All the Top New Gadgets at MWC 2024

Mobile World Congress—or just MWC—isn’t one of our favorite shows just because it’s situated in the beautiful city of Barcelona during a seasonally appropriate time of year. (Cheap cava and tapas don’t have it anything to do with it either.) No, this show is a favorite because it’s one of the easiest to navigate, and there’s always plenty of interesting, fun, or just plain crazy tech to scavenge through.

This year, such bounties include transparent laptops, bendable phones, a Barbie flip phone, and more. Here are the highlights.

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HMD Rebrands (Sort of) and Teases a Barbie Phone

People watching a phone reveal for HMD phones

Mattel mobile: HMD is working with the toy brand to launch a Barbie flip phone (behold the pink pixelation).

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

HMD was supposed to be the rebirth of Nokia phones back when it made a splash at MWC 2017, but it wasn’t long before the company lost steam and it was clear that the Nokia brand name wouldn’t really compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple anymore. HMD instead puts its focus on budget Android phones over the past few years and its feature phone business. At MWC, it announced that 2023 was the company’s first profitable year, and now it’s trying to change things up with a rebrand. First is the name—it’s leaning more on “Human Mobile Devices” (the full version of its acronym) instead of HMD. This year’s lineup of devices will include an HMD phone, an iconic Nokia phone, plus a Barbie flip phone.

Yep, you heard that right. HMD is collaborating with Mattel to launch a Barbie feature flip phone. It’ll be coming this summer, will obviously be pink, and is being touted as a digital detox device. That’s all we know. The only pictures of all the teased phones were pixelated.

What we do know about HMD’s other phone is that it will revolve around a system called HMD Fusion. Similar to Motorola’s Moto Mods or Google’s long-lost Project Ara, it sounds like a system of modular components that developers can build for the smartphone, from an extended battery and a barcode scanner to a payment terminal to medical equipment. It released a toolkit that developers can use to get started.

HMD also has a big focus on repairability—it expects half of its devices launched globally this year to be repairable. But this summer, it says it will have a system that dramatically reduces the number of steps it takes to fix a cracked screen.

Motorola Bends a Phone, and Debuts Smart Connect

Motorola Adaptive Display phone

Bendy blower: Motorola bendable phone concept could have a number of viewing options.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Late last year at Lenovo’s Tech World event, Motorola unveiled a bendable concept phone called the Adaptive Display. I got a chance to play around with it at MWC. It looks and feels like its Razr folding phones, except instead of having a hinge that snaps the phone closed precisely in half, you can bend the whole thing backwards.