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Highlights and Takeaways from Mobile World Congress 2016

Another Mobile World Congress passed by with exciting announcements and updates. Even though we saw more smartphone announcements than last year, MWC 2016 was more than just “smartphones and wearable devices”.

Wearables were actually nowhere to be seen and virtual reality devices and technologies took the stage; followed by connected devices, whether it is a car or a smart home device.

In that sense, MWC 2016 provided a clear glimpse to the future, whereas MWC 2015 was more about the present.

Let’s delve deep into the highlights from Mobile World Congress 2016:

1. Smartphones and mobile OSes

We have mostly seen the typical flagship announcements in the smartphone space:

  • The biggest announcement came from Samsung as usual with the introduction of the new flagship phones Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The design is a polished iteration of S6 series with waterproofing and expandable storage.
  • Samsung is finally able to deliver good-looking and well-performing high end phones, as indicated by S6 Edge getting the best smartphone award in Global Mobile Awards.
  • LG introduced an expandable phone concept with “Friends” accessories supported by its flagship LG G5. This can make a difference in the crowded smartphone space with some accessories already available in launch.
  • Xiaomi, the biggest brand in China, is releasing its new flagship Mi5 with a refined design, high-end specs and an affordable price tag. With Mi5, Xiaomi is becoming a contender in the global market.
  • Sony announced its Xperia X series as upper-mid-range smartphones
  • CAT unveiled world’s first phone with a thermal camera, CAT S60. It’s a rugged phone targeted to a specific audience, nevertheless, it is an innovative device.

 

  • Although iOS and Android domination is evident, there was one significant Windows device announcement, HP Elite X3. This powerful device is aimed to business users and its most important feature is the ability to transform into a Windows PC with its notebook accessory. It is still a work in progress and the initial opinions are mixed.
  • As an alternative to Windows desktop, there was the 32-bit device support announcement from Remix OS, an Android-based desktop OS. You can bring your old PCs back to life with native Android.
  • Jolla, another struggling player in the mobile OS space with its Sailfish OS indicated that they are still alive and well with partnerships with operators in different regions.

 

  • As the smartphone screen sizes are increasing and 2-in-1 devices are gaining traction, tablets aren’t relevant anymore.
  • Huawei Matebook was the only tablet-like device that got real attention and it was actually a Windows 2-in-1 device similar to Microsoft Surface.

 

2. VR and AR devices

Most devices introduced were related with VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality):

  • HTC Vive is finally getting released as the second VR device after Oculus.
  • Samsung introduced Gear 360 video camera to shoot 360 degree videos for VR use.
  • Similarly, LG is jumping on the VR train with LG 360 Cam and LG 360 VR headset.
  • Intel showcased Recon Jet, a Google Glass-like Android glasses.
  • Epson unveiled the next generation Moverio, Android-based AR glasses.
  • Lenovo and Google showcased Project Tango in a museum setting, an AR based indoor navigation and exploration system.

 

3. Wearables and smart devices

There were few notable devices in the wearable space:

  • Sony introduced Xperia Ear, a digital assistant whispering to your ear. Indeed, it resembles the assistant in the movie, “Her”.
  • Sony also showcased prototypes of a digital home assistant device (Xperia Agent), a smart projector (Xperia Projector) and a smart camera with automatic capture (Xperia Eye).
  • Jacob Jensen released the Halo smart bracelet which can send a distress signal with a simple gesture.
  • Oral-B showcased its latest “smart toothbrush”, Oral-B Genius, which can track the position and the movement of the toothbrush in your mouth. With its SDK and API, it will be an open ecosystem for developers.

 

4. Mobile technologies and enterprise mobility

For mobile technologies and enterprise mobility, below are some brief takeaways:

  • Mobile commerce and mobile payments are getting more and more attention. It is important to keep up with this trend in mobile application development.
  • GSMA approves embedded SIM concept, hopefully changing SIMs will be a thing of the past.
  • 4G LTE is now commonplace and 5G developments are in full motion since high speed is crucial to achieve the smart cities vision with connected cars, homes and devices.
  • Enterprise mobility is still a messy landscape with every phase of the mobile application lifecycle requiring to work with a different vendor.

    Smartface Cloud is here to address the needs of the enterprises with a cloud-based end-to-end enterprise mobility platform.

 

See you next year at Barcelona!