Rollable Phones and See-Through Laptops: What You Missed From MWC 2024

Rollable Phones and See-Through Laptops: What You Missed From MWC 2024

If you like vaporware and looking at phones and gadgets you’ll never own, then Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the trade show for you. This week’s annual menagerie revealed new devices like the TCL Nxtpaper 14 and a working model of Motorola’s rolling phone display. Other brands—namely Samsung—used the venue to tease us about a product that likely won’t see the light of day until much later this year. We also caught a glimpse of Lenovo’s new see-through ThinkBook concept laptop.

The industry seems primarily focused on improving what’s already out on the market, but you can see that concepts were king at this year’s trade show. Read on to look at some of the more exciting news from MWC 2024 this week.

Samsung teases more of the Galaxy Ring

Image: Samsung

Samsung used Barcelona’s Mediterranean backdrop to reveal more about its famed Galaxy smart ring. The company teased it last month when it announced the Galaxy 24 series, and now it’s slowly baiting us with what’s next. Unfortunately, there are no photos of these Galaxy Ring try-ons, but Samsung is letting us look at pictures of the device behind a bunch of plexiglass. What a genuinely enthusing time for the world of wearable technology.

TCL debuts a big tablet for under $US400

Image: TCL

TCL’s NxtPaper 3.0 will debut on a massive 14.3-inch tablet with a 2.4K display resolution for less than $US400—bigger than the 10.95-inch Pixel Tablet and the regular-sized Galaxy Tab S9. It touts TCL’s Nxtpaper technology, which can dial down the resolution to feel like a soft E Ink display rather than a blaring LCD. The tablet comes with a 10,000 mAh battery and will be sold later this year. It joins the rest of the Nxtpaper 14 family, including the Nxtpaper 14 Pro.

Smartphones with E Ink-like displays are coming to the U.S.

Image: TCL

TCL’s 50 Series smartphones will arrive in the U.S. for the first time later this year. The lineup includes the TCL 50 XL 5G, TCL 50 XE 5G, and TCL 50 LE, and they purport to cost under $US230 when they arrive stateside. They’ll also include the TCL 50 XL Nxtpaper with a 6.8-inch FullHD Plus display and the XE with a 6.6-inch HD Plus display.

See through the Lenovo ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop

Image: Lenovo

I didn’t think MWC would be the venue for showing off this concept, but I admire Lenovo for making good use of the international tradeshow. This 17.3-inch notebook with a transparent micro-LED display and projected keyboard will likely never see the light of day in a manufacturing plant—but as far as concepts go, Lenovo’s on the right path. My only wish is that the laptop would be thinner and that a physical keyboard would become a part of the package instead.

The laptop maker announced many other laptops coming out later this year, so go check those out if you’re in the market for a new Windows machine.

Techno Pocket Go is a game console strapped to your face

Image: Tecno

Tecno is not a brand immediately offered in the U.S., but the company had plenty on display at MWC. Tecno announced a companion robot dog called Dynamic 1, an enlarged version of Sony’s Aibo, though it looks much more militarized. Techno also announced the Pocket Go, featured in the image here. It’s a pared-down handheld gaming console where the controller interacts with the game against your eyes inside a pair of smart glasses instead of on an exterior screen. There hasn’t been a particularly stellar track record with these sorts of eyes-and-hand type devices—Lenovo already tried it with the Legion Glasses—but what the heck, it sounds like fun.

Xiaomi’s Android phones we’ll never see in the U.S.

Image: Xiaomi

It’s a bummer that Xiaomi doesn’t sell its phones in the U.S. because the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Ultra are getting tons of accolades from the overseas press. The two device offerings are akin to Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series, where the smaller device, the Xiaomi 14, has a 6.36-inch display, while the 14 Ultra scales up to a 6.73-inch screen. The camera hardware on the larger Ultra is also getting special attention for its variable aperture system. Sadly, the two smartphones will not make it into your American hands unless you figure out how to import them.

OnePlus announces the second-gen Watch 2

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I plan to go more in-depth with the OnePlus Watch 2 in my full review. But so far, OnePlus’s new smartwatch, announced in conjunction with MWC, is a honker of a smartwatch running a dual-processor setup.

Meet Oppo’s Air Glass 3

Image: Oppo

Even if you’re not wearing glasses daily, this may be the year you decide to don a pair. Oppo showed off a prototype of the Air Glass 3 smart glasses at MWC, which connect to Oppo smartphones and give you touch access to its machine learning bot.

Intel brings AI to the enterprise

Image: Intel

Intel has big plans for its vPro platform, which it announced at MWC to bring AI capabilities to enterprise-centric laptops, desktops, and more. AI is coming to your workplace. The chip maker expects over 100 new models will debut this year from a wealth of PC manufacturing partners.

Is satellite connectivity coming to Android?

Image: Qualcomm

Each year at MWC, Qualcomm utilizes the global stage to roll out the yearly plan for its mobile chips chips. Qualcomm announced an improved Wi-Fi 7 chip that the company purports uses less power than the last generation and features precision-beacon capabilities to make wireless objects, like your car, aware you’re nearby. Qualcomm also revealed the Snapdragon X80 5G modem, which could finally bring precious satellite connectivity to Android smartphones using the chip!

Motorola Reveals a Bendable Smartphone—Again

Image: Motorola

Lenovo, which owns Motorola, already teased the bendable smartphone at last year’s showcase. At this year’s MWC, folks can finally go “hands-on” with the concept device.

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