualcomm always has a big stand. 

However, there will still be some virtual participation from these companies. This isn't the end of Mobile World Congress and we're likely to see a range of announcements around the time of the show, partly because they fit into brands launch cycles, partly to stick to some sort of schedule and partly to show solidarity with the show.

Apple WWDC 2021 special - Pocket-lint Podcast 107

Exactly what we might get in terms of consumer launches has become very vague. Pocket-lint will not be at Mobile World Congress in 2021, but we'll bring you all the announcements as we normally do.

Writing by Chris Hall.