MWC 2015 is over and the show continues to earn the “biggest annual event focused on mobile technology” moniker. Previous posts have covered some of the major announcements and the keynote presentations, so in this post I’ll just summarize the major themes and show highlights.
In the mobile technology space, smartphones are king. In fact, one analyst claims that the number of smartphones in use worldwide now exceeds the number of installed PCs (about 1.5B). New smartphone announcements ruled at MWC 2015. Familiar vendors (Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, Sony, Huawei, BlackBerry etc.) didn’t disappoint with numerous smartphone and tablet announcements extending the device range at the high end and increasing the emphasis on the entry-level and mid-range products. Of note, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge received the “Best New Handset, Tablet or Device” of the show along with other “Best” awards from Ubergizmo, Mashable and Laptop Magazine. Perhaps of more importance, Samsung’s mobile security platform (called KNOX) received the “Best Security/Anti-fraud Product” award.
Even though Apple does not participate in MWC (or any other major conferences for that matter. Apple prefers to host their own events.), their influence was palpable – everyone at the show (vendors and attendees alike) compared the new products to the iPhone and iPad. Mobile Payment announcements by Google (Android Pay) and Samsung (Samsung Pay) also targeted Apple directly
If smartphones are king, then wearables is the crown prince waiting for his turn at the top spot. MWC 2015 could be called the smartwatch coming out party. Vendors galore are responding (yet again!) to Apple with smartwatch announcements. LG, HTC, Huawei, Asus and Cogito were among this group and interestingly, many of these new products followed last year’s Moto 360 announcement with a smartwatch that actually looks like a watch and not like something manufactured by the Borg. I’ve been wearing a Moto 360 for a few months now and the most frequent comment is that “it looks really interesting” – with the emphasis on looks!
Other Mobile Product Categories of Note
MWC 2015 continued the Connected Car focus that was started earlier this year at CES 2015. Audi of America and AT&T announced that all of Audi’s 2016 cars will offer Audi Connect which supports LTE, 4G and 3G connectivity. Initially, the connected Audis will provide customers with navigation (with OTA map updates), traffic information, social media and mobile app integration plus access to over 7,000 internet radio stations. The in-car wifi hotspot will connect with up to 8 devices.
And while a lot of the buzz at CES was about driverless cars, here’s another idea for you Connected Car followers. Imagine that you’re driving home and as you approach your driveway, the garage door opens, doors unlock, the security system is turned off, lights come on and thermostats are turned up. I like it!
One last ‘mobile gadget’ category received quite a bit of coverage at MWC 2015 – Virtual Reality (VR). While many people think VR is just for gaming (example, the Oculus Rift), VR is being extended to more practical areas with companies such as HTC and Sony announcing new products. VR is a “see inside” product – it allows you to literally see the building blocks (sub-assemblies) inside something that makes it a natural for applications such as training, maintenance and repair. Also, applications like a virtual home tours and virtual retail immerse the viewer in a graphical world annotated with facts and explanations. And of course, we’ve already seen the virtual meeting in movies such as Star Wars!
MWC 2015 coverage has been extensive and you can find a great deal more information about the products, presentations, innovations and award winners. If you want to learn more, here’s a link to the wrap-up done by the GSMA.