Finally! Take a deep breath and relax. One of the most hectic weeks of the year has come to an end. And no, I am not talking about Christmas gatherings with different sides of the family; I am talking about the Mobile World Congress. Yes, 85.000 people crowned with VIP passes, 5.000 people making sure everything runs smoothly, and the fantastic city of Barcelona ready to embrace the madness that storms through here each February.
After four days of productive gatherings, panels, speeches, presentations, networking events, and after parties, it is time to pack it up and go home. Hopefully with a feeling of success due to a great usage of our time spent between Gran Via and Plaza de España.
And since it’s never a wrap until we analyze the best (and the not so great) of what was presented, here is my humble list after days of touching, playing, messing with and almost breaking every device in the MWC.
- BRACELETS, WRISTBANDS, AND WEARABLE GEAR: several big tech companies (Sony, Huawei, Samsung…) have presented what seems to be the next generation of portable devices that interconnect with the ones we already walk around with. Just because we have become too lazy to pull out our phones from our pockets we now need a watch, wristband, or similar device to give us a quick glimpse of what’s vibrating in our pants or bags. I suppose I can see it becoming a functional addition and will probably end up buying one of those little gadgets myself, but I still can’t imagine talking into my watch like I’m Knight Rider calling Kitt to the rescue. The time will come though, be sure of that.
- LOW COST SMARTPHONES: yes, Apple threw out into the market the iPhone 5C (low cost my a**) but Nokia and Mozilla have really hit the low cost target with phones starting as low as $25. Great job guys, keep it up. This is your ticket into capturing rapid growth in the emerging markets and democratizing mobile access for the entire planet.
- “PHABLETS”: Can we PLEASE change this name by the 2015 MWC?!? Please? Something bigger than a phone, but smaller than a tablet. Still hard to figure out how to hold it against your face to make a call, but definitely great to play games and watch videos while you are waiting for the next panel to start. The time has come when there are no limits regarding the size of new devices and that opens a whole new spectrum of possibilities for the companies to explore.
- FLEX PHONES: LG came in presenting the first flexible phone. I have to admit I was skeptical towards it, but it really looks like a path to follow and with heaps of room to improve. I couldn’t test it out in my pocket, so I have no clue what to expect once “wearing” it, but we will have plenty of opportunities in the years to come that’s for sure.
- SAMSUNG GALAXY S5: the crown jewel of Samsung whose thunder was stolen by the tumbler that was Facebook and its acquisition of WhatsApp. Even though, I gotta say I was pretty disappointed with the new phone. Better camera, blablabla, but not really a change of speed or look to go with it. It is true though, that all the gadgets surrounding it can make it a fantastic all around device, but if I would already have the Galaxy S4, I would wait for a future version.
So yes, this year gadgets and low cost phones are the new black. The future that the MWC has presented us in Barcelona is about hitting the emerging markets with inexpensive devices, and wearable day-to-day gear that can make our life better and more efficient on the go. Have a great 2014 and we will see you March 2nd 2015 again in our beautiful city of Barcelona. Safe travels back home everyone!