Everything That Caught Our Attention at MWC 2023

Everything That Caught Our Attention at MWC 2023
Contributor: Asha Barbaschow, Zachariah Kelly and Florence Ion

Just like CES 2o23 another tech trade show has come and gone. A lot went down last week during Mobile World Congress, or MWC as it’s now known, and its 2023 edition brought with it some great stuff.

There was no shortage of weird and exciting stuff at MWC in Barcelona, Spain, from Motorola’s rolling smartphone display to OnePlus’s pulsating liquid cooling technology.

The Android smartphone makers were in full of force at the international trade show. We learned of more folding devices coming to market and gawked at concepts that will likely never see the light of day. We also caught a glimpse at the current trends unfolding in the smartphone world, like better repairability and fast battery charging. Qualcomm also announced it’s bringing its iSIM technology to its flagship chips, and a rugged smartphone maker is producing a device that adds satellite connectivity to any phone.

Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting news from MWC 2023, in order of when we saw them.

MWC 2023 announcements

Here are the things that’ve caught our attention so far.


Nokia announced the G22, a new smartphone coming to the Aussie market, complete with an iFixit partnership. While not part of MWC 2023, what is part of MWC 2023 is the network giant’s unveiling of a new logo.


The phone technically launched three months ago in China, but in line with MWC 2023 Oppo announced that its new Find N2 Flip foldable is coming to Australia.

Oppo also used MWC 2023 to reveal its Oppo Air Glass 2.


While just a concept, the Moto Rizr Rollable smartphone has already made an appearance at MWC 2023. Per reports, the phone is inspired by the original Motorola Rizr Z3 launched back in 2006.

Unfortunately, the back of the smartphone looks a little like a millennial-era PDA device. The display has to roll back somewhere, so this device has more junk-in-the-trunk than the foldables we have now. It’s also a wonder why Motorola is showing off its next steps when it could do so much more for its Razr foldable that’s already on the market (the good news is that there’s another one coming).


Announcing its latest PC and Chromebook additions, Lenovo used MWC 2023 to showcase the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 second generation Windows 11 laptops, a redesigned fourth-generation ThinkPad X13 and X13 Yoga with narrower bezels, new colours, materials and features, a fourth-generation ThinkPad T14s, T14 and second-generation T16 workhorse laptops along with the fourth-generation ThinkPad L13, L13 Yoga, L14 and L15.

But Lenovo also showed off its rollable laptop at MWC.


The Android operating system owner of course had a few things to announce at MWC 2023. Of the greatest note is nine new features that are coming to Android and Wear OS. Features coming soon include a note-keeping widget for your home screen (and watch face), Google Meet noise cancellation on Android, more emoji mashups, Chrome content size increases by up to 300 per cent and new sound/display modes for WatchOS with grayscale and mono audio support.


Qualcomm usually uses the MWC event to make a bunch of announcements, and this year was no different. Amid announcements to accelerate 5G automation, a collaboration with Dell to accelerate Open RAN design and deployments, and the next steps for its Snapdragon 5G platform for cars, the biggest announcement involved partnerships with Android phone makers to bring satellite comms to more smartphones. Honor, Motorola, Nothing, OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi are all working with Qualcomm to leverage Snapdragon Satellite, and enable two-way messaging for emergency use, SMS texting, and other messaging applications using the tech.


Qualcomm also announced plans to integrate iSIM into the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform. The “i” stands for “integrated,” and it works like eSIM. The only difference is that the iSIM is built directly into the mobile processor instead of as a separate chip. Qualcomm didn’t announce which smartphones would be getting the functionality.


Huawei showed off its new smartwatch at MWC 2023, the Watch GT Cyber, with a focus on user-swappable parts. While most smartwatches on the market will let you change the band and the watch face, the GT Cyber is all about customisation, allowing the user to pull the actual watch module out of the frame and change more parts more freely. Huawei has previously released smartwatches in Australia, so we’ve reached out to Huawei to ask if this watch is coming to the local market.


Returning to Australia for a minute and the company responsible for rolling out the NBN, alongside Ericsson, announced at MWC 2023 the deployment of Ericsson’s extended-range software that NBN hopes will improve broadband coverage, speed and reliability for regional Australia. The long-range software supports a transmission range for 5G mmWave technology of up to 6.9km using advanced beamforming techniques and machine learning to allow for an increased use of the radio frequency spectrum to boost capacity and reduce congestion.


Xiaomi has launched a pair of augmented reality glasses with more advanced technology than any existing AR glasses currently on market. Per XDA Developers, we learn the Xiaomi Wireless AR Smart Glass Explorer Edition feature a pair of Micro-OLED screens that boast full HD visuals at 1,200 nits of brightness. The report explains that there are three forward-facing cameras on the front of the glasses that are used to map the environment in front of the wearer.

Take a look at this super fast charging, too.


The new Honor Magic 5 range was showed off at MWC 2023.

But the company also set a world record (???).


Do you know that scene in Batman & Robin when Mr. Freeze gets so icy his veins pulse in a different colour? That’s what OnePlus’s Active CryoFlux reminded me of when I saw the press release for it. As for the name, it sounds like something you’d get done at a med spa to sculpt your body.

OnePlus is positioning Active CryoFlux as a liquid cooling system for the OnePlus 11 and beyond. It’s entirely a concept at this stage. While it would be nice to see something akin to this come to mobile devices, it’s hard to imagine that, in its current implementation, it aids in helping performance. OnePlus also took to the show to confirm that it would launch a foldable in the second half of this year. The company quietly previewed it at its OnePlus 11 launch event last month, but it made the timeline official in a panel on the MWC show floor. We’ve been expecting it since patents circulated for the OnePlus V Flip and OnePlus V Fold.

Image: OnePlus
Image: OnePlus


Nothing didn’t have an official booth at this year’s show, but it did announce that it would be using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in its next flagship release. The last-gen Nothing Phone (1) was on a mid-range Snapdragon 778G+ processor, which helped keep the price down. It’ll be interesting to see if Nothing can maintain a similar price point once it upgrades its chips.


After wowing us with its AR Smart Glasses at CES, TCL has continued its 2023 announcements with a focus on its tablets and phones at MWC. The company touted the expansion of its tablet portfolio with the new TCL NXTPAPER 11, TCL TAB 11 and upgraded TCL NXTPAPER technology. Highlights of the new tech include a brighter display and 2K visuals. TCL also added new ‘40’ range handsets to the market, but they’re only for U.S. customers. We reviewed the TCL 30 5G last month, if you’re interested in what we do have available in Australia.

Embedded phones

Martin Cooper, the “father of the mobile phone,” was seen walking around at MWC. Cooper believes the next generation of smart devices will be embedded directly into the skin under the ears. “Your body is the perfect charger,” Cooper told CNBC in an interview. We can thank Cooper for his contributions to developing the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X mobile phone, which changed the trajectory of the industry back in the ‘80s. But I believe that we have to figure out this foldables thing before we start imagining chips in our ears.

Image: AP News, AP
Image: AP News, AP

This article has been updated since it was originally published.