Mobile World Congress continues to set the global mobile agenda, and this year was no different. We saw innovations in networks, devices and the software that powers our connected planet. Here are five key things that we saw in Barcelona.
Connected cars, from concept to reality
Sensors are the unsung heroes of much of today’s mobile innovation, and it’s quickly becoming the same story with connected cars. Manufacturers like Volvo used MWC 2015 to show how increasing the scope of sensors could yield real safety improvements. For example, they can measure treacherous road conditions in real-time and relay the information to other cars in the vicinity. And manufacturers such as Audi are taking connectivity to a whole new level; at MWC, they announced a deal with AT&T to connect all 2016 Audis throughout North America.
Of course, there are also hopes for entirely driverless cars, but this year it was all about how SIMs and connectivity could enhance the driving experience, from being able to pay for petrol and goods without leaving the car to getting a 4G LTE connection directly into the vehicle. These advancements are almost ready for launch and will subtly improve the traffic information we receive, journey navigation and entertainment services, such as Internet radio.
Mobile payments seize further momentum
NFC technology has been growing in popularity for a few years now but 2015 could prove to be a seminal moment. The rapid adoption of contactless cards means that people are increasingly open to paying with this technology. Google dropped news that an Android Pay API would soon be released and both Samsung and Apple also launched their own platforms. Things are certainly looking good for mobile payments.
Where next for flagship smartphones?
Now that smartphones are into their eighth year, we’ve arguably reached the point where we don’t need higher resolution screens or more processing power. The next battleground will be utility, and this ranges from battery life, to services like payments and mobile health. Sure, there will continue to be design nuances like Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge, with its curve-off-the-edge screen, but people are now so reliant on their smartphones that providing the best experience will become the true differentiator for handset makers.
Virtual Reality and wearables – the next big things?
If you haven’t experienced the new wave of virtual reality yet, you should make plans to as soon as possible! The nascent technology has huge potential with Hollywood studios and massive brands like Facebook and Sony getting involved. It really could be the next big thing. Similarly, wearables like smartwatches are quickly on way to becoming more and more useful; it’s probably just a matter of time before they become mainstream.
Introducing the Runcible
Every year there is one piece of tech that takes the show by storm for its radical reimagining of existing convention. This year it was without doubt Monohm’s Runcible. Resembling a pocket watch from times of yore, this nifty little smartphone splits in two with one half showing its circular screen, while the camera is embedded in the other half. Entirely original, it was one of the most innovative devices on show at Barcelona.
What did you spot at MWC this year? Tweet to us @Gemalto to let us know.