Mobile World Congress is the go to event for all things mobile. While it has a huge focus on enterprise and business to business tech, it is still the go to place for consumer releases from all the big brands, excluding Apple which does not participate. It is also one of the best places to see concepts from vendors like Samsung, Sony and LG to name just a few. After two days of running around the enormous show floor (and not seeing even close to all that was on display), we have compiled a small list of cool products and concepts you may not have heard of.
The BBC's Micro Bit
The BBC has developed a mini-computer, the Micro Bit, designed to run code that will let programmers display text and patterns on its LEDs and make use of its built-in sensors and buttons to build simple games and other programs. Sounds like a gimmick? you haven’t heard the coolest part, the broadcaster is going to put one of these into the hands of every year seven child in Britain to encourage coding at an early age.
The BBC announced the plan back in March 2015, but was at MWC in the Samsung booth to show off the new app for the vendor’s smartphones that can work with the device. The plan is that kids can ‘code on the go’ and create features like a selfie remote button or dice-like random number generator. An amazing concept to address what will soon be a huge shortage of engineering talent for the workforce of the future.
Monster has built a great little unit for ametur dj/producers looking for a portable device to mix tunes and make music on the go. The GODJ is tiny for a device of its type, measuring 250 x 66 mm. It has built in fader with three curve settings, sound effects, sample trigger and even a guitar mode that lets you play chords or use preset notes.
It has a file manager that supports MP3, WAV and 96kHz audio files. It also records in WAV and high resolution. Internal memory gives 2GB for music and 1GB for recording. The unit also supports an SD card for up to 2TB of additional storage and will sync with your PC so you can pull tracks straight from your music library. Sadly. it is not yet available in Australia.
Finnish IT security company, F-Secure, has built a sleek looking little unit designed to eliminate the need for multiple anti-virus licences. It is designed to connect to your router and protect every device on your network from PCs to IoT devices like Smart TV’s that can’t run on-board security software. It will protect your devices in the home and outside provided you install the Sense App.
Given the increase in connected devices, products like the Sense (and BitDefender’s Box), may become the default way we secure ourselves against cyber crooks in the future. F-Secure said it is working on adding a VPN feature to the device for even greater protection. No release date has been given for Australia.
Sony Xperia Ear
Sony used its impressive booth to display a number of impressive new products and concepts but the one that stood out for us was the Xperia Ear. It’s an earpiece with bluetooth connection you are supposed to wear all day and stop you constantly looking down at your phone to check email alerts, texts and social media updates.
The Ear will give you audio prompts to let you know if you have a new message, email or call. With so many of us tethered to our devices, this is Sony’s attempt to give you some of your life back without you feeling that you are missing out on all the wonderful things the connected world has to offer.
Alcatel Plus 10
2-in-1s are by no means a new thing but the Alcatel Plus 10 caught our eye because it can double as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 15 devices including itself. It runs Windows 10, has a 10-inch IPS 1280×800 display and an Intel quad-core processor.
The most impressive thing about this neat little unit is the base unit that, with its sim slot, will let you hotspot up to 15 devices without the tablet connected. Alcatel said the 8,410mAh battery should give you around eight hours of usage to keep you hotspotting to your heart’s content.
Chris Player travelled to Mobile World Congress as a guest of Huawei Australia.