After some missteps and false starts, last year's G6 was proof that LG's smartphones are far from irrelevant. Too bad we're not getting at G7 at MWC this year. LG seems to enjoy spoiling its own surprises, so it confirmed we'd see an updated version of last year's V30 that'll probably be called the V30S. From what we've heard, it's mostly the same V30 we reviewed last year, just fleshed out with new AI features to make the cameras a little more capable. (Personally, I hope LG also used better screens for this updated model.)
LG's Vision AI is supposed to help the V30 and future devices scan QR codes, perform image searches and provide shopping links for things the camera sees. If this sounds familiar, well, it should -- this sound conceptually familiar to the Bixby Vision feature Samsung baked into its S8s and Note 8s. Given the V30's impressive photographic chops, it's no surprise the Vision AI should help when taking photos. Vision AI was also trained on over 100 million images to help it better understand what it sees, and as a result, the camera can switch to a shooting mode appropriate for what's in front of it.
This updated V30 will also get a slew of new voice commands for Google Assistant, marking the first time a smartphone maker has cooked up custom Assistant commands. Not only will the new V30 know to fire up food mode when you're snapping photos of your lunch -- you'll be able to ask it to snap the photo, too. Here's hoping we get some clarity on LG's upcoming flagship phone (code-named Julie) as well, but that probably won't happen for at least a few more months.
Sony has managed to avoid major MWC leaks so far, but it recently teased fans with a short video that suggests at least one curvy new Sony phone is coming to Spain. That seems like a clear sign that Sony is moving away from its long-running OmniBalance design language, and frankly, good riddance. Sony phones have mostly looked like the same ol' slabs for years, and enough is enough.
Unfortunately, we don't have much detail on what this curvaceous new phone has going for it. Rumors of a so-called XZ Pro have been making the rounds for a while, though. If true, it'll be a new flagship-class device with a 5.7-inch, 4K OLED display and one of Qualcomm's fresh-off-the-line Snapdragon 845s. It might also be the first Sony phone on the market with a dual camera, and if that's the case, we're looking forward to seeing how Sony's implementation differs from all the others. We might also get to see an updated version of the company's Xperia Ear, if only because Sony has a solid track record of turning its wacky concepts into real products.
It's been a long strange ride for BlackBerry fans, but 2018 should be a good year for the brand's diehard fans. Back at CES, execs told us to expect at least two smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards this year, and with any luck, we'll get our first look at the show. If rumors hold true, one of those devices might be a spiritual, sliding successor to 2015's BlackBerry Priv with a curved screen, and we'd expect the other to be some sort of BlackBerry KeyONE follow-up. Other details are scarce at the moment, but we have seen some new codenames being thrown around lately -- BlackBerry Uni sounds pretty... awful, but we wouldn't mind spending some time with a BlackBerry Athena or Luna.
Don't forget about TCL's other smartphone brand, either. The company showed us a few of its redesigned phones at CES, but they were far from finished at the time -- we expect these new 1, 3 and 5 series phones to be ready to launch very soon. They're meant to be inexpensive machines, so there hasn't been too much hype surrounding them, but they're proof that you'll be able to get phones with 18:9 screens without making your wallet groan.
Lenovo & Motorola
We go to MWC expecting to spend all our time with smartphones, but Lenovo always seems to have some Windows machines to show off; you'd do well to expect a notebook announcement before the week is over. The big question is whether Lenovo will show off new, always-connected PCs -- you know, the ones powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets -- or just the usual Intel-powered fare. We're tentatively leaning towards "no" since the Miix 630 is still so new, but hey -- we can hope right?
Meanwhile, Lenovo's Motorola brand has been awfully quiet in the run-up to the show. That just might be because it had to deal with the mother of all leaks earlier this year. You can expect big updates for its G, X, and Z-series devices this year -- we're just not sure about when, or if they'll all be announced at MWC. Last year, Moto showed off new Moto Gs, so news of some follow-ups seems like a safe bet. But what's actually new?
Well, the Moto G series is expected to get dual cameras across the board and a glossy redesign to make it look more like the existing Moto X4. The updated X series, meanwhile, should pack a 5.9-inch, 18:9 screen with an iPhone X-style notch that hides a pair of front-facing cameras. And the Z series? Well, it should still play nice with existing Moto Mods, but leaked images suggest the new Z phones will have 6-inch, curved displays. Here's hoping we hear about some new Moto Mods, especially that long-rumored 5G radio Mod. With 5G network trials slated for later this year, we'll need news sooner than later.