Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC 2018) has been and gone, leaving a scatter of new hardware announcements in its wake. While the Barcelona-based show was arguably dominated by the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 (with its new dual aperture camera), there were plenty of other technology stories to tell. For a start…
1. MWC 2018 isn’t just about phones
In addition to the usual handset launches, Huawei showed off its new MediaPad M5 (the first tablet with a curved screen) and an updated MateBook X Pro (with a larger screen, 8th generation Intel Core processor and an odd webcam hidden away in a function key). Lenovo, meanwhile, showed off the Yoga 730, a mid-range 2 in 1 device (with Alexa built-in) that sits below its premium 900-series portables.
2. 5G is closer than you think
While most of us won’t get to sample 5G mobile connectivity until 2020, Intel technology has already powered the world’s first broad-scale 5G network at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. At MWC 2018, Intel also showed off a 5G 2 in 1 concept device (see below) and announced partnerships with Dell, Lenovo, HP and Microsoft to bring new 5G-connected PCs with XMM 8000 series modems to market in the second half of 2019.
3. 5G is the key to a world of new experiences
Faster data transmission will offer us more than just the ability to watch YouTube on our smartphones. It will enable a whole new range of experiences. These will include connected cars (with seamless In-Car 5G mobile payments technology); enhanced sport (augmenting live events with real-time, multi-angle streaming video); even mobile VR (5G’s fast speeds and ultra-low latency will allow immersive gameplay from anywhere).
4. Mobile connectivity will make our cities smart
Our cities are complex and often chaotic, difficult to monitor and control. But the arrival of 5G will change all that. It will usher in a new era of internet-enabled sensors that can track and analyse factors such as environmental health, weather, traffic and parking.
GE CityIQ Intelligent Nodes now being installed in smart streetlights across the world use Intel IoT technology to gather data on weather conditions, crowd and traffic density, even gunshots. The Bosch Climo AQM, meanwhile, helps cities manage air quality by measuring key air pollutants. This information can be fed into systems like the Volteo SmartCity Manager to provide a near real-time, integrated, operational view of a city, one that can help enhance public safety, security, and livability.
5. Holographic displays will blow your mind
Kino-mo’s propellor-powered holograms have to be seen to believed. This British-made system is capable of displaying 3D video content that seems to hover in mid-air like some Blade Runner 2049 advert. See it for yourself in the video below.
6. Old technology never dies…
Our fondness for old technology is often better than the reality of using it again. But that doesn’t stop some companies from dragging out old ideas, designs or badges and retooling them for a modern audience. Think Grant Sinclair’s revamped C5 e-trike, the NES Classic Edition and that Linux-powered AtariBox.
So you shouldn’t be surprised that Nokia has resurrected the 8110 ‘banana phone’, a handset launched back in 1996 that found fame when it appeared in The Matrix movie with Keanu Reeves. The redesigned mobile comes with 4G and retains its signature sliding keypad cover.
It’s not the only classic bit of kit to rise from the digitally dead. The Gemini PDA reimagines the QWERTY keyboard-equipped Psion 5 as a 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth-equipped Android device, while the crowdfunded Acorn Micro C5 phone reminds us that the tech brand that once brought us the BBC Micro is still going. Albeit in name only.
From holograms to throwback PDAs, MWC 2018 seemingly had everything.