MWC 2022 gave the onsite NextPit team access to a fair number of smartphones, sleepless nights, and exciting trade show appearances. As the last day of the trade show approaches, we want to summarize the impressions that we received over the last few days. Find our highlights and lowlights of the world's largest smartphone and mobile technology trade show, and we will also share what our impressions are concerning an international trade show in the midst of a pandemic.
As I strolled through the halls of the Fira de Barcelona the day before the official trade show day, a familiar feeling flared up within. Even though there was nothing to see yet, my feet wanted to speed up and my brain thought of interesting questions that I could pester PR staff or CEOs with.
But MWC 2022 was different. As the first international trade show I attended after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the event was always fraught with uncertainty. From this emotional chaos of highlights, low points, uncertainties and euphoric shit-egal moments, Camila, Fabi, Antoine and I summarized our trade show impressions for you:
Highlights and lowlights of MWC 2022
The topics of VR, AR and the Metaverse are definitely taking shape, with Qualcomm trying to be very aggressive in pushing these themes into the market. It looks pretty clear to me that there will be an exciting VR solution for the Metaverse in the coming months. Qualcomm seems intent to want to take a similar position regarding this matter as Google did with Android back in the day. They want to become a partner of the Metaverse and create a basis for access. In short, they want to become the ticket to the Metaverse.
With fewer and fewer smartphone launches at MWC, however, the show begins to get less and less exciting when it comes to smartphones. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we also had fewer reveals overall, and the products we saw mostly don't end up in the US anyway. So, MWC does seem to focus more and more on Europe, and that's kind of boring.
In terms of safety and security when living with coronavirus: I guess it's really impossible to feel safe when you have to meet the coronavirus crisis in front of your eyes every day. But at least most people at the show respect the GSMA regulations and I'm not really afraid of catching it. But it's still a sensitive topic.
I echo Camila: Qualcomm has proven that AR, VR and mixed reality are all very closely related. The possibilities here go further than anyone can currently imagine. This confirms my theories about the future of smartphones, which I already expressed in the podcast with Sascha (Palle) and Casi. There I was, still carrying the firm opinion that smartphones will soon be replaced by AR glasses or HUDs. I was contradicted and now I have Qualcomm on my side at least, who also believe that smartphones will soon be replaced by smart glasses.
My low point at the show this year was my oxygen level! You have to wear face masks on at all times, and after a while, it's really hard not to find them uncomfortable or annoying. In addition, my fears about the product presentations were confirmed: There is nothing really exciting!
Regarding Ben's coronavirus question: I was really surprised that we didn't have to test each other every day. Overall, it was somewhat comparable to IFA 2020 - only with disinfection stations handed out at every intersection and corner.
Securing an extra goodie bag at the "Realme GT 2 Pro" launch was definitely my highlight of the entire event! I don't regret it for a second and would do it over and again. That being said, I found it exciting to see Oppo, OnePlus and Realme converge their products more and more. It seems that BBK is getting stronger and stronger, and this year's MWC definitely proved that.
Furthermore, manufacturers seem to be more interested in the topic of sustainability, both in terms of hardware and software. You can feel an exciting jolt regarding added longevity in smartphones and manufacturers will have to bow to this willy-nilly in the coming years.
But the most important topic for me were the treadmills, escalators and elevators that were everywhere in the Fira de Barcelona exhibition halls. Old school running around can simply call it a day. Why aren't these conveniences located everywhere else worldwide?
My highlight of the trade show was not directly related to smartphones. As I had already guessed in my first tour of the trade show, the topics concerning AR/VR were at the top of the MWC list. The fact that I had already planned an appointment with the VR professionals from HTC Vive in advance was therefore very fitting. And here, I was able to enjoy a VR experience that I had never had before. This is because in a secured area, I could play a really cool game!
The VR version of Valorant was really immersive! My fear of heights was well fed when I had to jump over virtual chasms. I was terrified of a virtual monster and the quality was really good with the latest Vive glasses. Motion sickness still remained though, and the AR glass felt heavy on my skull, where there is a high tendency of it slipping.
One low point was, unfortunately, the smartphone launches, or the lack of it as they didn't really exist at MWC 2022. Many companies simply used the show to stream live showcases in a watch party or revealed what was to be seen beforehand anyway. The feeling of being able to report live on something really new did not arise. This is an advantage of the digital age, of course, but I do miss a bit of the journalism stress. What was shown at MWC 2022 was not really sensational. The Honor Magic V is simply a very ordinary foldable device, the Magic 4 Pro a standard flagship, and the OnePlus 10 Pro does not really blow anyone away.
However, I did not feel quite confident at the trade show. I would have liked to see a hygiene concept where you had to test yourself every day. But that's probably hardly feasible given the sheer number of visitors, and it was also really unusual at the beginning. The very first event, Huawei's 5G meeting, was full of international guests. After several months of isolation, that makes you feel a little different. But with the mask on my face, I guess everything went well!
So much for our impressions - it is your turn now! What do you think about the presented products and how interested were you in MWC 2022? Did you follow the show and our coverage? We are curious about your opinion!