What are the hottest trends at this year’s edition of Mobile World Congress? We take a closer look at the event’s highlights, new devices, VR, and more
Virtual Reality is the Buzzword
One thing is sure: mobile has a very serious competition at this year’s MWC, and it is the Virtual Reality. The most impressive image so far was the audience of Samsung “Unpacked” event, where 5000 people watched the presentation of the new Galaxy S7 smartphone through a Gear VR headset.
During the event Mark Zukerberg made a surprise appearance, focusing on the Facebook – Samsung partnership on the VR project: “It wouldn’t be possible to deliver this experience at this scale and this price without Samsung’s experience in hardware and systems, and without Facebook’s software and Oculus technology,” he said. “VR is the next platform,” he added. “It’s still mostly used for games and entertainment but that’s quickly evolving. One day, you’ll put on a headset and that will change the way you live, work and communicate.” 
We can easily say that the VR stole the podium for the Galaxy devices, since it became the event’s buzzword, but most of the analyst agree that it will take a lot more time before it becomes the mainstream device. Even though the latest smartphones did not make a big steps regarding innovation, the wide adoption of VR has many obstacles such as price and content, and it will most probably be focused on the gaming and entertainment industry in the near future.
The new smartphones and devices presented at MWC selected by The Guardian, from Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, LG’s G5 to Cat’s thermal camera phone.
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge – as all the latest Samsung’s high end devices the plastic parts have been replaced with glass and premium metal, and more importantly the devices have bigger batteries and expandable storage with a microSD card slot. On the other hand LG launched their first revolutionary device G5: a modular smartphone with removable bottom, that allows users to add more battery, accessories and add-ons. Cat S60 thermal camera phone also caught the media attention: the device has a built-in Flir thermal camera for checking temperatures, spotting hotspots and even finding people trapped in wreckages; it’s also waterproof to 5m depth, designed to survive falls of up to 1.8m and certified to US military specifications for shock, heat, dust, salt and other conditions that regular smartphones would not survive.
Other devices worth mentioning are HP Elite X3, announced as all-in-one Windows 10 device, with the “Mobile Extender” that allows it to become a laptop, HTC Vive, presented as “complete VR solution” bundling it with two wireless VR controllers, head-tracking sensors and two VR titles, and Sony Xperia Ear, aiming to become much more than a Bluetooth – a headset digital assistant, allowing users to get the latest news, weather, social media updates and schedule information.
The Mobile World Congress provides a live streaming on their website www.mobileworldcongress.com, be sure to check it out for all the latest updates and events.