GSMA Mobile World

By on Mar 5, 2014 in Technology

Once again, Barcelona hosted the GSMA Mobile World Congress, a global showcase where some of the industry’s biggest names displayed their latest toys. This year’s event featured over 1,800 exhibiting companies, more than 85,000 visitors from 201 countries, a new record, reflecting again how pervasive mobile has become.MobileWorldCongress

The four-day conference and exhibition became the meeting spot for executives from mobile operators, software companies, equipment providers, internet companies, and automotive, finance, and healthcare industries, topped by government delegations from all over the world.

More than 4,500 CEOs, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and IMB’s Virginia Rometty held keynotes, followed by CEOs and senior executives from companies like Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, Bitcoin Foundation, Cisco, Citigroup, Connecthings, EMC Corporation, Etisalat Group, Ford Motor Company, Isis, Jasper Wireless, Kakao Corp., KDDI, Lookout, Millicom, NTT DOCOMO, Raspberry Pi Foundation, Shazam Entertainment, Shhmooze, SingTel, SK Planet, Tele2 Group, Viacom International Media Networks and WhatsApp.

The Connected City attracted over 17,000 visitors over the four days, and presented mobile solutions for services like education, health, retail, transport, smart cities and more. The Internet of Things describes the phenomenon of network-connected sensors incorporated into devices that in the past were standalone appliances.

An even broader term, ‘The Internet of Everything’, includes smartphones and other mobile computing devices, as well as Internet-connected appliances. Remember Google’s move earlier this year, the $3 billion acquisition of Nest’s smart thermostat and smoke alarm technology.

A wide variety of vendors showed or announced services and products that fit the concept.

  • The automakers announced connectivity technology this week, to meet consumers’ expectation of having the same connected experience with their cars as they have with their mobile phones.
  • Deutsche Telekom announced a deal with PayPal through which it will enable the possibility for the mobile users to purchase goods and get billed on their regular mobile phone accounts.
  • Huawei announced the TalkBand (at $136); primarily it offers up to seven hours of calling on one charge and a 1.4-inch flexible OLED display, but also has the ability to track activity time and progress such as steps taken, miles covered, and calories burned.
  • Samsung put sensor technology in all three Galaxy Gear devices it showed off at the conference, to allow heart-rate monitoring.
  • Archos, the French tablet maker, introduced its version of Bluetooth Low Energy – it is used to monitor and control smart devices around the home: cameras, weather stations, movement detectors, door and window sensors and power switches (available for purchase in April).

Unlike the previous year when LG and Samsung took after Apple and opted to schedule separate events for the launch of G2 and Galaxy S4 phones, this year things were different.

SONY presented three new devices at MWC: Xperia Z2, the new flagship smartphone that is 0.2-inches larger than the previous model, introducing a new panel as well – a borrowed feature from its TV range, using a full HD Triluminos display with Live Color LED. Just as Z1, the Z2 is waterproof and dustproof, completed with a 20.7-megapixel camera. It can shoot videos in 4K resolution and has integrated digital noise cancellation.

The new Xperia Z2 Tablet has been showed off, described by the company as “the world’s most powerful, lightest and slimmest waterproof tablet.”

The Xperia M2 is announced as “the slimmest, and best specified in its class” with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor runs it and shots with an 8-megapixel camera; the dual-SIM extra allows users to choose between SIMs before making calls or sending texts. It embraced the 4G technology and feeds off a 2300mAh battery with STAMINA Mode 3.0 for longevity. It will be released in April

SAMSUNG introduced the Galaxy 5S smartphone, a little beast with a 5.1-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, 2.5GHz Snapdragon 805 processor with 3GB of RAM and up to 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 64GB with microSD. The camera has 16 megapixels and is touted as the world’s fastest autofocus at 0.3 seconds. Water and dustproof, will become available in April. The company also presented two new models of smartwatches: the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, both of which feature a 1.6-inch AMOLED screen, fitted with a 2-megapixel camera in the screen, have built-in music players, 4GB of internal storage and communicate with Bluetooth headphones. The watches display notifications from calls, texts, and more. Furthermore, Samsung fitted them with Infrared LED sensors that allow the control of the TV, set-top box and other AV devices.

NOKIA confirmed that an Android phone was in the pipeline and introduced the Nokia X; Nokia X+ and Nokia XL with prices ranging from $123 to $150. The phones run on Android, but combine Nokia and Microsoft services; the Google Play Store cannot be accessed, but the Nokia Store seems to feature many of the most popular apps.

LG had already launched the G Pro 2 phablet before the MWC. The specs reveal some raw power under a 5.9-inch full HG display: a 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB of RAM and up to 32GB of internal storage. It records in 4K and it can shoot at 120 frames per second for slow-motion playback. The G2 Mini has been on the market a week before the Barcelona event, and reintroduced to the public: the 4.7-inch screen, a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Quad-core processor and 4G LTE connectivity.

An interesting addition to the smartphone world is the Blackphone from Geeksphone and Silet Circle. It’s been cofounded by the creator of PGP e-mail encryption, Phil Zimmerman, thus announcing extreme attention to user security – it’s presented as the NSA-proof communicator. The specs feature a 2GHz Quad-core SoC and 2GB of RAM, a 4.7-inch HG IPS screen, 16GB of storage, 8MP rear and 1.3MP front cameras, and HSPA+ and LTE connectivity. The specs are subject to change, but only into something better that will make of it a premium phone. The Blackphone runs a version of Android called “PrivatOS”, having the user-tracking Google parts removed.

These are just a few of the novelties Barcelona got to witness first. By the looks of it, 2014 will be an interesting year, filled with temptations for all technology lovers. And spring is just starting.