Lenovo, Sony will skip in-person MWC 2022 while other Android brands commit to stay

Mwc 2022 Covid Safety Photo
Mwc 2022 Covid Safety Photo (Image credit: GSMA / MWC Barcelona)

Update, Jan 26 (8:30 p.m. ET): Corrected claim that Lenovo owns TCL; it in fact owns Motorola. We regret the error.

What you need to know

  • Lenovo has announced it will no longer have an in-person booth at Mobile World Congress 2022.
  • Lenovo will have a virtual booth, whereas Sony has said it will skip MWC 2022 entirely.
  • Techradar received confirmation that Huawei, OPPO, and Xiaomi still intend to have in-person booths in Barcelona next month.
  • Other OEMs like Samsung, HMD Global/Nokia, and ASUS are slated to attend as well.

Many popular tech brands abandoned in-person CES 2022 at the last minute due to the Omicron surge, including Google, Meta, and Twitter. Now, with not much changed from a pandemic perspective, and MWC 2022 set to arrive in about a month, mobile brands have to decide whether or not to go virtual — or skip the event entirely.

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On Tuesday, Lenovo announced it would be "fully virtual" for the event due to "the ongoing trends surrounding COVID." Since Lenovo owns the Motorola brand, we're very curious what phones the company may announce at the event, even if they do so virtually.

Sony also informed Techradar that it "will not be holding its own booth at MWC 2022," virtual or otherwise. The brand hasn't attended MWC since 2019, so this won't prove much of a surprise.

Techradar did receive confirmations from Huawei, OPPO, and Xiaomi that the three brands will attend the event in person.

Huawei has six stands at the event, making it likely the brand has big plans there to showcase its P50 Pocket and other unannounced phones. OPPO's one stand could show off the OnePlus 10 Pro — still unreleased outside of China — or the recently leaked OnePlus Nord 2T. Xiaomi will also have just one stand for its announcements.

In terms of brands that haven't yet made their plans clear, Samsung has a whopping eight stands reserved at MWC 2022. It did stick to in-person CES, but may have at least considered cancelling, with it "closely monitoring the current health situation" beforehand. It's unclear if anything has changed for MWC.

If Samsung does stick to in-person, it'll likely showcase the newly released Galaxy S22 and Tab S8 set to ship in late February. But it could also show off its new Galaxy A lineup for the year, like the leaked Galaxy A53 5G. Or, we could see more of the company's foldable prototypes.

Qualcomm (one stand), Nokia (five stands), and Honor (two stands) also appear to have in-person plans for now. And other brands like ASUS and Realme are expected to make an appearance. We're excited to see if any of the future best Android phones will get an MWC reveal, whether it's virtual or in-person.

After a messy half-virtual CES exposed the problems with tech events today, we have to wonder what'll happen with MWC and whether other companies will follow Lenovo's lead.

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.