MWC Lively, but Not Much in Displays

This week’s MWC was a bit of a disappointment from a display and handset point of view. It’s usually the place that Samsung launches its latest flagship smartphone, but the Note7 debacle meant extra time for engineering and testing around the battery, so it will be launched on 29th March. Samsung did have a couple of tablets and a nice looking convertible PC, Sony had a new top of the range phone and LG had its G6, which supports Dolby Vision, but most of the launches were very ‘me too’.

The big topics for the show as a whole were 5G and the IoT, which are closely related, as the IoT will need the huge capacity, speed and lack of latency that 5G will bring, while 5G will need something beyond voice and video streaming to drive the huge investments that will be needed to enable it. I noted a reduction in the emphasis on autonomous cars this year, although there was still a lot of activity. There was also quite a lot of emphasis on enterprise use of mobility.

In the smartphone segment, the increasing size, number and importance of Chinese brands was evident. Also evident was the very small presence from Taiwan, with no Asus or Acer and with HTC focusing largely on the Vive. There was quite a lot of VR at the show, but not that much that struck me as very new, although there was some enthusiastic play on the DisplayLink booth, where the company was showing its wireless reference design for the Vive. There were several demos that used Microsoft’s Hololens and the one we tried with Intel was pretty good. It was clear that those trying the system out were impressed.

Although both Sony and LG announced support for HDR in smartphones, the performance was very good rather than stunning, and it seemed to us that it’s the cameras that are garnering the most attention, especially the self side! There was quite a lot of innovation in that area.

Somebody remarked that the mobile is increasingly looking like the PC business, and there is some truth in that. For many years, Comdex was the place you went to find the answers to the big questions about Microsoft vs IBM or Windows vs Apple. Then ,one day, Wintel won and the shows became incremental.Then Comdex died. Given the potential of 5G and the IoT, that doesn’t seem close yet, for MWC.

Anyway, we’ll have a full report for MDM subscribers shortly.

MWC Barca