What was hot. . . and what was not
HOT: Big phones:If you thought the Samsung Note 2 was a hefty-screened device, you haven’t seen anything yet. This year saw the march of the massive mobile phones, with Huawei showing off its 6-inch screen monster Mate and LG, meanwhile, went to 4.7 inches with its new Optimus G.
And they weren’t the only ones. ZTE’s Grand Memo comes with a 5.7-inch screen. The line between the phone and the tablet is blurring even more.
Samsung, meanwhile, went the other way, by slimming its Note tablet down to 8 inches in size, but added the ability to make voice calls on the device. Insert your own Trigger Happy TV joke here.
The Kinect effect continues to be seen in electronics, with companies demonstrating different ways we could be interacting with our devices in years to come.
On Intel’s stand in the App hall (above), Tobii was demonstrating eye tracking and gesture recognition that allowed you to flip through and select photos. GestureTek was also at it, showing off some technology for Android and Symbian developers that allows them to build motion and object tracking into games and applications.
And if Israel’s Eyesight Technologies interface becomes more common, we will soon be able to interact with devices by simply pointing at the screen. A generation of couch potatoes could be in the offing.
Near Field Communication
Whether it was at Sony’s booth, where the company was using the NFC tags to do everything from back up your photos to a hard drive to making a speaker play music files stored on your phone, or around the conference where you could enter with an NFC badge or get more information from NFC-enabled posters elsewhere, everyone was going for it in a big way. Attendees could even register for one of MWC’s official phones, the Xperia T, which gave you a chance to try NFC out for yourself. The future, it seems, is contactless, paperless and cashless.
We’re in a global recession, yet it seems that mobile phone and tablet makers keep churning out the high-end electronics, and we keep on buying them. But this year, it seems that some manufacturers are realising that there are some consumers who may not be in a position to splash that much cash around. Nokia unveiled some more budget-friendly Lumia Windows Phone handsets (above), while HP’s Android Slate 7 is also a more wallet-friendly alternative for those on the lookout for a tablet.
For years, we knew that water is death to electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets. And if you wanted something that would withstand the elements, you had to buy a “rugged” device that looked like someone had encased it in foam for its own safety. But not anymore, it seems. Everyone is jumping on the water-resistant bandwagon, with Sony merrily dunking its new Tablet Z (above), Fujitsu producing a waterproof Windows 8 device and companies such as Loksak willing to cover everything else.
NOT: 3D:Remember a few years ago when you couldn’t move at trade shows for people telling you how 3D was the future?
Well, not this year. There was a reappearance of the technology at a few stands, but for the most part this year was remarkably free of executives extolling the virtues of having 3D on the go, or staring at 3D tablets until your eyes went a bit funny.
In particular, the absence of Google’s Android stand – the one place for the past two years that you knew you would see some interesting products and services, pick up some collectable badges, and take a quick jaunt down a slide while clutching your free juice from the juice bar.
Google, we’re not mad, we’re just disappointed.
The “wow” moments
There were very few product announcements made at the show that actually took people by surprise.
If it hadn’t been leaked in advance of the big reveal, it had already been announced by the company themselves. HTC held its own event in London only last week to unveil the HTC One; Samsung is planning an unpacked event in two weeks’ time.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy the show, but a few surprises should always be included to keep us interested.
If you’ve been to Mobile world Congress, then you know. You queue to get in, you queue to get out. And in between, you queue for what seems like hours for food.
But PayPal this year had a brilliant idea: give people a QR code that lets them place a lunch order, pay with PayPal and they can pick it up from an express line. Which is allegedly quicker. Genius.
For every great product you saw, there were more that you know either will never see the light of day, or will sink without a trace for various reasons.
Some are disappointing to see go; others, not so much. We won’t name names.