The 2015 Mobile World Congress took place in Barcelona this week, previewing forthcoming projects from the biggest mobile tech companies around.
However, the M.W.C has evolved into far more than just a phone show. This year there were smartwatches from Huawei and LG, a minature projector from Lenovo and even a pair of smart electronic bikes from Ford.
Here’s what we’re most excited about.
1 | Silent Circle Blackphone 2 Smartphone & Blackphone+ Tablet
Silent Circle are a firm specialising in keeping your communications encrypted. As such, security is the key to their new smartphone and tablet. Both devices run on an Android-based system that allows administrators to lock and wipe the device when required. The smartphone also features ‘Silent Suite’ technology which will encrypt your calls, messages and address book. Meanwhile, the tablet features the option to lock part of your interface. Perfect if you don’t want your nephew browsing your WhatsApp conversations.
The Blackphone 2 will be released in July, priced around £409, silentcircle.com
2 | The Microsoft Lumia 640 & 640 XL
Since Microsoft bought Nokia just under a year ago, Bill Gates’ people have been busy developing their range of Lumia smartphones. The first two, the 640 and the 640 XL debuted this week. Both phones run on Windows 8.1, feature either an 8 or 13 megapixel camera depending on the model and come in 3G and 4G variations. It’s also not a bad looking piece of kit – both models come with white, blue, orange or black casing.
Rumoured to be released in April. The 640 will cost around £117 while the 640 XL will be priced at roughly £155, microsoft.com
3 | The Ford ‘MoDe’ Electric Bike
Ford released two bikes at MWC this year, both of which are currently in the prototype stage, but could revolutionise your commute should they go into production. The MoDe: Pro is aimed at businesses while the Mo:De:Me is for personal use. The most interesting thing about both models is the ability to link to your smartphone (which can be mounted in front of the handlebars). This feature lets you turn on your lights and indicators with a touch of a button, will tell you when cars are getting too close behind and will also display your GPS map, sending a vibration through the handles when it’s time to turn.
4 | Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
If staring at a single phone screen all day isn’t enough for you, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge could be what you're after. Announced this week, the S6 Edge is the company's first three-sided phone, with the screen curving around the handset. It sounds great for watching videos, and you’ll also be able to assign one of five colours to your contacts which will light up when they call. It’s also the first Samsung phone to feature a fully metallic body, as opposed to the usual plastic design, meaning not only does it look better, it’s also more durable.
Released in April, priced £649, www.samsung.com
5 | The Huawei Watch
Chinese phone company Huawei became the latest players in the smartwatch game after announcing their Huawei Watch. Running on Android Wear, the watch will do the usual – check emails, send and receive texts and monitor fitness stats – all displayed on a 1.4 inch, 400 pixels circular display with a durable sapphire crystal lens. You’re also able to swipe through a selection of 40 face designs, plus the straps are customisable with leather and black and silver link straps available. The bezels also come in gold, black or silver, making this the most adaptable smartwatch soon to be on the market.
Released in June. Price TBC, huawei.com
6 | HTC Vive
HTC’s first virtual reality headset was another big reveal at MWC, with a focus on gaming. Developed in conjunction with Valve, the HTC Vive uses two 1200 x 1080 displays, offering full 360-degree views. You’ll also be able to walk around the virtual space - due to new laser position sensor technology – as opposed to operating the experience via the standard controller. Speaking on the release HTC CEO Peter Chou suggests the headset will be used for "Attending real-time concerts, learning history, reliving memories."
Released late 2015, price TBC, htcvr.com
7 | LG Watch Urbane
The second new smartwatch unveiled at MWC 2015, the Android-powered LG Watch Urbane comes in two versions, the basic Watch Urbane and the more high-end Watch Urbane LTE. The latter features a 4G chip and a new operating system that allows the wearer to make calls, text and listen to music without being linked to a phone. The LTE also features a panic alarm that will call a preset phone number with GPS details of your location. Perfect for when you get overwhelmed doing the weekly shop.
Release date and price for both models TBC, lg.com
8 | The HTC One M9
We’ve already touted the HTC One M9 as one of the ways tech will change your life in 2015 and early reviews from MWC look to confirm that we were right (told you so, etc). As per its predecessor, the M9 has gone for an all-metal design and features a 5-inch 1080p display. As expected, the phone runs on the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, meaning checking those Facebook updates will be quicker than ever. Plus, a new feature means you’ll be able to customise your display with a colour palette based on your photographs that you can transfer to your apps and icons. The battery is also the largest HTC have ever used in a phone, meaning you’ll be able to text for years (or at least a full 24 hours).
Available mid March, priced £549, htc.com
9 | Google Wireless
We already know that Google are trying to get into the wireless internet business with Google Loon and its new internet drones, but Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google has announced the company is working on a new wireless phone network, accessible via your smartphone. At present the focus seems to be on smoothing the transition between phone networks and WiFi networks like The Cloud, with the potential to offer you a network and internet connection without coverage from either in the traditional sense. But what we really want to know is will they help you check Instagram on the Tube?
10 | Lenovo A7000 & Lenovo Pocket Projector
The new A7000 is a mid-range smartphone featuring an LCD display and 8GB of internal storage, with the option to add a 32GB memory card. Where the A7000 really excels is in the audio department – it’s the first phone to feature the Dolby Atmos sound system, giving you a hands-on experience with your audio and providing a surround sound effect. The company also surprised with their Pocket Projector which is exactly what you’d imagine. At 4 inches square and an inch thick, and with a maximum image size of 110 inches, it’s the perfect gadget for watching Nightcrawler any time, anywhere.
The A7000 will be available in March, priced £110. The Pocket Projector will also be available in March, priced £160, lenovo.com
Which are you excited about?