MWC Highlights Advanced Mobile Technology, Virtual Reality

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-02-29
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    MWC Highlights Advanced Mobile Technology, Virtual Reality
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    MWC Highlights Advanced Mobile Technology, Virtual Reality

    At Mobile World Congress, there was an abundance of intriguing products and technologies. Here are some of the more appealing products showcased at MWC.
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    Huawei Takes On Hybrid PCs
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    Huawei Takes On Hybrid PCs

    The Huawei MateBook is specifically designed for corporate customers and has hybrid PCs in its crosshairs. The device has a metal finish and runs on Windows 10. It has a 12-inch display, runs on Intel's Core M processor and comes with up to 512GB of storage. The MateBook's appeal is based in part on its touch display, which can be plugged into a keyboard to convert it into a notebook. Hybrids and Huawei are exceedingly popular right now. Huawei developing an attractive hybrid makes that device's chances of success even greater.
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    MWC Brings 360-Degree Cameras Into Focus
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    MWC Brings 360-Degree Cameras Into Focus

    A number of 360-degree cameras were on display showing why virtual reality will soon become more prominent in a variety of applications. Samsung announced the Gear 360, featuring dual fisheye cameras. LG also unveiled a 360-degree camera, called the LG 360 Cam. Both devices are designed to help game developers, video producers and consumers create virtual environments that can be explored with virtual-reality headsets.
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    Project Tango Breaks Out
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    Project Tango Breaks Out

    Augmented reality technology has been under development under Google's Project Tango for a long time. MWC gave attendees a chance to see how impressive augmented reality could be. At the show, Google allowed users to employ Project Tango's technology to navigate the Barcelona National Art Museum. The tour guided users through a maze of artwork and provided insight into points of interest along the way. The idea was to show what Project Tango and augmented reality could eventually deliver to users. And it impressed those who tried it out.
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    Hardware VPNs Go Mobile
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    Hardware VPNs Go Mobile

    Mobile security was a major topic at MWC, and it was highlighted by a hardware-based VPN called Keezel. The $99 device is designed to ensure privacy regardless of location. Users simply connect through Keezel to get online. Meanwhile, one of its wireless controllers provides security across to the Internet through a handful of VPN services. The device is ideal for those who want encrypted communication on an unsecured network.
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    There Was Plenty of High-End Smartphones
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    There Was Plenty of High-End Smartphones

    An MWC roundup wouldn't be complete without mentioning the high-end smartphones on display at the event. Chief among those devices were the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and the LG G5. All of the handsets feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor; big, beautiful displays; and nice designs. LG has even added a modularity feature to the G5 that lets users tack on a camera or audio module for additional functionality. Samsung's and LG's handsets stole the show.
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    Advanced Mobile Cameras Were a Hot Topic
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    Advanced Mobile Cameras Were a Hot Topic

    Mobile camera technology was another hot product category at the show. The LG G5 is particularly impressive, featuring a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with the standard 78-degree lens. However, there's a second camera on back featuring 8 megapixels. The second camera delivers a wider angle (135 degrees) to get more into a single frame. Samsungs Galaxy S7 comes with a dual-pixel sensor that is typically found in high-end digital-SLRs. That feature, which tries to eliminate blurry photos, is complemented by better performance in low-light conditions.
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    HP Introduces Windows 10 Mobile Smartphone
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    HP Introduces Windows 10 Mobile Smartphone

    HP made the somewhat surprising decision to announce a Windows 10-based handset at Mobile World Congress. Dubbed the HP Elite X3, the smartphone runs on the Snapdragon 820 and is "specifically created for business." In fact, it takes all of the business features users have liked in Windows 10, including Continuum—the ability to keep working on a Windows 10 PC after connecting the smartphone to the computer—that could help the operating system attract more enterprise customers.
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    Virtual Reality Products in the Spotlight
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    Virtual Reality Products in the Spotlight

    As expected, virtual reality was prominently displayed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance at Samsung's event to talk about his support for Samsung's Gear VR. Meanwhile, HTC finally took the wraps off its Vive VR headset, which will be available for $799 later this year. Several other companies, including Facebook-owned Oculus and Sony, will also compete in the VR market this year.
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    Xiaomi Makes Another Impressive Smartphone Push
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    Xiaomi Makes Another Impressive Smartphone Push

    Chinese companies were out in full force at MWC, and Xiaomi arguably had the best showing. The company unveiled the Mi 5, its latest and greatest smartphone. It's powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 and has a "3D ceramic body." The smartphone supports super-fast 4G LTE at 600M bps, features near-field communications (NFC) and comes with quick-charging technology. Its design is top-notch. Like other Xiaomi handsets, the Mi5 runs on Android, but the company employs its MIUI user interface to add some differentiation.
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    Wearables Seemed to Be Everywhere
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    Wearables Seemed to Be Everywhere

    Several major companies, including Garmin, LG and Samsung, showcased new and impressive wearables. Those devices include smartwatches, fitness trackers, headsets and even sneakers. Simply put, there was no shortage of wearables at the show, lending more credence to market analyst predictions that many more wearables will be hitting store shelves this year.
 

There were some surprises at this year's Mobile World Congress along with the predictable fare that included everything from wearable computers to hardware-based virtual private networks (VPNs) to virtual-reality headsets. There was also an array of devices on display that give hints into what the mobile industry will look like in 2016 and beyond. Among the surprises was the huge presence Chinese mobile companies had at the show with the introduction of a number of impressive devices, particularly the Huawei MateBook. Meanwhile, HP made a bid for a bigger stake in the smartphone market with its Elite x3 handset that runs Windows 10. Google's long-awaited Project Tango showed why augmented reality will soon be more widely deployed in a variety of applications. There were even some 360-degree cameras that will enable users to create virtual environments. This slide show covers some of the major trends and particularly appealing products that were showcased at MWC. Collectively, they convey a promise of bigger and better things for the mobile industry.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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