Live from Mobile World Congress - Day 2

Today we had a look around at the halls we didn’t get the chance to see yesterday and we got a real sense of just how diverse the world of mobile is. It’s not just the new mobile phones and tablets you see – it’s everything behind them; the display units, the glass screen protecting them, the security systems behind fingerprint scanners and everything in between. The amount of research, testing and development that goes into all of these individual pieces of the puzzle is mind boggling and we’re glad to see it all in action at MWC this year.

Lifeproof / Adventure Proof / Waterproof
Although ‘lifeproof’ devices have been around now for some time (Nokia 5210, anyone?), it seems to be a bit of a trend this year. No matter what phrase you use for it, it all boils down to the same thing in the end – a product that you can take with you anywhere you go, including the places you couldn’t before. Until fairly recently, getting your phone wet was the stuff of nightmares, but we’ve seen several advancements today where the elements of the earth are far less of a threat to our precious tech.

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Take the above for instance – that’s a fully operational computer (Raspberry Pi) submerged under water, and it still works! Perhaps in the future you’ll never need to worry about dropping your phone down the toilet (yep… it does happen), your kid spilling juice over your laptop, or even just using your phone outside in the pouring rain to call a taxi. Not that we ever need to do that in sunny Britain.

And taking it to the extreme, how about a virtually indestructible mobile phone? That’s where the CAT S60 comes in. Along with its sibling phones, it can survive pretty much anything you throw at it – including the heavy construction vehicles that CAT are known for. It’s built to withstand drops onto concrete from 1.8 meters and to survive 5 meters under water for up to an hour. It even has a thermal imaging camera to help identify over-heating electrical appliances or detect heat loss around doors or windows. Or you could just use it for a cool selfie See what we did there?

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Audio
Over the last few years, phone manufacturers have begun incorporating more capable audio processing chips in their handsets, but LG have gone a step further with their newly announced G5 smartphone. They’ve partnered with the legendary Bang & Olufsen to create the ‘Hi-Fi Plus’ audio module, which may lead to consumers demanding more from their headphones. Inevitably, this is going to lead to some exciting innovations in headphone technology.

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On one hand you have headphones such as the AKG N90Q which were available for testing at the ‘Harman’ booth – a high quality pair of cans that sound absolutely incredible and a real treat for any audiophile, and on the other hand you have sport earphones that can measure your heartbeat (like the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds, which you can get free when you pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 edge on our 3GB or higher tariffs), or headphones that can pause your music automatically if they sense that you’ve taken them off your ears.

We think headphones will continue to get a lot smarter in the future, perhaps tracking your running route and giving you directions, or one day let you make and receive calls without even needing your phone with you? Who knows, but innovation like that is music to our ears.

Experimentation
Something we love seeing at events such as MWC is experimentation – it might not lead to big or great things, but sometimes it’s just really, really cool. Google has that in spades at MWC this year, with an outdoor booth dedicated entirely to experiments. What really caught our eye here was their ‘IOIO Plotter’.

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A photo, taken on a phone, has a special filter applied and is sent via NFC to one of the coolest little robot artists you’ll ever see – but don’t take our word for it, check out the video below:

 

Who wouldn’t want to have one of these at a party? Everyone would want their portraits done – in fact, we’re going back to the Google booth tomorrow, to collect ours and have it framed.

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Days 3 and 4
Now that we’ve visited all 8 halls, we’re going to focus our attention on Virtual Reality and the world of wearables over the next two days. Both of these themes are massive at MWC this year and, thanks to a Twitter poll we recently ran, it seems you feel the same way too.

So stay tuned for our next MWC blog tomorrow and remember, if you’d like to be kept updated about the new tech that’s coming to O2, just head to http://o2.uk/Updates.