From the release of connected bracelets, watches and even a smart toothbrush to a future of one-second high-definition movie downloads, the mobile world is developing rapidly.
Here are five major trends to emerge at the four-day World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, the industry’s biggest annual gathering, which wrapped up Thursday:
CONNECTED WATCHES, BRACELETS, AND A TOOTHBRUSH
The new star accessories of manufacturers such as mobile titan Samsung, Sony or China’s Huawei are smartphone-connected bracelets and watches. You can take a call and read messages on them. But now they offer to count your steps, check your pulse, even monitor your sleep cycle and decide the best moment to wake you. They are part of a “quantified self” trend, in which smartphone owners can measure the minutiae of their own lives, right down to cleaning their teeth. Procter & Gamble’s Oral-B smart toothbrush will check your technique, and you can share the results on social networks.
From a $25 smartphone, which Mozilla Foundation says it is developing for this year for developing markets, to Nokia X models for less than 150 euros ($200), manufacturers are trying to tap into the fastest-growing markets such as Latin America, China, South Asia and Africa.
SMARTPHONE FOR A BETTER “SELFIE”
Often neglected, the camera on the front of your smartphone for taking a photo of yourself is becoming more powerful to satisfy the growth of the “selfie”. Huawei’s Ascend G6 boosts the front camera to five megapixels. More broadly, photo and video quality is improving rapidly. Sony’s new Xperia Z2 allows users to film in 4K resolution, the most advanced available on the market.
SPAM AND OTHER THREATS
As people pour sensitive personal data into their smartphones and tablets, and as more objects are hooked up to the network, security threats can take on a new dimension. Some hackers manage to get into target devices to take photos or record conversations. One compromised refrigerator has been caught sending spam. Security specialists say even your connected car’s brakes could be at risk.
A MOVIE DOWNLOADED IN ONE SECOND
The next, fifth-generation mobile networks to begin rolling out in 2020 promise to let users download an entire high-definition movie in one second flat. The network will have to cope, also, with billions of connected objects communicating with each other, from kitchen appliances to cars and traffic signals, industry players say.