The world’s biggest annual mobile event has come and gone for a 10th year and, as always, it didn’t disappoint! With the latest product launches and prototypes available for attendees to view, prod at and play with, our technology experts outline their highlights and how they expect the tech landscape to evolve in 2015:
My personal highlight of MWC 2015 was the convergence of device ecosystems. From AT&T, we saw connected cars talking to the smart home to turn the heating on as you approach home. LG showed smartwatches being used to find and open your car, and Ford showed how your smartphone can hold your personal car profile including infotainment preferences. For me, it’s great to see the start of this journey to connect the Internet of Things and I’m excited to see how the consumer might benefit as this evolves.
I find it interesting how curved screens are becoming the latest arms race between device manufacturers. Obviously the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and Note Edge phablet were the Day 1 show stoppers but we also had Blackberry teasing us with their ‘slider’ dual-edged phone, and LG heavily promoting their curved G Flex 2 phablet. It’s going to be interesting to see who adopts these devices and how behaviours differ between edged, curved and flat screen devices.
It’s a great development to see that “mobile phones” and network technology are not the most important topics at MWC anymore and it’s much more about the ecosystem including topics like the Internet of Things, security or payment solutions.
One of the most visible topics this year was Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets, like Oculus Rift. While a lot of companies used them only for marketing and attracting visitors, others presented new models: Samsung’s Gear VR for the Galaxy S6 or HTC’s Vive which is focused on gaming and links the VR headset to the popular indie game platform Steam. But VR is still lacking useful applications beyond gaming. It’s often positioned as a solution for ecommerce as you can walk around the product and see it motion, but this might be not convincing enough for consumers to buy a VR headset.
For me, the more interesting applications I saw were on augmented reality, such as a technology by Qualcomm identifying objects on moving pictures (e.g. humans, different types of buildings like churches, etc.) or connecting the online and offline world for kids (e.g. an augmented reality tablet game using physical LEGO bricks).
At MWC, Samsung’s focus on Knox was unsurprising given that it also came away with the accolade of ‘Best Security/Anti-fraud Product of Solution’ from the GSMA. But they are also playing into a concern that will surely only gain more attention this year in the media and also consumers’ minds. The FIDO alliance’s movement towards biometric security (whether it be 3D fingerprint scans, or iris recognition), rather than passwords really shows that handset manufacturers in general are becoming more aware of this. In fact, throughout MWC it’s hard to miss the increasing number of security solution providers and the emphasis on this, from up and coming companies too like Silent Circle. All encouraging to see given that it’s no longer just your Facebook account that will be hacked if your mobile phone is compromised.
Some of these comments were featured in Mobile Marketing Magazine.
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