The Mobile World Congress is not for the
faint of heart: with more than eight exhibition halls and a separate venue for
4YFN startups, it is the equivalent of walking over 15km a day – well, according
to my Fitbit fitness tracker, that is.
Apart from a showcase of the latest hardware, various themes emerged from this year’s MWC15 including the continued trend of wearables, both for fitness and function, as well as the accelerating Internet of Things (IoT). Earlier this year Vodacom now! reported on mobile tech trends and was spot on with the integration of mobile and smartphones in everything from cars through to homes and shopping malls.
As expected, the latest and greatest devices were launched at this year’s MWC15 with improved features, better components and lower prices. Among the first to launch was the HTC One M9, followed closely by the much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Both Galaxy phones feature brand-new designs and aluminium upgrades along with Samsung Pay, Samsung’s solution to mobile payments, equivalent to Apple Pay. Sony’s dust- and water-resistant Xperia M4 Aqua Dual Smartphone, Alcatel’s reversible OneTouch Idol 3 and hybrid smartphone-camera Lenovo Vibe Shot were among other cool smartphones revealed.
Except for Apple – who unveiled their Apple Watch yesterday in San Francisco – all the leading brands featured their latest in wearable technology with an emphasis on making the devices more appealing to audiences. While a healthier lifestyle remained the key message from the likes of Samsung Gear 2 and Sony Smartband, more classic styles such as the cellular-connected LG Watch Urbane LTE and best-looking Android Wear Huawei Watch were also on show. As wearables grow in popularity, privacy and security continue to be an area of complexity and focus.
Internet of Things (IoT)
One could be forgiven for thinking that MWC15 had turned into a car and home exhibition. Connected cars and home appliances could be spotted throughout the exhibition halls. Volvo, Renault-Nissan and Ford were among some of the manufacturers making announcements about smart connected cars that will no doubt take the experience of driving to a whole new level.
Ford also introduced their electric bicycle prototype, MoDe:Me, a bike that connects to your smartphone to help you navigate. Smart cities and home automation systems further amplified the trend, along with a variety of connected gadgets like the Oral-B intelligent and personalised toothbrush and Johnny Walker Blue Label smart bottle.
The GMSA Innovation City provided a first-hand look at how connected products will transform our everyday lives.
One future trend to look out for is 5G, a powerful platform that promises new business models, industries and even driverless cars. We will however have to wait a good couple of years before the projected trials in 2018-2020.
*Kerry Littlewood is Head of Digital at New Media Publishing.
Image credit: A line of Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone devices sit on display following its launch at a Samsung Electronics Co. news conference ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday, March 1, 2015. © Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images