The Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 was held in Barcelona this year, introducing some surprising and not-so-surprising innovations in the world of mobile. We’ve grouped together the most important news of the congress below, including our favourite pieces of news and how this could affect advertisers over the coming year:
Galaxy S5 release date set for April 11
The Galaxy S5 takes the DNA of the S4handset and improves on it in most areas. It’s a quiet improvement though, as opined by TechCrunch, which may disappoint a lot of people looking to see the world’s highest-res display and an all new metal chassis, but it’s one that at least delivers where consumers need improvement. In terms of changes to the S4 model, the S5 has a better camera, a brighter screen, a faster processor and a more solid design – addressing the problem areas of the S4. In terms of cool stuff, the S5 has a fingerprint scanner, waterproof and dustproof to an IP67 rating, which means it’s almost completely resistant to dust and waterproof to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes. In terms of the media, the fingerprint scanner could have lots of potential as a new way to engage consumers, encouraging them to scan to purchase, sign up to a competition and so on.
Brands show off their SmartWear
Smartwear is really a new category at the MWC, and this year many new players entered the field. Chinese phone maker Huawei announced the TalkBand B1. Not satisfied with being your average pedometer, the TalkBand contains a wireless Bluetooth earpiece for conducting hands-free calls. Additionally, Motorola said it has definite plans to sell a smartwatch and HTC made the same pledge. Meanwhile, Samsung brought forth the Galaxy Gear Fit, which enters the market somewhere between the Nike+ Fuelband and the Galaxy Gear watch. It featured a sleek AMOLED curved display that makes its shape useful and removes all the clutter that holds back the Gear and gives you just what you need: phone notifications and some biometric data. In terms of advertisers, smart gear is potentially a means to further optimize reach and interaction, though currently the concept is still so new, no known advertisers have tried to incorporate or account for the presence of smart gear in their campaigns. Watch this space.
Apple and Google didn’t come to the show
While many of us have got used to mobile companies deciding how and when to launch their newest innovations, many in were surprised that the richest and most influential phone manufacturer (Apple) and the biggest and most influential services company (Google) were nowhere to be found at this years’ MWC. As reported by The Register, even Microsoft, with a large hospitality area this year, didn’t launch any products or services at MWC – even though many important announcements are five weeks away. It is a reminder to advertisers that innovation is often revealed at the manufacturers own pace and that advertisers can only remain ahead of the curve if we keep up with the latest releases.
Ubuntu & Mozilla launched their first Smartphones
Two companies, Ubuntu and Mozilla, have launched their first generation smartphones at the MWC and while they are not ready for general release, they imply a change is coming to the Apple/Android dominated marketplace. This change is the rise of the cheap smartphone. In Mozilla’s case, they are aiming for a €25 smartphone with their new chip partner Spreadtrum. The platform will include WiFi, Bluetooth, cameras and FM radio, though the lack of 4G connectivity, older CPU design and low screen resolutions clearly mark this as a low-end initiative. Nevertheless, it’s one that will give it a major leg up in emerging markets like India where feature phones still rule supreme. In terms of advertising, gaining reach and providing the analytics to back up international campaigns is often difficult. Cheaper smartphones will allow many brands to fully reach out to emerging markets and create a digital but local approach which can reach the general population.