Tapas, wine and sunshine are reasons enough to visit Barcelona, Spain. For a lucky few tech bloggers and journalists, there is also the Mobile World Congress where every manner and type of gadget and tech can be found. Won’t make the show? Pour a glass of Cava and taste Tapscape’s top 10 hottest gadget list, which is chock full of (virtual) Spanish sunshine.
10. Mo’ Better Mobile Processors — “Build it and they will come” or just more examples of companies throwing shtuff against the wall to see what sticks? For example, Qualcom’s next-gen Snapdragon processor will include 7.1 audio replication and 4K video playback, which will sound (earbuds?) and look (5-inch screen?) great on your mobile device.
Meanwhile, nVidia’s future forward Tegra 4 offers real-time HDR photo processing, which makes it good at something that was really cool last year.
09. Mo’ Better Tablets — HP revealed its $169 Slate 7, which is cheap and generally slick looking. Nevertheless, you have got to wonder about the build quality as similarly priced Kindle Fire and B&N Nook tablet/reader thingies definitely feel cheap.
Sony’s Xperia Tablet, which starts at $499, is an example of a real tablet unveiled at MWC. Yes, it’s just another Android slab, but it’s also waterproof and features Sony style, a very good thing considering how uninspiring Sony mobile products have been of late.
08. Easily Secure Mobile Shopping — People love shopping on mobile devices, especially tablets. Paddle is an iOS app that advertises easier and safer mobile shopping. The way this works is that commerce sites will add Paddle “buy” check out buttons along with a QR code, creating a quick, easy and, so they say, more secure way to purchase.
Sound confusing? The bottom line here is that online shopping, especially on a mobile device, is fiddly and the company that can come up with a slicker and more focussed way to relieve us of our money will win. Are we there yet?
07. Sexy Pay Forever Music On the Go — Listen to Spotify in your Sync Applink equipped Ford! The 2013 EcoSport will be the first vehicle later this year to offer Spotify Applink integration. Perhaps the real news here is that Ford is extending its mobile/auto integration with improved voice recognition and that’s worth getting excited about.
06. A Phone That Is Just Phone — Mind. Completely. Blown. Here is an absolutely brilliant idea whose time had come, gone and is now back. The Nokia 105 is just a phone, costs only about $20 and holds a 35-day (standby) charge. Sounds like the (nearly) perfect compliment to my iPad.
Maybe if Nokia offers “just a phone” with an espresso maker. Extra foam, please…
05. Firefox OS — The one thing the world needs more of is fragmentation. Or, put another way, how about a mobile operating system that unifies app development by requiring HTML5? That’s the nut of the idea behind Mozilla’s Firefox OS, which got lots of time on the Mobile World Congress catwalk. It’s a beautiful idea, but will people, not to mention developers, actually buy into?
04. Integrated Solar Charger — Do you still use standalone calculator? If yes, there is a high probability that it’s the self-powered variety a small strip of solar cells on it, brilliant. France’s Wysips was demoing a cheap transparent photovoltaic film that can be installed on a mobile device’s display.
It can charge a (low-power?) device using sunlight or even ambient indoor light — click “buy” now.
03. Biometric Security — The old security saw goes, ‘Given access and time, any computer can be hacked.’ With Fujitsu’s new flagship phone, the Arrows V F-04E, that might be less true as the built-in fingerprint scanner means a hacker will need both the device itself and your finger to get inside, attached or otherwise, which is a new and gnarly twist.
In a nutshell, biometric security is coming to every computing, mobile and otherwise.
02. Apple’s Next Big Thing(s) — No everyone’s favorite Cupertino, California-based fruit company didn’t have an official presence at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Nevertheless, Apple’s rumored iPhone 6 and iPhone mini dominate much of the discussion at the event.
01. The Phablet — On the subject of Apple, how important is the phablet trend? Samsung has placed a big bet on the trend and their latest roll of the neither phone nor tablet meme sweepstakes is the Galaxy Note 8, an 8-inch device sure generate guffaws every time the users hold it up to his ear.
Larger and perhaps even more ridiculous still is the Asus PadFone Infinity, which is a 10.7-inch tablet with phone functionality built in.
That said, the point of these big and growing phone + tablet devices is mobile computing and not the phone per se. Fundamentally, “phone service” as a separate, chargeable bit of functionality is going away, while IP-based talk will soon be part of every computer and maybe even or refrigerators, too.
Which Mobile World Congress tools and/or technologies caught your eye made your personal Top 10 Gadget list?