Just when you've finished your laundry from CES and put away your suitcase, the technology trade show calendar beckons again. But instead of Las Vegas, this time the destination is Barcelona and the show is Mobile World Congress.
Running from February 22 to 25, Mobile World Congress is the year's largest event for the wireless industry. And don't let the word "Congress" put you to sleep -- MWC is exciting for two big reasons: we see a lot of new gadgets (check out the gallery below for just a sample of what debuted last year at MWC) and most of them actually go on sale. Phones take center stage, but we also expect new wearables and smartwatches, tablets, laptops, VR headsets and anything else that doesn't need a wire.
Appearing in the spotlight will be the next flagship devices from Samsung and LG, the Galaxy S7 and G5, respectively. But that's not all, as companies like Sony, Huawei and Lenovo also will step up to the tapas bar with new toys. It can be a lot to follow, but CNET is here to be your guide. Our team of editors from six countries will give you the full scoop from the show in words, photos (we'll be hands-on everywhere) and video.
Sunday, February 21
Just like CES, the biggest day of MWC is actually before the show floor officially opens. LG kicks off the day with a press conference at a former 1992 Olympics venue on Montjuic, the hilltop park that's one of Barcelona's prime tourist attractions. On the agenda is the unveiling of the LG G5 (hit the link for the latest rumors on the phone) and a lot more. LG had a curious habit this week of trickling out the details of three other new phones, the LG Stylus 2, X Cam and X Screen, not to mention a Tone Platinum Bluetooth headset. It also announced a Quick Cover case for the G5. Yeah, revealing a case before the phone is a bit weird.
A few hours later Samsung is set to debut the Galaxy S7. Jessica Dolcourt, who knows the Galaxy series like no one else, has compiled a list of everything we expect about the phone, from a retina scanner to the return of the MicroSD card slot. That won't be it, though, as Samsung always rolls out the big guns for its Unpacked events. What else will we see? Maybe an S7 Edge as some gossip has suggested? You'll have to wait for our Samsung live blog to know for sure.
Watch CNET's live blog of Samsung Unpacked
7:00 p.m. in Barcelona (calculate to your time zone)
Sunday also brings events from Huawei and ZTE. Clues are few for both companies, though we're betting on a new Ascend handset and maybe a smartwatch from Huawei and a handful of midrange Android phones from ZTE. Also in the afternoon are two separate press events, MobileFocus Global and Showstoppers, that tend to attract smaller companies and startups that may not even go to Mobile World Congress itself. One big phone company that hasn't scheduled an event is HTC. It's odd, yes, but stay tuned. HTC just might surprise us.
Monday, February 22
We'll start off bright and early (8:30 a.m. Barcelona time) with a press conference from Sony. We don't have a lot of advance intel here either, but if I were I'd betting man I'd wager my weight in jamón that a new Xperia device will make an appearance. Later in the day, Epson will show a new wearable device, Intel execs will talk about 5G developments, and Lenovo will join Google to host an event. As for that last one, Project Tango anyone? Monday also is packed with keynotes from tech execs like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega and Huawei CEO Guo Ping. We'll be at each to tell what they have to say.
The rest of the week
After Monday, the schedule of press conference slows, which us gives us time to prowl the massive convention hall to catch those quirkier products that are harder to find but still worth a look. Last year, for example, we caught a round smartphone, a smart suitcase, a 200GB microSD card, and smart glasses that fool facial recognition systems. We can't wait to see what crazy stuff we'll find this year. We'll also scout the show floor to go hands-on with two new phones announced this week: The Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu and the Microsoft Lumia 650.
Two other companies we're watching are Oppo, which has a press conference on Tuesday, and Xiaomi, which hosts an event on Wednesday. Oppo, a Chinese manufacturer that's making a big push into Western markets, should expand its Android handset line while Xiaomi has already spilled that it will show us its new Mi 5 phone with a 16-megapixel camera and a zippy processor.
Sit back and enjoy the ride
CNET's team hits the ground in Barcelona this coming Saturday, February 20. Once there, we'll dive right into covering all the best MWC has to offer. Hang with us all week and you won't be disappointed.