The good, the bad and the ugly: some thoughts on MWC 2017
Here are some thoughts on this year's MWCFor what it’s worth, however, some of the new devices this year were still pretty cool, even if they weren’t as groundbreaking. Then again, some things were less than good, too, and a bunch of stuff even bordered on the awful, but, of course, everything is subjective, and even more so in the smartphone world, where one man’s must-have feature can be another’s dealbreaker. Still, this particular author has opinions™, and isn't afraid of sharing them with you, so buckle up:
Like it or not, LG’s newest flagship certainly has people excited, thanks to the company’s strategy of slowly shining a spotlight on the phone’s features way before its official reveal. This, combined with the weirdly high amount of leaks, made the G6 the definite winner of this year’s MWC before the event even started. The device is definitely a much better contender for the top spot in the flagship race than its predecessor, the G5, as it ditched the modular gimmick and focused on the features users actually need.
While it could be argued that the end result is a much more boring device, when it comes to top-of-the-line smartphones, boring may actually be better, since it’s the only logical product of the one-size-fits-all approach the industry has settled on. And, to be frank, there are a few unique features crammed in there, too: there’s the wide-angle cameras, the curved-corners 18:9 screen, and also the good looks. So with such little competition, the G6’s problems manage to not overshadow its positives, making it a definite winner this year.
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus
While Huawei has little market presence in the US, it’s still an important device manufacturer in Asia and Europe, and has been consistently releasing quality smartphones for years. The newly-revealed P10 and P10 Plus continue that tradition by closely following in their predecessors’ footsteps: in fact, one could criticize the company for making them almost identical to last year’s P9 and P9 Plus. But why fix what wasn’t broken in the first place?
Where the new flagships shine the most is their looks: following Huawei’s recent partnership with Pantone, the P10 and P10 Plus come in a variety of new colors, and feature one of three different finishes. One of them, dubbed “Hyper Diamond-Cut”, promises no fingerprint marks and no scratches, which is a welcome addition for many. The devices also offer top-of-the-line specs, including good front and back Leica-branded shooters, making them more than capable of serving power users’ needs.
Nokia / HMD Global
Nokia 5, Nokia 3, and Nokia 3310, they still managed to surprise with their good-looking designs and pretty okay specs. Even though the lack of a flagship is somewhat disappointing, it’s also completely understandable, and what we’re getting until that’s ready is pretty good, too. The showstopper here was, ironically, a cheap feature phone rather than one of the more powerful devices, but the attention to detail HMD Global has shown so far certainly has me excited for the future of the Nokia brand.
BlackBerry and Alcatel
Both of TCL's brands disappointed in their own wayHere’s a lesser-known fact: TCL Corporation, the manufacturer that bought the rights to the BlackBerry name, also owns the Alcatel brand. Both of them, however, managed to disappoint in their own unique way. The BlackBerry KeyOne, previously known as the Mercury, is actually a pretty fine device, but the company has once again decided to price it at an exorbitant price which firmly does not fit the specs, no matter the brand they’re attached to. Meanwhile, the Alcatel division has only showed a bunch of low-to-mid rangers with little to no oomph. Then again, the company has always relied more on selling extremely cheap phones than it has on specs, so there's little surprise there.
Samsung's bet on tablets
While the new tablets the company showed off were somewhat impressive, the market for them certainly isn’t, no matter what the company says, and chances of Samsung singlehandedly revitalizing it are pretty slim. Or, in other words: these devices won’t sell nearly well enough to merit being the centerpiece of the biggest press conference at the biggest mobile event of the year. So thank you, Samsung, but that was a miss.
The ZTE Gigabit phone
Sony’s atrocious naming scheme
And how come the sequel to the XZ is called the XZ Premium, but the sequel to the XA is the XA1? And let's not forget that there's also an XA1 Ultra variant, which complements last year’s XA Ultra, and those are just the latest devices. This lack of consistency, combined with the almost identical look of most Xperia phones for the past few years, kills pretty much any hope of meaningful brand identity for Sony, no matter how good the actual devices are.