2017’s biggest mobile event is over for another year, even though smaller events will be taking place in Asia and the Americas later in the year.
As usual, most major manufacturers showcased their new devices for 2017, but there were no huge surprises. Most devices focused on bigger and better screen space and more impressive cameras, with the occasional ‘ah cool’ moment like the Alcatel A5’s sound-responsive LED cover.
Of course, the smartphone most discussed wasn’t actually there. Samsung used the MWC to let us know they’d be unveiling the Galaxy S8 on March 29th, so we’ll have to wait a little longer for one of the biggest devices this year.
The other big splash wasn’t something new, but rather the revamp of an old favourite. The Nokia 3310 is back in a variety of pretty colours and an updated Snake. How this will actually sell remains to be seen. We’re guessing it will depend on a combination of the strength of nostalgia, and how much people really mean it when they say they want to spend less time with their noses in their phones.
On the whole, MCW17 followed the same trend we’ve been seeing recently. Now that even low-range new devices are capable of running the majority of apps, and connecting to our TVs, fridges, and cars, the excitement is less around the actual device and more about how they connect to everything else.
Which brings us to VR. Some highlights in the last couple of weeks include the Samsung Gear VR getting a companion controller. It’ll be released with the new Gear VR but it’s also expected to be compatible with older models.
Realistically, you need a high-spec device to get the best from VR, but even consumers with lower-end devices can use it. Some headsets like Google Cardboard need only Android 4.1 to use, yet somehow we don’t all have one yet.
That might change with 5G. It feels as if 5G is always just beyond the horizon, with the occasional pundit even wondering why we’ll even need it (this feels a little like those people who said that a camera in a phone was a just a novelty and would never catch on).
However, GSMA announced at MWC that they’re expecting to see 1.1bn 5G connections by 2025, and a range of companies including carriers and chip providers have said they will push for the fifth generation of wireless technology to be ready for large scale deployment by 2019, a year ahead of the current schedule — another boost for VR and AR.
The Sony Xperia Ear open style concept headphones were also showcased this year: described as anti noise-cancelling headphones, they offer functionality without blocking the user’s ears from sounds around them. The headphones are also be able to register nods and shakes of the head as inputs.
Continuing with the trend of MWC being not about the smartphones but their connections and uses, a number of new AIs were announced and showcased, including messaging app LINE’s Clova, and Samsung SDS’s chatbot for training retail staff.
Around the same time at LucidCX headquarters, we got our first play with the Google Home (unfortunately still not available within the UK). Our first trials indicate it’s beating Alexa at natural language commands but that’s probably not much of a surprise, since that has always been Google’s big strength.
As usual, MWC also featured some curiosities and fun tech:
There was the Secret 810 mask which massages your face via an app. It doesn’t look scary at all.
There was also the Sentio Superbook – a plug and play device that looks like a laptop but runs from your Android phone. We’d definitely like to try one of these.
The Doobit is a hand sanitising wearable from which sits on your wrist and buzzes every 30 minutes to remind you to sanitise your hands, then releases a puff of sanitising spray. Useful for hospital workers, we guess; overkill for the rest of us.
Finally, we particularly liked the smart beehive from Nature Fractal. It has sensors inside so you can check the conditions on your phone, and technology that extracts the honey for you.
At LucidCX, we don’t keep an eye on upcoming technology and trends just because they’re interesting (although they really, really are), but also so that we can have answers ready for your customers the moment they start asking.
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