Mobile World Congress represents a macrocosm of the technology landscape. The conference has long outgrown the narrower definition of the word Mobile that was chosen in 2007 to generically represent the industry. As attendees make their way around halls 1 through 8.1, they are presented with the gamut of electronic wonder. F1 race cars, super bikes, and big rig trucks are all on display just a few steps away from circuit boards and System on a Chip setups. Below is a recap of some of the most exciting features seen at the 2017 Mobile World Congress.
Mobile World Congress gives almost every device manufacturer a chance to shine and present their latest and greatest. A common theme at this year’s show was the amount of differentiation in device form factors. Nokia is bringing back its 3310 for pure nostalgia or maybe just as a publicity stunt. Blackberry is mounting a comeback with the KEYone for those that want the tactile, physical keyboard back. Sony is striving for beauty with the XZ Premium; a phone with a mirrored chrome finish that is gorgeous to look at, until you touch it. Device manufacturers are not afraid to change things up and push the form factors in new directions.
Screen sizes are now not just larger but taller. The LG G6 has a new 5.7″ screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This new screen size led LG to rework some of the operating system’s UI in order to retain Android’s good user experience. This is something Android app developers need to always keep in mind. Apps can run on a myriad of devices with widely varying screen dimensions, however, using correct Android layout techniques is necessary in order to properly support new devices.
Android devices have long used software keys to represent the Home and Back buttons. Although, a new trend is emerging that puts a small touch pad below the screen. Tapping, swiping, and other actions on this touch pad allow users access to a new type of input mechanism. Both Huawei P10 and the Moto G5 offer this new touchpad with some differences in gestures to navigate back, go to the home screen, and access recent apps.
Virtual and Augmented Reality were everywhere at MWC. Some presenters even used AR/VR to really bring the wow factor in demonstrating an unrelated product, while others were using the same or similar AR/VR technology to show the product they were introducing. For instance, AT&T was using HoloLens to present their connected car initiative and HTC was giving real time demonstrations of the Vive as a gaming platform. AR and VR continue to push themselves into more aspects of our daily lives. Seeing AR/VR continue to flourish at Mobile World Congress is right in line with our assertion that Mobile and VR Go Hand in Face.
Due to the number of cars in MWC, it wouldn’t be surprising if someone thought that the conference was part auto show. Automakers such as Peugeot, BMW, Daimler and Ford were in attendance to demonstrate the latest tech for their vehicles. Smart automation, network connectivity, and data aggregation over the typical Android Auto and CarPlay integration that we have seen to date were the biggest emphases for these car companies. However, POSSIBLE Mobile has seen some great new SDKs for creating telematic experiences on top of these recently introduced automotive platforms.
Smartwatches really seemed to take a back seat at this year’s show compared to last year. Both Huawei and LG announced two new watches each. Huawei introduced the Watch 2 and the Watch 2 Classic, and LG presented the LG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style, all running on the newly released Android Wear 2.0 platform. The most significant takeaway from smartwatches this year was not anything related to tech, but more so the ubiquitousness of them. Choosing a smartwatch mostly comes down to the platform and style of the device. Apple WatchOS, Android Wear, and Samsung Gear all provide a variety of watches in styles that will appeal to almost anyone.
The coming 5G network was by far the most speculative and future looking technology exhibited at MWC. Even though standards are still being worked out, multiple providers were showing 5G network speeds and proselytizing the potential of future applications that the technology will allow. More than just faster speeds and better energy efficiency, the purveyors of 5G are pitching the upcoming network as the backbone of smart cities and autonomous vehicles. However, 5G may be farther into the future than networks would like, which may be due to the staggering cost of bringing this infrastructure to a public availability.
Mobile World Congress does an excellent job at bringing so many different technologies together and this year did not disappoint. POSSIBLE Mobile is excited to build for these technologies and provide forward looking solutions for our clients. If you’re interested in working with us, please fill out the form below.