As the Mobile World Congress continues to take place in Barcelona, here’s a round-up of everything we know about so far, brand by brand.
There were a few announcements made during Samsung’s press conference after first opening with assurances about quality control. Those hoping for a release of a new flagship Galaxy S smartphone were disappointed as instead Samsung seem to have focused their attention on two new tablets and a virtual reality headset. The first tablet is the Galaxy Tab S3 which comes with a 9.7 inch screen and is focused on consumers who note video gaming and playback as their priorities. The larger tablet, the Galaxy Book, comes in either 10.6 inch or 12 inch, a snap-on keyboard and an S-Pen. Samsung have stated that this is best suited to “on the go professionals.” The OLED screens and powerful specifications are set to differentiate the tablets from competitors of the same ilk. The new Gear VR headset, compatible with both new tablets, is a tie up of Facebook’s Oculus and comes with remote designed for one-handed control. Users can select options with a touchpad and motion sensors detect hand movements. This is a huge step from past VR headsets whereby users had to buy something like a third party gamepad to remain in control. There’s also a number of VR projects set for release under Samsung’s C-Lab:
(Side note: Samsung have said that a new smartphone is set to be announced on March 29 in New York.)
Both the Vive and HTC 10 were released in 2016 and the U Ultra and U Play this year but at this year’s MWC HTC brought us a Vive demo that allows for a more immersive virtual reality gaming experience. The dinosaur-shooting game Island 356 will be released to developers on March 27th but everyone else will have to wait.
The relaunch of the classic Nokia 3310 was undoubtedly the biggest announcement for Nokia at the MWC but the company also announced the new Nokia 6, already on sale in China but launching worldwide later this year. Both the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 are also set for release running on Android.
BlackBerry handed themselves over to TCL last year which started the churning of the rumour mill about the prospect of a new handset. At MWC they announced not only one, but two new phones; the BlackBerry Mercury and the BlackBerry KEYone. There’s not much to say about the former, but the KEYone comes with some impressive features. A 4.5 inch display combines touch display with a physical keyboard, can be programmed to respond to up to 52 shortcuts and a fingerprint sensor built into the spacebar. It runs on Android 7.1 and comes with BlackBerry Hub which makes it easy to have all of your messages (including emails, texts and social media messages) in one place.
Sony had a lot to announce this year. Here’s the list; the Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZs, Xperia XA1 Ultra and the Xperia XA1. Firstly, the flagship Xperia XZ Premium has a 4k HDR display of 5.5 inches, predictive capture that lets you take photos before you’ve even clicked the button and a slow-mo mode that lets you record videos at 960fps. You’ll also get 4GB of RAM, 64Gb of storage, USB C connectivity, and IP65/68 water resistance powered on Qualcomm’s SnapDragon 835 processor. The Xperia XZs is a slightly smaller version of this at 5.2 inches.
Yes, there’s more……
The LG G6 is the successor of last year’s G5. It has a 5.7 inch FullVision display and a 18:9 screen aspect ratio, something that hasn’t been seen on a smartphone before. The developers claim that this will create a more immersive experience when it comes to playing games or viewing things on your phone. Other features include a 4GB RAM, a 5MP front-facing camera, 13MP rear camera and Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. It runs on Anroid 7.0 Nougat, has built-in Google Assistant and comes in attractively named colours Astro Black, Ice Platinum or Mystic White.
Teaming up with a number of other companies including GoPro, Leica and Pantone, Hauwei unveiled its P10 and P10 Plus phones. Considering who it has teamed up with, the biggest feature of the phones is their dual lens cameras that now feature on the front, too.
The latest Motorola phones show an upgrade from those that came before with the metal finish although they continued to be marketed as premium handsets for a lower cost. The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus both run on Android 7.0 with Google Assistant and give you features that match other smartphones at cost of only £169. The Moto G5 has a 5 inch HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage with a mircoSD card slot. The rear camera is 13MP and the front-facing camera is 5MP. The larger and costlier Moto G5 Plus has a 5.2 inch screen, runs on a 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625 octacore chip and is available with either 2GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64Gb of storage. The front-facing camera is the same as the 5’s but the rear camera is 12MP. The 5 is set for launch in March and the 5 Plus a little after.
This one came as quite a surprise. Ford have announced a partnership with Vodafone to enable 4G modems to be installed in a number of upcoming vehicles. The 4G LTE connectivity will allow up to ten devices to be connected at one time. This tech is initially set to launch in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Yes, there’s cars at the MWC too. Peugeot took this chance to release their new Instinct concept car, a four seater saloon powered by a 297bhp plug-in hybrid. The car will have four driving modes to suit whatever you fancy; drive boost, drive relax, autonomous soft and autonomous sharp. To gain this specialised autonomy, the car connects to Samsung’s Artik cloud service where it collects data from other devices. Your car could, for example, take data from the heart-rate reading on your smartwatch and change the settings of the car accordingly in terms of lighting, seating angles and drive style.
The world’s first self driving electric car has been revealed! Robocar by Roborace has a range of features and is powered by 5 LiDAR sensors, 18 ultrasonic sensors, 6 AI cameras and GNSS positioning. It reaches speeds up to 199mph and has 360 situational awareness. Plus, it looks really really cool….