(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 Shanghai: 23-25 February 2021
  • 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.

Instead MWC Shanghai will take place on 23-25 February, so they have effectively switched places. The GSMA says in a statement that MWC Shanghai is able to take place in February because of China's response to the pandemic. 

The GSMA is still 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. Whether the event will take place or not remains to be seen. 

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 LG, Sony Mobile and Nokia, typically use MWC to launch new devices, there's often big showcases from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung. 

Some of these companies appear on the exhibitor list for MWC 2021, but it's not clear how large the show will be or if anyone will be physically launching new product there.

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. With many companies looking to launch their new hardware and get it to market in the early part of the year, we're expecting some to align with MWC Shanghai - especially those big Chinese companies - and we're expecting many to have solo launch events. 

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. 

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Writing by Chris Hall.