Ignore The Headlines - 5 Biggest (And Largely Unreported) Stories From Mobile World Congress

You may think you’ve seen the biggest news from Mobile World Congress, but you haven’t… Ignore the headlines of Nokia’s revamped Matrix phone and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 - here are 5 stories you need to know about.

Mobile World Congress is here and this year (just like every other year) is about the big smartphones…. At least that’s what the stories were about, but this kind of proved one unfortunate fact for me - phones have become boring.

But don’t worry, ladies and gentlemen. Never fear, because I am here. There are five stories - some of which you may not have seen reported yet - that have huge implications for the future human.

1. SanDisk’s next generation of flash storage is here

I know - memory cards are boring. But every innovation in flash memory helps speed the hardware of the world around us. Ready for a world of 4K video, SanDisk’s latest micro SD card holds 400GB with write speeds of up to 90MB/s. Put simply, this is another big step in physical memory.

2. Advertisers get their hands on Augmented Reality

AR is massive in 2018, as hardware manufacturers and software developers are quick to implement it into their products. Since this happened, one question has come up regularly - how can I make money off of it?

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Well, say hello to Oath - a mobile AR ad format that delivers full-screen native ads within apps or web browsers. At the moment, it’s limited to Oath’s own apps (all of Yahoo’s portfolio and so on), but with enough interest, this could pose an interesting competition to the likes of Snapchat…until it’s inevitably bought by Google.

3. RIP Face ID. Vivo makes their fullscreen Touch ID phone a reality

Remember when Apple said Touch ID was dead and tried to sell you on Face ID? Turns out things didn’t go exactly to plan, as the interface for using your face to unlock a phone takes longer and requires unnatural hand movements for simply just looking down at your phone.

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Vivo accomplished the mission of adding a fingerprint sensor underneath a screen layer at CES 2018, and now they’ve brought it to a phone concept. The Apex concept isn’t just about the screen though, as it features a retractable camera and near-impossible bezels (from just 1.3mm).

4. Huawei unveils a 5G chip for smartphones of the future

5G connectivity has been more of a talking point than a reality, ever since being identified as a CES technology trend. But Huawei is finally throwing down the gauntlet with its Balong 5G01 chip, built to support the new 3GPP network standards for 5G - capable of hitting download speeds of up to 2.3GB. But the question still stands…

When will we actually see 5G? Well, depending on how fast Qualcomm and the like catch up, predictions are we will see nationwide 5G coverage around 2020.

5. MWC kicks off independence protests inadvertently

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Remember the Catalan Independence Referendum? You know, the opportunity for the Spanish region of Catalonia to be a separate country from Spain? As you already know, they voted overwhelmingly in favour of leaving Spain, but King Felipe VI told Spanish television that said the referendum was “illegal.”

Samsung’s Galaxy S9/S9+ announcement was the first day the King came back to the city of Barcelona, which kicked off a whole load of protests - both against and in support of his arrival. People camped out, waiting for him to arrive. For the country of Spain at least, phones played second fiddle to politics.