MWC 2019: Tech of the near-future

by Rob Duke | Mar 06, 2019
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Every year, Mobile World Congress gives us the opportunity to check out the most awe-inspiring gadgets of the near-future. Here’s the most impressive stuff we saw in Barcelona last week.

Foldable smartphones 

There’s been a huge buzz around foldable tech in the last few weeks. Samsung and Huawei have been at the forefront of this, having announced summer releases for their respective fancy flexible devices

People seem a little more excited about the Huawei Mate X than the Samsung Galaxy Fold because the former opens outwards and has thinner bezels. They’re both eye-wateringly beautiful in person though.

Now, about the prices (disclaimer: you might want to sit down for this). We expect them to retail between £1600 and £2100. Time to start saving those pennies eh? (and/or re-mortgaging my house).

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung Galaxy Fold at MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2019

Huawei Mate X

Huawei Mate X at MWC19 Mobile World Congress

5G everywhere 

There was a huge focus on 5G tech at MWC19. We saw everything from 5G enabled smartphones, to driverless cars and pilot-free aerial taxis which will navigate and interact using the high-speed network. Absolutely nuts!

You could say; where we’re going, we don’t need roads. You could also say Robert Zemeckis sold us a filthy lie about the availability of hoverboards in 2015 and I haven’t forgiven him yet. People say a lot of things.

BMW 5G Driverless ‘iNEXT’ Concept car

BMW iNEXT driverless car from Mobile World Congress 2019

Ooredoo-powered pilotless aerial taxi

Pilotless drone taxi at Mobile World Congress 2019

Virtual reality gaming

The speed of data streaming required to run a seamless virtual reality game is startling. Nokia showed us the difference 5G can make with a comparison demo on a customised ping-pong table.

When playing on 4G, the bemused participants muddled their way through a laggy, error-strewn game. Not much fun. When 5G was enabled, the time delay all but disappeared, and the experience became far more immersive. Match point!

Robots with jobs

In the movies, robots usually seem to be a source of terror, dedicating every waking moment to hunting down soft, vulnerable humans. The ones at MWC19 seemed alright though.

We bumped into one little guy who was too busy delivering parcels to chat, and another who can operate as a babysitter. Don’t tell Stacey from across the road she’s fired yet though – humanoid robots won’t reach consumers until 2025 at the earliest. *Sad bleep-boop*.

Twinswheel Delivery Droid (left) and New Era ‘Babysitter’ Robot (right)

Twinswheel Delivery Droid and Babysitter Robot

Phones with a billion cameras

We’ve seen a trend of escalation with phone-cameras over the last 18 months. One company adds an extra lens, another adds two. One adds 3D features, the next adds super-slow-mo. Etcetera, etcetera. Where will the madness end?

Not with Nokia. They’ve crammed five (yes, FIVE) rear-facing cameras into their new 9 PureView handset. And why not indeed? Less is more is an outdated concept. MORE IS MORE IN 2019.

Nokia 9 Pureview Mobile World Congress 2019

Other big mobile announcements 

Nokia weren’t the only ones to bring out the big guns. Sony revealed the Xperia 1, which packs top-end specs into a slick-looking handset with an impressive 4K screen. 

LG’s V50 THINQ 5G also grabbed our attention, mainly because you can attach a second screen to the main device - a more affordable option than the first wave of fully-foldables.

Finally, XIAOMI announced the Mi 9, which looks, feels and performs like a top flagship mobile but will retail at around £400 – can’t say fairer than that!

You might also like:

- Us! Cover your device with Protect Your Bubble in under three minutes online* (we’re an award-winning insurance provider!).

- Samsung Galaxy S10 – Everything you need to know: Get the skinny on the latest Samsung flagship handset. 

- Top tips for smartphone security: A quick guide to help you keep your mobile data secure.

* Underwriter Assurant General Insurance Limited. Gadget age restrictions, T&Cs & excesses apply. Customer UK 18+.

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