Friday 13 April 2018

Mobile World Congress (MWC) Coverage

Mobile World Congress is the biggest event for new phone launches & concept releases for phone manufacturers and other companies showcasing advancement in Mobile technology. It’s held in Barcelona annually and this year there were quite a few releases that were worth having a look at.

Starting off with the Asus’s iPhone X or Zenfone 5 & 5Z as they like to call it where the inspiration went a “notch” higher in terms of the phone design. Blatantly copying the front notch and the rear camera setup from the iPhone X, Asus even agreed they’re doing what people asked for in an Android phone. The Zenfone 5 has a 90% screen to body ratio but an LCD screen instead of OLED. The camera is similar to the HTC U11 in terms of specs so you won't be disappointed & they’ve put so much AI into it, it’ll (or so they say!) blow your mind. And it’s still got the headphone jack! The last nail in the coffin is the 5Z, which will be half the price of the iPhone X with the latest version of Android!

Next up was Sony. Their phone designs have been outdated for ages but we were glad to see the XZ2 & XZ2 compact (for big people with small hands? #POTUS) show up looking stylishly modern with 18:9 screens & curvier bodies. As an audiophile this is the phone I’d want to buy thanks to the Surround speakers. Brownie points for going 1 up on Samsung showcasing how 960fps slow-mo is done! Also, 4K HDR support on the rear cam is badass! They also spent some money on Dynamic Vibration System which is a just a new vibrator that can distract you while watching your favorite movies or videos!

Rewind to the scene from the 90s Matrix movie when Neo gets a curved looking Nokia phone in an envelope & slides it open. Nokia relaunched the same Banana phone, the 8110 and made it yellow! They’ve also thrown in a Snake (the game, duh! ) with the Banana. Some upgrade on the inside of the phone would have helped but Nokia doesnt think so, besides the massive 2 megapixel camera that is. It’ll cost you close to the actual cost of 500 bananas (€80). The Nokia 1 on the other hand runs the on Android Go that's light and fast Android for low spec phones.

Then there was a mid range pretty looking Nokia 6 carved out of a single aluminium block, the Nokia 7 Plus both of which run on Android Oreo and provides the Vanilla Android experience via Android One. The main feature of the 7 Plus is the dual camera setup provided by Carl Zeiss & let’s you click a Bothie. The Nokia 8 Sirocco meanwhile the most powerful of the lot and with the same camera features and Bothie option that lets you click a picture from the front and the rear camera at the same time so you can show everyone what you’re looking at while they look at you and your view, while you were not looking at them!

Moving on to Sammy’s S9 & S9 Plus which were launched just before the MWC, but displayed at the event. They claim to have reimagined only the camera by adding a second lens because they had no idea how to reimagine the whole phone from last year! The camera works like your eyes and can change aperture based on light conditions so you can shoot better in low light. The 960 fps slow motion means those unwanted friends stay longer in your videos. Bixby has now learnt new languages & translate it live for you since you decided English is just fine all over the world. It also gives nutritional info on the healthy food you eat at McDonalds! 

Then there’s a taste of Augmented reality where AR emoji inspired from Animoji can be setup on your phone where you’re the main character in the cartoon movie you’re about to make with your friends. Most importantly the 3.5mm headphone jack is still there and the fingerprint sensor has magically moved beneath the camera making it usable again! There’s also IRIS unlock if you’re into those sort of things!

There were a few concept phones as well...

ZTE showcased the folding Axon M phone with a dual screen where you can either duplicate the 5.2” screen or extend it to make a 7” device. You can also use 2 apps at the same time on separate screens so your partner can watch their TV show while you watch some highlights from the game last night! There’s no rear camera but a 20MP front camera which you can actually use as a rear camera because the screen fold of course. There are high chances the screen will be scratched in your pocket or wherever you keep it really & if you drop it, that should be the end of it!

Moving on to the toast popping Vivo Apex phone where the hidden front camera was the star of the show. The Chinese powerhouse Vivo took a giant stride by showcasing a proof of concept bezel-less display phone! The front camera hides inside the top edge while the earpiece is underneath the glass. The fingerprint sensor covers almost half the screen which can take 2 impressions at the same time making it even more secure. This is still a concept and final designs could be radically different, but we are excited about the future of smartphones!

Last but not the least - Energizer (The pink bunny with a drum!). They launched a sixteen thousand mAh power bank, the Power Max P16K Pro which also has a camera & can make calls! It’s actually a phone which is also quite heavy at 350 gms so you can use it at the gym as a dumbell. No it can’t charge you Tesla or any other device for that matter which is a shame! 

Now just 10 months left until the next one, can't wait!

Pritesh Khilnani

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