Update: MWC 2020 is canceled
The Mobile World Congress will not run this year due to coronavirus fears. As companies like Apple, Nokia and Sony had already canceled or scaled down their appearances, the event was already on its last legs before GSMA's announcement.
Original article follows below:
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the largest tech trade shows of the year. Typically, the Android flagships that drive discussion for the first half of the year are announced at or around that time. We learn about the mobile trends to expect for the upcoming year like 5G, foldables, multi-camera support, etc. This year, it's not going to be that smooth.
Due to the global coronoravirus outbreak and health-related fears, tech firms are pulling out here, there, and everywhere.
Here's a list of all the tech firms to have said adios to Barcelona so far.
- HMD Global
While not typically a large presence at the Mobile World Congress, Apple does have a small showing of sorts. It's not overly important to the firm, so pulling out seems likely, and reports are already indicating that to be the case.
Amazon earlier this week decided to pull out from the Mobile World Congress.
As per an Amazon spokesperson (via TechCrunch):
Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain."
The US carrier AT&T will be opting out of the Mobile World Congress this year. ike other parties, this is driven by coronavirus concerns.
After careful discussions and planning, we have decided that we will not participate in GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2020. We value our participation in important industry groups like GSMA and deeply respect the steps they have already taken to protect attendees. Unfortunately, the most responsible decision is to withdraw our participation from the event t safeguard our employees and customers.
Ericsson will not be attending the Mobile World Congress this year. Due to health and security reasons, it'll not be attending the conference. The telecoms firm, while not a phone maker, is very important in the 5G space and would have done some of that year agenda-setting we mentioned above. As one of the MWC's biggest presences year after year, its absence will be felt.
Börje Ekholm, President, and CEO, Ericsson, said in a statement:
The health and safety of our employees, customers, and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year's event
Facebook will also be absent from the Mobile World Congress this year. While Facebook prefers to keep its largest announcements isolated to its F8 developer conference, employees often attended MWC to hold small meetings and announcements.
As per CNET, that's out this year.
Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees won't be attending this year's Mobile World Congress due to the evolving public health risks related to coronavirus. We will continue to collaborate with the GSMA and our partners and thank them for their efforts."
HMD Global has decided that it would be better to opt-out of MWC 2020 this year due to health concerns. The firm had planned to announce new phones at the fair, but will now be launching them at another time.
Intel will be skipping this year's MWC due to health and safety concerns.
The firm gave the following statement:
The safety and wellbeing of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year's Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution. We are grateful to the GSMA for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future Mobile World Congress events.
LG confirmed last week that it would be skipping the Mobile World Congress this year due to health and safety reasons. The firm will instead hold its own separate launch events for upcoming products.
With the safety of its employees and the general public foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain. This decision will prevent needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which most health experts have advised.
Mediatek will also be pulling out of the MWC, as per The Register. The firm will find another (yet to be announced) event to showcase its wares.
Nokia has decided to cancel its participation at Mobile World Congress this year to safeguard the health and well-being of employees. The company will instead be holding "Nokia Live" events to introduce new products that it had planned to launch at MWC 2020.
NVIDIA has opted out of sending its employees to Barcelona due to coronavirus concerns. It would have made announcements revolving around its work on 5G and AI, but has now chosen not to.
The makers one of the first foldable phones, the Royale Flexpai will no longer be making an appearance at the Mobile World Congress. The sequel to the Flexpai will be announced at a later date.
Sony was expected to announce a new flagship, among other products, at a press conference this year's MWC. It will no longer be doing so, opting instead for a YouTube video on the 24th of February.
Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020.
As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.
TCL has also pulled out of its Mobile World Congress press conference this year due to health and safety fears. It won't be abandoning the conference wholesale but will retain its booth and stand at the Fira Gran Via.
Vivo will pull out of the Mobile World Congress as well. It had planned to launch its new concept phone at the event but opted not to due to fears of the virus. It will instead debut the APEX 2020 concept phone at its own independent event at a later time. Vivo provided the following statement to Android Central:
Vivo has been closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) outbreak and continuously evaluating planned activities. The health and safety of our employees and the public are our top priority. Based on the present situation, we have decided to withdraw from our debut at MWC 2020 and other related events later this month in Barcelona, Spain.
We will introduce the APEX 2020 concept phone which we had originally planned to showcase at MWC soon. We will share more updates in due course.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank our partners, media friends, and consumers for their understanding.
ZTE confirmed to Android Central that it would not be attending the Mobile World Congress in this event, citing safety concerns as the overriding reason for non-attendance.
Will the show go on?
As far as we know, MWC 2020 is still scheduled to run as planned —absent the missing companies. But news is traveling around that GSMA may simply cut its losses and cancel the MWC in its entirety. It has yet to decide so, but it'll make its decision by Friday.
While most of the MWC attendees are still coming, notice has been taken of the framing by the non-attendees. The firms which are not going have stated so for health and safety reasons. Perhaps GSMA will err on the side of safety and cancel the event wholesale.
On the other hand, the MWC is a really expensive business to run. It's also one that demands costs from not just the companies involved, but also brings in income and revenue to the local businesses in Barcelona. Whatever decision GSMA makes by the end of the week, it won't be an easy one.
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