Mobile World Congress is always the biggest phone show of the year, but 2018 has been different. Rather than counter Samsung's announcement of the Galaxy S9 -- the phone that's all but certain to dominate sales charts for the first half of the year -- rivals like LG and Huawei are aiming for standalone announcements later in the year.
That said, Nokia came out swinging, and Samsung's splashy unveiling of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are worth revisiting. Here's everything you missed if you weren't paying attention to the preshow press conferences in Barcelona this past weekend.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus
Weeks of leaks had spoiled the surprises, but the Galaxy S9 and larger S9 Plus look to be formidable -- if familiar -- top-of-the-line Android phones, sporting new variable aperture cameras, bleeding-edge Snapdragon 845 processors and fingerprint readers that won't have you smudging the camera lens. Best of all, they're only a few days away.
- Galaxy S9 takes on iPhone X with a supercharged camera
- Complete coverage:
Nokia: 'Matrix' phone reboot, and a new flagship
Last year's reboot of the Nokia 3310 phone was the toast of Barcelona. This year, HMD Global -- the current licensee of the Nokia brand -- went back to the retro well with a new version of Nokia 8110, the slider phone that everyone remembers from "The Matrix." (That Keanu classic will be -- brace yourselves -- 20 years old next year.) But the company also debuted a wide range of promising Android phones across a full pricing spectrum, from the slick at the top end to the ultrabudget Nokia 1, which runs the stripped-down Android Go operating system.
Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact
Like, Sony's phone business has seen better days. But the brand is still chugging along, and it's unveiled two new Android models in Barcelona. Like Samsung's new models, the 2018 Xperias put the focus on their updated camera technology.
LG enhances the V30 with 'AI'
Samsung's crosstown rival is punting. Rather than go head-to-head with the Galaxy phones, LG is expected to debut its topline phone -- presumably the G7 -- later in 2018. For now, though, it's offering a version of 2017's V30 that's been enhanced with some fancy artificial intelligence features, as well as more storage and RAM.
ZTE's Tempo Go is an $80 Android Go phone
Yes, FBI Director Chris Wray hasfrom China's ZTE and Huawei. But that isn't stopping the companies from unveiling new products and selling them unlocked in the US. ZTE is remaining focused on the budget market, unveiling an upcoming phone running the stripped-down Android Go operating system that will sell for a mere $80. Its Blade V9 and V9 Vita models, meanwhile, are more upscale but still affordable.
Vivo Apex: A concept phone full of surprises
Vivo wowed everyone at January's CES with the first phone to sport an. Here in Barcelona, the company is back with a new concept phone called the Apex. This one has a larger in-screen fingerprint reader -- you can authenticate with two fingers -- as well as a nearly bezel-less design and a pop-up selfie camera.
A handful of laptops and tablets
Unlike ZTE and Vivo, fellow China-based manufacturers Huawei and Lenovo (the latter owns the Motorola phone brand) stayed away from handsets altogether, opting instead to show off refreshed tablets and laptops instead. Presumably, we'll see standalone phone announcements from both later this year.
Still to come from Barcelona
We're not gonna lie: Even as the show floor is opening this year, it feels like Mobile World Congress is already winding down. Still, Asus has a press conference on Tuesday, at which the company is rumored to be unveiling a handset with a very familiar notched front design. And we expect plenty more news on 5G wireless technology, among other things.
CNET will be in Spain all week digging for more stories, so stay tuned.
: Hands-on with Samsung's iPhone X fighters.
: All of CNET's coverage from the biggest phone show of the year.
Mobile World Congress 2018
reading•Galaxy S9, retro Matrix phone and more: MWC 2018 so far
Apr 11•21 hidden Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus features
Mar 29•CNET UK podcast 537: Huawei goes colourful and Andy secures his home
Mar 25•Web Foundation CEO: Getting the whole world online is our goal
Mar 15•Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus vs. iPhone X, Pixel 2 XL