MWC 2019: 3 Absolutely Bonkers Smartphones Launching at the Tech Bonanza

Wait, is that a camera on a smartwatch?

Every year, a handful of emerging trends dominate the Mobile World Congress, which will kick off in earnest starting Feb. 25. For MWC 2019, foldable phone designs and ultra-fast 5G wireless connectivity are expected to take up most of the limelight. But along with the headline themes, Barcelona’s biggest tech show is also known for bringing forth some pretty outlandish smartphone concepts.

Without fail, tech firms from across the globe have used the three-day conference to show that they’re already pushing boundaries. Last year, the Vivo Apex stole the show with its retractable selfie camera that can be hidden inside the handset’s body. But this year three companies are anticipated to take the wraps off of inventions that will leave attendees wide-eyed or scratching their head.

Everything from the highest-quality camera that’s ever been placed in a smartphone to a Frankenstein device that you’ll need to see to believe are expected to take the stage. With only a few days left until the MWC 2019 kicks off on February 25, it’s already looking like a trade show straight out of Star Trek.

nubia alpha concept
It looks as if an iPhone had a baby with a Fitbit

MWC 2019: Nubia’s Foldable…Wearable Smartphone? 🤔

Already, Huawei has announced that it’s going to unveil a 5G-enabled foldable phone, which checks all of the trend boxes for the year. But fellow Chinese smartphone maker Nubia Technology has teased that it’ll finally unveil its wearable smartphone, which is expected to come complete with its own camera and be called the Nubia Alpha.

Company CEO Ni Fei confirmed to Chinese tech blog Fast Technology that the flexible-screen touting smartwatch-phone hybrid will launch during MWC 2019. The device was first teased last fall at the IFA Electronic Fair in Berlin, and if it’s anything like its renders, it’ll be as if an iPhone had a baby with a FitBit.

nubia alpha smartwatch phone concept mwc 2019
Users will be able to make calls and take selfies from their wrist.

The face of the Alpha will consist of a long and slender touch screen in the style of many smartphone watches, but it’ll be flanked by camera lens and what seem to be two lock buttons. Nubia’s concept video for the device shows off its ability to run the fitness, music, and communication apps you’d expect to run any smartphone. On the back of its face, there appears to be heart-rate sensors to detect user biometric data.

The hype video is all there is to go off of for now. But thanks to the advances in screen technology that will enable many of the foldable phones this year, we could finally get a more comprehensive look at this amalgamation of mobile concepts.

MWC 2019: Nokia 9 Five Rear Cameras

If you thought Samsung was wilding out by putting four cameras on the back of its Galaxy A9 smartphone maker Nokia would like you to know you ain’t seen anything yet. Nokia is expected to put five circularly-arranged lenses on the back of its upcoming smartphone to create a device that looks like it was spawned from a Lovecraftian science fiction series.

The device has long been leaked by famed mobile insider Evan Blass and tech blog Nokia Power User even got its hands on an alleged tech spec sheet. Now, we could finally see it in the flesh. Nokia’s Chief Product office Juho Sarvikas even teased that the company has something special up its sleeve on Twitter.

nokia 9 five cameras
Nokia's expected, bug-eyed smartphone.

All-in-all, the device seems to be run-of-the-mill, with an expected 6-inch display, 4 GB of ram, and 128 GB of starting storage space. But it’s the penta-camera arrangement could let users take some notably high quality images.

Nokia Power Users cited Chinese sources who said that when working together, the lenses could produce 64 megapixel resolution images. That’s about as high as the recently released Leica S3 DSLR camera.

MWC 2019: Sony Xperia’s Insane Quality Camera

The Nokia 9 has the potential to change smartphone photography, but the upcoming Sony Xperia model has been rumored to pack the single-most high-quality camera lens ever put in a smartphone.

Sony insane camera smartphone
Big if true.

Gizmochina reposted an alleged camera spec image from Chinese blog Sumahoinfo that reveal the phone’s main sensor could be 52MP. For comparison, Google’s Pixel 3 models have a single 12.2MP rear camera that has been touted as “the best smartphone camera.” If the rumors are true, the Xperia’s camera will be more than four times the quality, more than enough to snag and hold the record for highest-quality lens in a smartphone. A single photo on the phone would contain 52 million pixels.

The Honor View 20 and a handful of other Chinese brands are all expected to drop 48MP cameras. But Sony could win MWC with a super camera capable of one-upping them all.

Media via Nubia, OnLeak / 91Mobiles, Sumahoinfo / Gizmochina, Danny Paez