New trends and innovations aplenty at MWC 2018
By Chong Jinn Xiung March 2, 2018
- Battle of flagship smartphones rages on
- Retro fashion and the notch gain popularity
INTERESTING developments have been going on at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona. While we are not present on site this year, nevertheless we still like to keep our eye on the new products and innovations that were showcased.
Here is a quick collection of some of the interesting stories that we found interesting this year’s conference.
Battle of the flagships
MWC 2018 would not be complete if smartphone manufacturers did not show off their latest flagship devices.
As you would come to expect Samsung introduced its much anticipated Galaxy S9 and S9+, Nokia had its Nokia 8 Sirocco, Sony introduced its new Xperia XZ2 while LG showcased the V30S.
Right off the bat, nearly all the phones looked amazing in their own unique ways though most chose to play it safe. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ look very similar to last year’s Galaxy S8 model while the Nokia 8 Sirocco opted to trim its bezels further to create a sleek blend of glass and metal. Meanwhile, Sony’s Xperia XZ2 subtly adds more curves around the side to give it greater symmetry on a whole.
Universally, they teased quality 18:9 aspect ratio full displays of various sizes. Samsung’s Galaxy S9+ boasts the largest screen among them with a towering 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display, so if its size you are looking for this the phone for you.
Most of the phones have similar specs running on top end processors though the LG V30S and Nokia 8 Sirocco are running on last year’s Qualcomm 835 processor while the Samsung Galaxy S9 series are likely to run on the latest Exynos 9810 and Sony’s Xperia XZ2 has the latest Snapdragon 845 processor.
Another common feature of the flagships is improved optics. Nearly all bring something new to the table with Samsung’s Galaxy S9 boasting an adjustable aperture that switches between f/1.5 for low light and f/2.4 for better lit photos. The LG V30S meanwhile boasts built-in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to recognise subjects and scenes.
Retro is gold
HDM Global, the home of Nokia phones, banked on nostalgia once again this year. The company proved once again that retro really sells in today’s market as it resurrected yet another feature phone in 2018 with the Nokia 8110.
Best known as the “Matrix” phone, popularised by its feature in the science fiction hit of the late 1990s, the 8110 is an odd shaped slider phone that has been updated with 4G capabilities though it keeps to the original design with actual physical buttons for navigating and dialling.
It is still very much a feature phone running on the KaiOS, but you can expect to get apps for your favourite services like Facebook, Google Assistant, Maps, Twitter and yes, even Snake.
Once again, the Nokia 8110 is not a phone that is entirely usable in today’s context but it can be a good weekend phone if you want to “unplug”.
The Notch is in fashion
Taking the most notable physical feature of the iPhone X and putting it on your phone is a surefire way to get attention. That’s exactly what Asus did with its ZenFone 5.
Put the ZenFone 5 and the iPhone X side by side and you will probably get a lot of confused looks, but the Asus model somehow manages to shave the notch’s size down by 26% giving the 6.2-inch screen a higher 90% screen-to-body ratio.
Just because it is hip these days, Asus has also touted that the phone is enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) functions that improve the display, camera, charging and learning photos.
Speaking of the camera the ZenFone 5 also features dual-cameras with a 12-Megapixel f/1.8 main camera complemented by a 120-degree wide angle secondary camera.
The phone will come in several variants but the highest end model sports the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Huawei uses AI to power driverless car
Artificial Intelligence is everywhere these days and it is making its way into phones. One of the world’s biggest mobile device manufacturers Huawei plans to use an AI-powered smartphone to drive a car.
The company had previously introduced AI into its latest Kirin 970 processors that helped smartphones like the Mate 10 Pro. It had demonstrated that with AI its camera is able to automatically recognise objects like cats, dogs, food and other subjects to help people take better-looking photos.
This time around the ‘RoadReader’ project intends to take Huawei’s object recognition technology to the next level, entrusting an AI to power a driverless car by using its fast image recognition capability and using it to avoid obstructions.
Impressively, Huawei claims it managed to train its AI within just five weeks help driverless cars avoid obstacles on the road in a split second. Huawei even brought a Porsche powered by its Mate 10 Pro to MWC 2018 to prove that its technology is smart enough to drive a car.