Mobile World Congress 2013: A report from the floor
Mobile World Congress 2013A report from the floorInsights from MWC 2013, the worlds biggest mobileevent – coverage of the latest mobile devices andoperating systems as well as trends in mobile retail,mobile payments and enterprise mobility.
2IntroductionThis edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was the 8th time the event has been organized inBarcelona – Golden Gekko’s home turf – and gathered more than 72,000 visitors and 1,700 companiesacross 94,000 square meters of exhibition space.For those attending, MWC is always a busy time of year – full of back-to-back meetings, late night dinnersand non-stop networking. On the floor it’s a constant buzz of talking, listening, smiling, searching forWI-FI, socializing, catch-ups, demonstrations and endless queues for bad sandwiches.And although there was no sight of Apple or Google – besides a device at every booth – the mobile sectoris exploding and for those of you could did not attend, we’ve collected the latest and greatest for you!
3DevicesSamsung Galaxy Note 8.0As usual Samsung is killing the competition in terms ofpopularity and this year they didn’t even need any big deviceannouncements (the Galaxy S4 is launching 15 March attheir own location NY instead). In any case, the family ofnew Android devices with 7 and 8-inch screen tablets (andphablets) look more and more promising and although this isnot an iPad killer it is most definitely a great alternative.NokiaOn Monday Nokia introduced the Nokia Lumia 520, theNokia Lumia 720, the Nokia 301 and the Nokia 105. Thenew devices are Nokias most affordable Windows Phone 8smartphone (Nokia 520 priced at €345 and the Nokia 720 at€200) and lowest-priced mobile phone (Nokia 301 priced at€65 and the Nokia 105 at €15). More from Nokia here.
4DevicesBigger screens, smaller screens and (now) no screensFor a while smartphone screens have been getting bigger and tablet screens have been getting smaller, but this week we came across the nextgeneration of user interface solutions with Neonode.By applying Neonode’s long and short range proximity sensors to a mobile phone cover, or simply build it directly into a device, the mobile userinterface (UI) and device control is no longer confined to the industry standard 4-10” 2-dimensional window. Any angle or surface of a portabledevice can now be multi-touch and proximity enabled – front, sides and back. This innovation provides a whole new type of extended andaugmented user experience, called Proximity Devices. The user experience is extended well beyond the device’s physical borders, and on to thesurrounding surface, allowing the user to interact with the UI in an intuitive way. Check out some demo videos hereDevices with muscleJust as some people are put on this earth to create things, others are prone to destroy everything they touch. Those people should probablyspend some time with the Caterpillar-branded CAT B15, an aluminum-and-rubber-clad Android smartphone. Check out a demo video here.Then there’s the Kyocera Torque, users can have an ultratough handset and still have a modern smartphone. So unlike the Kyocera Hydro thatwas released this past summer, it isn’t only waterproof, but it fulfills military specs for durability, too.Other device launches• LG Optimus Vu II – 5-inch display and more squared than the Galaxy Note II but does it fit in the pocket?• Sony Xperia Tablet Z – super thin and apparently survives a fast dip in water• LG Optimus G Pro Superphone – bigger and better or just another super-techy phone?• Asus Phonepad – a tablet you can call with• HP launched a 7.1 Android tablet which was a bit surprising to us and less surprisingly reviews have been mixed• For more information about devices launches, see CNET’s report here.
5OSMulti-OSThanks to Windows Phone, Mozilla OS and lesserextent Blackberry there is a big discussion aboutwhether there might be space for more OS eventhough Android and iOS is still dominating.Windows PhoneLots of focus on Windows Phone 8 thanks toa combination of Microsoft being a platinumsponsor of the congress, Nokia launching newWP8 devices, HTC pushing windows phone andtalks about Windows Phone vs Mozilla OS vsBlackberry as the 3rd OS. Our experience fromall the devices we tested is that Windows Phone 8is a very competitive OS and has a good chanceof becoming the winner.
6Mozilla Firefox OSMozilla has become a popular underdog supported by the launch of a low cost ZTE device and 18 operators saying theywill launch Mozilla devices in 2013. So far the reviews from media and developers have been good but is it enough? Wewill continue to watch closely. Here are some articles to read up on the topic.Tizen OSWhen you thought there were enough mobile phone OS platforms, Samsung has confirmed that the first Tizen deviceswill be launched with Docomo and Orange second half of 2013. Tizen was actually announced about a year agoreplacing the previous initiative called LiMo. Tizen OS is the foundation for Bada OS from v2.0 and onwards as well asthe basis for several other open source platforms. The goal is for Tizen to be interoperable with other HTML5 initiativessuch as Firefox OS.Other OS newsIn other news HP has sold WebOS to LG who will be using it for Smart TVs. Here’s what CNET has to say about it.Finally Ubuntu presented their mobile OS Ubuntu for Phones and although we still think it’s a long way from being aserious contender on the mobile OS stage it’s got a very slick UI based on the desktop Unity interface.
7Enterprise MobilityMobile Device Management (MDM)Ever thought about how a company with10.000+ people manages all the mobiledevices and business applicationsthe employees carry? A big theme forMWC 2013 is mobility managementand security services. Leading MDMproviders AirWatch and Mobile Iron bothhad impressive stands Hall 3 where theywere showing off their products andservices.During MWC AirWatch announced a$200m Series A funding – the largestinvestment in an enterprise company sofar in 2013. Read more here.Also, congratulations to Mobile Iron forreceiving the GSMA “Best EnterpriseMobile Service” Award.
8Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP)In enterprise everyone (SAP, IBM, Oracle, etc) are talking about MEAP (mobile enterprise application platforms) as the must have butfor businesses. We think it’s mainly a buzzy 4 letter abbreviation for a packaged solution based on legacy platforms, web services andHTML5 but let’s see if there is any substance.Mobile Application Management (MAM)Smartphones and tablets aren’t “smart” on their own. These devices provide the platform for applications that make them more valuable totheir users. And these applications are increasing points of vulnerability for businesses that let users attach their devices onto corporatenetworksSecurityAt MWC we met with Symantec to discuss the Symantec Sealed Program that helps enterprises accelerate a BYOD strategy and trustedenvironment for your mobile workforce. With the Symantec Sealed program, developers can focus on app development, while Symantecdelivers enterprise-class security, authentication, encryption, and content controls.Dual Personality (Home & Work)We had the chance see a demo of a new “dual-personality” technology for Android devices known as KNOX. Built by Samsung andnamed after Fort Knox, home to the US Bullion Depository, KNOX is well positioned to take over Blackberry market share while currentBB enterprises think twice about migrating to Blackberry 10.KNOX provides two separate app environments for employees, one for personal use and the other for corporate use. By clicking on anicon on the home screen, employees can access corporate apps for tasks like email, calendaring, and file sharing which are stored in acloud-based secure portal. Samsung plans to launch an enterprise trial of KNOX aboard the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, built rightinto the hardware for added security. More details here.
9RetailNFC, NFC, NFC…GSMA, Visa, Mastercard, Samsung and quite a few other brands and operators are pushing NFC but is it ready to become aserious enabler for payments, ticketing and other transactions? Based on what we hear from the floor the answer is still no,but it’s great that the industry keeps pushing for innovation, standardization and simplification.Mobile point of saleBoth PayPal and Visa launched their POS services. Interesting opportunity for retailers to equip their staff with a mobiledevice, PayPal (PayPay Here) or Visa (Visa Ready) credit card readers and lets them lose. Why does retail staff have to sitbehind a cashier? Engage with the customer on the sales floor, enhance the shopping experience and embrace the AppleStore model.
10Mobile ticketingAfter several years of slow adoption, mobile ticketing is experiencing a boom. As we’ve got several projects running inthis space we spent some extra time looking evaluating different solutions.Check out Mobill in particular, for some ofthe leading implementations in the world for the major transportation companies in Sweden. This may give some ideasof what the future will look like and yes, SMS is still a very good bearer.Über-targeted advertisingCompanies are maximizing engagement success with relevance, reach and valuable analytical insights via targetedadvertising models. Yoose helps leading brands and agencies to effectively target and engage mobile consumers ona hyper-local level.Exploring consumer trust in appsMEF organized a breakfast meeting on how to gain consumers’ trust in mobile apps. With high profile news reports offraud and invasion of privacy, the industry must demonstrate it is up to the challenge.Some interesting numbers were:• 70% of users have not downloaded or have erased an app because of privacy issues• Only 37% of users of comfortable with sharing personal data
Cool Stuff 11We saw robots!Completely outside of our field but gyroscope manufacturer Maxim has come up with agreat way of showing off their not-so-exciting gyroscopes that are used in many devices. Inaddition to displaying the gyroscopes in the stand they had 2 robots moving around to showthe difference in the latest imaging-stabilizing technology using gyroscopes. Geek out here.Surround sound headphonesQualcomm and DTS have shown off a new audio technology that is likely to make the need tohave impressive headphones a thing of the past. One of the coolest demo’s of the week wasthe DTS demonstration of their software/SDK that makes mid range headphones ($40) soundlike a $10.000 audio surround sound system. Dr. Dre is not going to be happy about this.Real size ‘Connected City’A new theme this year was Smart Mobile City which was a huge stand built as a city streetorganized by GSMA, Samsung, AT&T, and Ericsson and more. Here you can experience thelatest technology and future trends in smart homes, robots, cars, scooters, public transport,eco food bins, energy efficiency, M2M and more. We want to live in the future!A new theme this year was Smart Mobile City which was a huge stand built as a city streetorganized by GSMA, Samsung, AT&T, and Ericsson and more. Here you can experience thelatest technology and future trends in smart homes, robots, cars, scooters, public transport,eco food bins, energy efficiency, M2M and more.We want to live in the future!
12More Cool StuffAugmented reality gogglesThe product of an experiment by the R&D department at Brilliantservice, a Japan-based app development house, thesenameless goggles were on display here at Mobile World Congress in order to showcase the company’s Viking operatingsystem for headsets. The Viking prototype AR goggles will never come to market. Instead, Brilliantservice is looking topartner with a hardware developer who can work with the company to design and manufacture a hadset that uses the VikingOS.Stunning standsAnother fascinating trend this year is the size and the sophistication of the exhibition stands. Display technology has trulychanged our experience with walls and logos constantly evolving and changing. Check out the Motorola stand in particular.Magic!Nokia CinemagraphNokia Cinemagraph was actually launched a while ago but the technology is now available in all the top Lumia devices andit’s incredible. Take a group photo with your friends and there is always one person looking the wrong way or with their eyesshut. The sensor and software technology used is simply amazing – check it out.