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There are no smartwatches or fitness bands at MWC 2019, and that's no problem

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) – one of the biggest shows in mobile technology – has no big announcements for smartwatches or fitness trackers for the second year running.

Instead, the show was packed to the brim with new, exciting phones like the Huawei Mate X and the Sony Xperia 1 … but why is there no more portable technology?

There was a curious wearable product on the show like the new HoloLens 2, but that's not destined to be worn by millions of people around the world as they go about their daily lives. It is more for a business audience.

The Nubia Alpha wraps around your wrist, but instead of being a thoroughly smart watch, this is a device somewhere between it and a phone.

It's a weird concept, and we're pretty sure it will not replace your Apple Watch over the next few months. This is partly because it came out only in the second half of this year and partly because it tries to do something different than an average smartwatch.

Watch-less Show

Over the past few years, we've seen handset-makers with portable products in tow alongside their new top-end handsets, but since MWC 201

7, there's not been a big portable consumer launch at the show.

The last product was the Huawei Watch 2, and again this was the only portable device on the show. Wearables sales are still growing worldwide (at least in 2018) and more and more companies are using the space.

In fact, companies are driving the smartwatch and fitness tracking markets forward, but "Mobile World Congress relies only on wearables as its own segment.

The focus is now on other shows CES saw a series of announcements for smartwatch in 2019, while IFA 2018 was one of the best years in which smartwatch and fitness trackers were released.

  A selection of wearable products launched at CES 2019 Picture credits: TechRadar, Sphero

] A selection of the wearable products announced at CES 2019. Photo credits: TechRadar, Sphero

Baselworld 2019 is also just around the corner, its legacy is a mechanical watch fair, in Many of the top-end brands of traditional bracelets announce new collections, but last year we saw a lot of new smartwatch technology there, and we expect that a similar amount again this year.

If it's all over in the past year, we can expect brand new smartwatches that Fossil controls alongside announcements from other older watch brands with either hybrid designs or full-blown smartwatch technology.

Samsung has also just introduced the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit Health Band family, and instead of holding back this announcement for MWC, it was bundled up for a week earlier in the Galaxy S10 series.

Initially, rumors suggested that Samsung would use its new wearables at MWC instead of its own separate unpacked event, but that does not make much sense to the company.

Larger fish

If you pre-order a Samsung Galaxy S10 on the first day, it's a success. It would be very important to you if you pre-order the Galaxy Watch Active. So why not offer both at the same time?

The rumors about the Google Pixel Watch continue to expand, and we expect Apple to introduce the Apple Watch 5 this September, though little is known about what it can do.

In the meantime, Fitbit and Garmin and a huge group of running guard specialists at MWC have never been represented, so there is no reason for them to start now.

Why are you announcing your new products in the mix of one big show alongside other headlines, if you're an already established company that can show a wearable product when it's done?

All in all, wearables moving away from Mobile World Congress are not a bad thing. As long as wearables fans are not forgotten, that's all that matters.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, filled with the latest mobile phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar reports live all week from Barcelona to show you the latest news from the show. Visit our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new versions and TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice for your next phone.

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