The Mobile World Congress is in full swing in Barcelona, Spain. This conference and trade show is always at the forefront of mobile technology from new smartphones and wearables to new accessories. Here are the four things you need to know coming out of this year’s Mobile World Congress.
Many have remarked that this was the year for virtual reality at the Mobile World Congress. Samsung opened the doors to their event for the new Galaxy with their Gear VR headset on every chair. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg even talked during Samsung’s event, his Oculus VR unit helped develop Samsung’s Gear VR, about how important virtual reality was to his company. HTC also introduced their highly anticipated Vive virtual reality headset that will cost $799. Vive preorders will start on February 29th with the headset being officially available in April. Lastly, LG showed off their 360 VR headset that will work alongside their new 5G phone and Google Cardboard content. They have yet to announce a release date or price, but the headset was noticeably lighter than the Samsung Gear VR.
Samsung S7 and S7 edge
Samsung has been teasing their new Galaxy devices for about a month now. The Mobile World Congress allowed for people to view these devices a little more up close and personal. What was one of the biggest additions to the new phones? The S7 and S7 Edge both saw removable SD Card and waterproofing brought back after missing from the S6 and S6 Edge lineup. It also boasted a better camera, improved design, more battery capacity and the new Always On display setting. The Always On display is similar to a feature that LG rolled out last year. It enables the device to have a continuous customizable display on, even in standby mode, with time, calendar and simple notifications; it only consumes 1% of battery life per hour.
A general consensus from this year’s trade show was that LG really pulled out all the stops. They came to impress and put their name at the forefront. The new LG G5 smartphone was deemed the most innovative of smartphones due in part to its friends. The new device allows users to switch out the battery and insert a new one with just the touch of a button. However, they didn’t stop there. LG launched a concept for the new phone that includes its “LG Friends”. The “LG Friends” are companion devices and modules that are available to essentially transform the user experience with a high-fidelity speaker, a camera grip, a small 360 camera, rolling bot and more.
With all the changes that Samsung and Apple have been making in software updates, ad-blocking was a topic that did come up in a few sessions. CBS Interactive provided some interesting insight at an Interactive Advertising Bureau/dmexco event. They revealed a method to “test and inform.” This involves identifying ad-blocking users that visit its websites and then asking to be whitelisted. The goal is to encourage site visitors to participate in a “value exchange” – receiving content in return for viewing an ad. Forbes is doing something similar but taking it up a notch with a “detect and withhold” strategy that conceals their content until the ad-blocker is turned off.
As things have heated up with the ad-blocking situation, there has been drama to follow. Another session called Mobile Advertising: Ad Engagement and Ad-Blocking was reported to have a lot of tension between those in the ad industry and mobile ad-blocker startup, Shine, CMO Roi Carthy. We’ll continue to watch the ad-blocking space and write future updates as they unfold.
The tech and mobile world is continually evolving and we’re always keeping an eye open to the new trends and technologies as they emerge, and will keep you informed as they do.