MWC 2021: why are there no new cell phones at the Mobile World Congress?

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Those who walk the corridors of the MWC 2021, especially those who attended editions prior to the coronavirus pandemic, give account of their soulless character. This is how they describe it in The country from Spain. In fact, the Mobile World Congress, which is the main annual meeting of the smartphone industry, did not show any great news yet.

The global health crisis is a major obstacle to the bombastic intentions of the MWC. In 2020, the organizers had to cancel the invitation in the hours before the inauguration when Covid-19 began to be a threat beyond the borders of Asia. For 2021, those responsible for the event remained firm in the idea of ​​convening a face-to-face meeting despite the fact that many renowned companies decided not to attend.

It is true that the Spanish government gave the green light for the Barcelona fair to receive international visitors. However, Cancellations of companies such as Samsung, Nokia, Google, Amazon, Qualcomm, TCL, LG, Lenovo, Ericsson and Xiaomi, among others, anticipated what we are now experiencing: a meeting that once knew how to be gigantic and that now has many empty corners.

It is estimated that this year the meeting will receive approximately 30% of attendees relative to a normal year.

MWC and the hope of presence

The Spanish site Engadget shares a forceful scene: they say that something strange happens if at the Mobile World Congress the big news is a T-shirt with 5G connectivity (presented by the ZTE firm) or a coffee maker with gaze tracking. An edible steak created with a 3D printer has also been seen.

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Unlike what happened in previous editions, there are no major presentations at this Mobile World Congress, which began a couple of days ago and It will run until Thursday, July 1.

In addition to the absence of the big brands and the scarce (and almost null) presentation of new equipment, the number of attendees is even below estimates. We knew that the 2021 edition would have a reduced capacity due to security measures, but the impact was greater than expected. In 2019 (the last time the meeting in Barcelona was held in a traditional way) 109,000 attendees were registered, the record for the MWC. This year, the GSMA that organizes the meeting expected to receive 35,000 attendees, a mark that will be difficult to reach based on what has been seen in the first days.

The number of exhibitors also plummeted: from the 2,400 in 2019 it was lowered to 300. Thus, instead of eight spaces this year there are only two pavilions for the event. Another fact: presentation conferences have not yet been held, in addition to the talks given by some CEOs and specialists in the field invited by the GSMA.

Following the mentioned source, the impact is even bigger due to the absence of international media. In that sense, they say, the sound of crickets can be heard in the press room and other corners of the venue in Barcelona.

In any case, the organization’s effort to keep the meeting going and strictly respect the safety and hygiene measures is noteworthy. For the rest, it is possible that this edition of the MWC is a real opportunity to startups and other small companies to show the novelties in which they work and that, in other years with the presence of the largest companies, would surely be overshadowed.

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