It’s under a week now until the world’s biggest mobile-makers pull the wrappers off of their new wares at Mobile World Congress (MWC) and try to convince a smartphone- saturated public that it’s time to part with their cash and buy new kit.
MWC has become the tech industry’s most important annual event, more so than the increasingly irrelevant Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Mobile dominates everything these days and what happens in Barcelona can define a company’s fortunes for the next 12 months.
But more so than in recent years, this time around the stakes are high for every major attendee.
Samsung needs its new Galaxy S6 to be the absolute scene-stealer it promises to be.
The Korean company has had a dire year and it needs to bring something to Barcelona to set the hype machine going and to show consumers it can rival Apple once again.
Sony is another company desperate for a big week.
Its CEO, Kazuo Hirai, has hinted the Japanese firm may ditch mobile altogether, sales having been so poor in recent years.
Despite amazing hardware and top-notch gaming tie-ins, Xperia devices haven’t cut it with the phone-buying public.
The new Xperia Z4 flagship could be its last throw of the dice.
HTC has had critical success, but its new M9 will need to be a commercial smash too.
Throw in LG looking to ram home its growing advantage with a range of already revealed, slick–looking mid–rangers and you have all the makings of a massive battle between the biggest companies out there.
Looming over all of this, of course, is the spectre of Apple.
It’s not attending MWC, it never does, but questions are bound to be asked about what threat the iPhone poses to Android-makers after those record-breaking sales.
Put simply, is there any way Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony can rival Apple, or even best them? You’d have to say no at this point.
Either way, next week should be full of intrigue for mobile-watchers and tech geeks. One slip-up from a big company could spell the end.
If Samsung fails with the S6, will it ever get back off its knees? If the HTC M9 is as good as it sounds, will it be able to sell well?
And can Sony pull itself back from the brink?
All will be revealed when the first press conferences start this Sunday, March 1st. Expect bigger stories and hopefully a bit of gossip too.