Mobile World Congress 2015 is over, and it was one hell of a show. It’s a bit frustrating that we’re never able to see everything, but we are leaving the show knowing that we have seen and touched most of the best gadgets that just came out. Phones, wearables or new technologies were abundant, and we are already thinking about MWC 2016! If you haven’t had time to follow this on a daily basis, don’t miss what we think were the top 10 things at MWC this year, in no particular order. You can also catch up with all the MWC 2015 coverage.
Samsung Galaxy S6 & Galaxy S6 Edge
Without a doubt the “star” of the show, the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have generated a lot of buzz. With a brand new design “from the ground up”, the fastest processor and possibly the best camera the S6 has come and conquered. Most of the other phone announcements at the show were in the mid-range market, with the exception of HTC with the HTC One M9, which is good looking, but facing a tough time competing against the S6.
LG Urbane Watch
Urbane is LG’s first smart watch that is powered by WebOS, LG’s in-house operating system which is already shipping with televisions. Unlike the watches powered by Google’s Android Wear, the LG Urbane can be used to place phone calls (yes, it has an SIM card and is an LTE device) and it comes with an ingenious, fully functional, keyboard to do just that. The design is obviously a huge step forward when compared to the past generation and leaves the “sporty” look behind in favor of something that one could wear with a suit or dress shirt.
Huawei TalkBand B2
The TalkBand B2 is a Smart Band that also doubles as a Bluetooth headset. The idea was initially introduced with the B1 band from Huawei, and it solves a couple of problems. First, when you get a phone call, chances are good that you don’t know where your BT headset is, especially if you don’t want to look dorky wearing it at all times. Secondly, smart bands have a very poor retention rate (below 60%), and being a BT headset is one more reason to have and use the band. Huawei claims a retention rate of more than 80%. The B2 version gets a new design which is more universal (less “sporty”) and should make it wearable at work as well.
Qualcomm Sense ID
The introduction of modern fingerprint readers has increased the convenience of unlocking one’s phone and replaced annoying passwords which add friction to any user interfacee. However, the current generation of readers relies on what is basically a 2D image of the fingerprint. They can be hacked and are somewhat prone to false-positive. Qualcomm’s Sense ID uses ultrasounds to create a 3D image of the fingerprint, with ridges and skin pores. This is so much more information that it should reduce false positive. As a perk, the technology can be completely hidden behind glass or metal, making the reader invisible.
Lenovo Vibe Shot
The Vibe Shot is a device that was built for mobile photography lovers. The idea is to provide a great looking smartphone with a thin design, and at the same time build a compact-camera like photo experience with a good optics and photo sensor system that includes optical stabilization – all of that at roughly half the price of a recent high-end phone. This is not easy to do, but Lenovo has done some really interesting work here.
Sony XPERIA Z4 Tablet
At first glance, the XPERIA Z4 Tablet has a typical “Sony” industrial design language, but when you pick it up, it is freakinglishly light weight, which makes using a 10-inch tablet that much more natural, especially with one hand. For those who want to be more productive, there’s an optional keyboard attachment that will make typing a much more productive activity. Sony claims 17 hours of video playback, which is kind of nutty – we can wait to put this claim to the test.
HTC Vive VR Headset
The HTC Vive was a good surprise at MWC 2015: Peter Chou firmly believes that VR will revolutionize the way people interact with apps etc, and while we would be much more cautious about it, we do admire his willingness to build hardware to that end. HTC has worked with Valve to build a surprisingly comfortable VR headset that rivals or outperforms previous models. Now don’t forget that both Sony and Oculus are showing new stuff at GDC as well, so it looks like we’re in for a new round of VR headset comparisons.
Microsoft Folding Keyboard
There’s no escaping it: writing text on mobile devices is quite painful, but carrying and booting a laptop may not be better. Having a BT keyboard is always a hot solution either because it’s big. But what if it was fold-able and pretty good to type on? Then yes, that’s a proposition that we want to hear about, and this is exactly what the Microsoft Folding Keyboard does.
HP Spectre X360 Transforming Laptop
It’s well known that 2-in-1 tablet/laptop devices are often bulkier, heavier, and not always as elegant as a pure laptop, although they do get the job done when one needs a real tablet. But what if such a device was nicer than a lot of laptops? The HP Spectre X360 proves that it is possible to build such a computer, and HP surely should get some kudos for it.
Sandisk 200GB microSD card
SanDisk is pretty much the origin of Flash storage, so it’s not surprising that the company comes out with stuff like this: a 200 GB MicroSD card which is smaller than postage stamp. Now power users have no excuse (except for the money of course) to now have all the storage they need, and a little more. 4K videos now have a new place to call home.