Following similar announcements from companies including LG, Nvidia, and Ericsson, Sony, TCL, and Amazon have just announced today that they too will pull back on their plans to attend Mobile World Congress 2020.
While the withdrawal of more big name companies is sure to put a damper on the world’s largest smartphone trade show (especially with 5G slated to be a big topic this year), the group in charge of MWC—the GSMA— says the show will go on, though it has implemented a few new rules to help ensure the health and safety of any potential attendees.
Those new regulations include banning anyone from Hubei—the province in China where the coronavirus originated— while also requiring any travelers coming from China to show proof that they have been outside of China for at least 14 days prior to MWC.
The GSMA will also be installing body temperature scanners and will be providing additional on-site medical support and sanitization stations throughout the venue.
While the loss of Amazon is sure to have a noticeable impact, Sony and TCL’s plans to pull back from MWC may not be totally disastrous, as both companies are still planning on announcing new devices at the show. The main change is that Sony and TCL have canceled their on-site press conferences in Barcelona to help reduce the risk of virus transmission to staff or attendees, with Sony opting to livestream its announcement on the Xperia YouTube channel instead.
As someone who is currently scheduled to travel to Barcelona for MWC 2020, it will be interesting to see if any other major companies cancel their plans, or what kind of impact prohibiting a large number of Chinese companies and staff from attending may have.
And of course, we’ll be closely monitoring news about the coronavirus over the next couple weeks during the run-up to MWC. Right now, it seems like there will still be plenty of smartphones to ogle at, but with a bit less fanfare, which is just fine by me.