It’s no secret that the latter half of 2016 didn’t go quite the way Samsung was hoping it would, but the company is looking to hit back later this month.
The electronics giant today confirmed its Mobile World Congress press conference would take place on February 26th, a day before the show itself kicks off in Barcelona, Spain. As always, the conference will be streamed live. What’s different, however, is that this year’s show doesn’t carry the ‘Unpacked’ branding it usually has. There’s likely a good reason for that; we won’t be seeing the anticipated but unannounced Galaxy S8 at the event.
Traditionally MWC is where we’d see the next iteration Samsung’s flagship line of smartphones. The Galaxy S7 was revealed there last year, for example, but last week Samsung confirmed to Reuters that it won’t be showing the S8 at this year’s show. Instead, the next flagship device is expected to be revealed a little later in the year.
Still, Samsung has promised new product reveals for the show, and the teaser image above certainly suggests either a new phone or tablet is coming.
Sadly, it does mean we probably won’t see an update on Gear VR at this year’s show, though perhaps the headset itself could be used during the conference like it was last year.
The eventual reveal of the S8 will be one of Samsung’s most important in recent years given that its last big phone launch ended in disaster. The enlarged Galaxy Note 7, announced in the second half of 2016, was subject to a worldwide recall after units started exploding. Even today flights across the US still issue verbal warnings that the phone is banned on aircraft. It was a particularly big blow on the VR front, too, as Samsung had released a revised version of Gear VR for the kit, which was thankfully backwards compatible with other devices.
With no new major smartphone for the holiday 2016 period, the company will be placing a lot of hopes in the next iteration of its flagship device.
We’re going to be very interested to see what this device means for VR. Notably, Samsung last year committed to making a phone that was compatible with Google’s Daydream mobile VR ecosystem. Could this device support both Gear VR and headsets like Daydream View? It would certainly be an interesting state of affairs, especially for Oculus, which partnered with Samsung to create Gear.