Events Mobile World Congress 2016 highlights

Published on February 27th, 2016 | by Yasser Masood

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Highlights from Mobile World Congress 2016

It’s the annual gathering of mobile loving geeks that see everything smartphone related. Four days of new announcements and tech demos at Mobile World Congress 2016, we’ve been there to cover it all from Barcelona. Everything from new smartphones and 360 cameras, to a future of virtual reality (VR) with headsets was being demoed or announced by major brands. Here’s our nutshell summary on each of the things that caught out attention.

Smartphones everywhere

It’s not Mobile World Congress unless there is something mobile-related to unveil, and the event had its share of new smartphone announcements. Samsung unveiled the new flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, LG has the modular G5 with user-replaceable modular attachments, Sony gave the Xperia brand a new and refreshed look with the unveiling of the X series in 3 models, and HTC takes the premium midrange segment with the new One X9.

I would have to admit that LG looked above and beyond with the new G5. Just by sliding off the base and then sliding in the next accessory, you can turn it from a digital camera to even a music player. Now the only question is if LG will help develop an open modular standard so that this doesn’t become a one-off thing, turning any potential buyers’ investment into useless pile. It could be good to see third-party attachments for the G5.

VR and 360 immersion

You can’t ignore the wave of potential riding with virtual reality and watching 360 degrees of video, and looks like smartphone makers were championing both it at Mobile World Congress 2016. Nobody besides Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out loud about its potential future, especially when partnering with Samsung to bring it to the masses.

Samsung’s Gear VR with the Gear 360 sure has the potential to create your own VR experience with the S7 and S7 Edge, and the Gear VR is powered by Oculus technology. LG’s 360 VR headset doesn’t even need a smartphone attachment, but combining it with their handheld 360 camera allows you to take and view 360 videos on the fly. Many have also announced pricing for their VR offerings, like the HTC Vive for ~$799 or the FAcebook-owned Oculus Rift for ~$599.

One differentiating factor is that Samsung has chosen to leverage the Galaxy S series of smartphones with Oculus-powered software to create a VR experience using the Gear VR headset. This keeps it consumer friendly, and potentially reduces the price barrier. Other brands have taken the dedicated VR headset approach that doesn’t leverage their smartphone expertise. We could see VR going mainstream in late 2016.

Batteries to the next level

Oppo Super VOOC demo at Mobile World Congress 2016

Oppo Super VOOC demo at Mobile World Congress 2016

We all clamour to have a smartphone that can last us for a whole day under heavy usage, yet also charge fast enough to allow us to use them quick. Many smartphone brands like Samsung have incorporated bigger and better batteries with improved optimizations, while some have taken the faster charging route like Oppo’s Super VOOC.

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That’s it for our highlights from this year’s Mobile World Congress.

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About the Author

Who am I? Some say I’m a walking breathing Wikipedia in Qatar, knowing anything from the obscure to the mainstream. I’m just a tech-savvy gadget loving and dissecting geek, juggling a day job with some community passion work. You can follow me on Twitter: @YasserM86



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