Last week, 101,000 delegates from the world of mobile descended on Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress. 204 countries were represented and 3,600 members of the international press and media covered the event. The scale of the congress cannot be underestimated – over 2,200 exhibiting companies filled the exhibition, which spanned 9 vast halls and 12 outdoor spaces. Exhibitors came from all spheres of the mobile ecosystem – device manufacturers (including Samsung, LG, HTC and Blackberry) who use the event to launch flagship devices, companies providing the hardware inside phones (such as Intel and Qualcomm), businesses working in the Internet of Things space and mobile media and ad tech businesses. Continue reading
The biggest mobile event Mobile World Congress has just wrapped up and with it a flurry of new devices and trends have come out of it. In this article we want to take you through our top 3 takeouts that we found while walking the 8 gigantic halls of the Fira Barcelona Gran Via.
1. Virtual reality (VR)
First off this was the first thing that everyone would notice walking around the halls, was the sheer number of stands that were taking advantage of VR was incredible. This included tiny stands that had nothing to do with VR, having ways of experiencing their products that were hooked up to Oculus Rifts and Samsung Gear VR’s. However overwhelming this was, the real piece of news here is that not only is VR becoming more mainstream with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive coming this year, but also ways of capturing content for VR has become incredibly easy now. Sony, Samsung, LG and many more had tiny cameras that would take 360 video and images that you can then watch back on VR headsets. This will be a big turning point for VR because it means we as users can start to create our own content for VR.
2. Mobile has matured
There were also less gimmicky products coming from manufactures. Most of the devices at the event seemed to be useful and seemed to fit into potential users lives without much imagination. We also saw a large amount of enterprise experiences, again focused on delivering tangible results and not as “mobile” the buzzword of today. Mobile has also become incredibly powerful; LG’s G5 is another example of a company that is utilising the increasing power of mobile processors of the phone to run the experience on a pair of VR glasses. However, the biggest step forward in the maturation of mobile was at Microsoft’s stand, where they showed off Continuum which was the idea you could soon replace your laptop with a screen that is powered by your phone. You would take your Windows 10 phone and just plug it into a large monitor, and like magic you have a version of windows 10 which you could then use a keyboard and mouse with. Seeing it working for the first time live really showed us that mobile has come a long way since the days of the Nokia 3210 and snake, soon enough your mobile device will be the only device you will need.
3. Mobile is connected and compentalising
By connected we don’t just mean to the web, but there is a trend for putting more sensors into our devices, so that they are more connected to the world around them. For example Intel were showing off their Real sense and Google Tango infused mobile phone, that basically knew where it was in 3D space and was even able to allow for the recognition of a user’s hands. Plus, companies like Google and LG are looking at devices that can be updated and changed with the addition of different modules. Admittedly Google’s version Project Ara is still a prototype but LG announced a new flagship device the G5 which is the successor to the G4 and has a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. The bottom of the device can be removed and replaced with modules that deliver better speakers or camera modules with added battery. The focus of bettering people’s experiences and not creating gimmicks, is an important step in mobile maturity.
Overall this year was extremely exciting and as per usual some of the most interesting things were seen at the much smaller stands, like a Graphene area which was literally the furthest stand at the event, showing off the future of electronics and battery technology giving us a glimpse into the fantastically exciting development of the mobile space.
It’s just dumb glass
Hardware continues to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, and the big excitement is around the services that can be accessed on the device, rather than the device itself..
Samsung’s S7 is a definite evolution of the S6, with waterproofing being the main improvement.
LG appears to have picked up where Google left off with Project Ara, by releasing the LG G5, a revolutionary modular design allowing the bottom of the phone to be removed, and additional modules to be added. For example, adding a professional camera attachment, allowing manual focus and zooming, or an audio unit, designed in conjunction with Bang & Olufsen. Continue reading
Mobile World Congress 2016 was a hugely impressive event with almost 100,000 delegates (growing again) and a credible amount of exhibitors showing off some of the best tech in market. From the obvious big tech players in Google, Facebook, MSFT and an apparent return from Nokia through to the smaller more niche exhibitors showing off the more unusual tech like the connected BMW and Oral B’s smart toothbrush. In the three days I spent in Barcelona I covered over 50km walking across the halls and there are a number of themes that were worthy of sharing. Continue reading
Mobile World Congress is a difficult show to beat, with over 90,000 industry professionals descending on Barcelona to learn about, experience and embrace all things mobile.
This year my attention was drawn away from the handset launches that have dominated in previous years by two main elements virtual reality and, as ever, the immense potential of data. Continue reading