We get it guys – there was no Samsung Galaxy S8. Sure it’s absence left a glaring hole. But even without it, the Mobile World Congress – the largest mobile show on the planet – was anything but dull.
This year, brand’s seemed to be stuck in a time machine, with retro phones being the order of the day. LG managed to come to the party as it slapped its competitors in the face with a surprisingly impressive flagship phone. The Robocar, a super-futuristic, connected-to-just-about-everything car debuted here instead of at the Geneva Motor Show, and there were just enough weird and wonderful gadgets for geeks to drool over as they milled around the vast halls of the Barcelona hotel.

We’ll spare you the less-than-impressive laptops and run-of-the-mill Android phones, the necessary ‘big security updates’ and the huge batteries. Here are the three most exciting things to come out of 2017’s Mobile World Congress.

5G really is the way of the future. But it isn’t quite here yet.

The capabilities of 5G technology are said to blow its 3G and 4G counterparts out of the water. And brands are moving in that direction at a delightful speed. Unfortunately, it’s not quite a reality just yet. We can almost hear the collective sigh of frustration from techies everywhere. Don’t despair. When it does arrive, 5G will have been well worth the wait. It’ll be giving us speeds as fast as fiber optic broadband making it mobile’s new best friend. Current predictions put the speeds at 10 gigabits per second. To give you an idea of how fast that is: that’s 1 000 times faster than current 4G coverage across the US.

It’s also secure. While we’re sure cyber criminals will eventually find ways into it, all forecasts are supremely positive about the watertightness of the technology. And perhaps even more impressive is that it does all of this without sucking the battery life from your devices faster than Sir Twinkles-in-the-Sun from Twilight. So if we haven’t got 5G now, when can we expect it? Well, if Alok Shah, Samsung’s vice president of networks strategy speaking at the Mobile World Congress, is to be believed, “Standards will probably be settled by early 2018 with 2019 being a realistic date for expanded roll-out.”

Let’s talk about this artificial intelligence (AI) thing

In its simplest form, AI is a system that is able to take large amounts of data, analyze it, learn from it and develop appropriate responses. Opportunities around AI truly are endless, and brands at the Mobile World Congress seemed to realize the possibilities. A lot of brands used the technology at their stands in curious and creative ways. Verizon, for example, allowed visitors to enjoy a mini race track complete with racing cars, powered by AI. Image tracking tech was able to distinguish between the two vehicles, predict if there was going to be a collision and adjust for it. Eat your heart out, Scalextrics.

The actual event was monitored by Wi-5, an end-to-end mobile engagement software. The tech captures real-time data about visitors’ behavior – how long they dwelt at a particular stand for example. Monitoring this sort of data and being able to analyze it will no doubt provide crucial insights into the future of the event layout and we could start seeing customizable experiences in the event space.

Huawei takes a stand. A hand-stand.

Smartwatches are struggling. Fitness trackers are doing well. Huawei seems to have recognized this in their latest offering, the Huawei Watch 2, which is really quite a goodie. It’s probably one of the lightest and comfiest smartwatches around and is clearly designed with the fitness-freaks in mind. Its features include 4G, a built-in speaker, GPS, heart-rate monitor and IP68 water and dust resistance. It’s rocking Google’s new Android Wear 2.0 (Possibly its namesake?) and the Google Assistant. Sure, none of its features are revolutionary, but they’ve been put together with a lot of thought and work well together. The device also looks smashing and will easily compete with the likes of the LG Watch Sport.

There you have it: three fantastic additions or trends to the future of the tech world. But this wasn’t all that was on show at the event. Have a read through one of our other articles on this year’s Mobile World Congress that highlights three pretty cool new phones you’ve probably never heard of. Who knows, maybe you’ll be in the market for a new phone afterward.

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