MWC 2016 will be opened officially tomorrow February 22, 2015. There are already members of the press that are inside and bringing some fresh news and updated of new products. I’ve spent some time reading the rumors and predictions of what we can expect to see from Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG, which are the companies that most people eager to see what they come up with next.
For me, it seems that this year will see more emphasize on unique hardware mobile phone features, rather than bloating us with software features. I think that people now are thinking more than twice whether to upgrade their phone. Most of the newly announced phones in 2015 didn’t really bring something truly special that will convince people that already have a high-end phone, to upgrade to a new phone. The differences were just to small to justify ditching your “old” phone and buying a new one.
All of the leading mobile phone companies attending in MWC 2016 in Barcelona, will have to convince the high-end user that their product is worth upgrading to. I don’t think that a better looking phone or a moderate boost in performance will do it. The mobile phones of 2014/2015, I mean the mid and high-end ones, I strong enough to run most the latest games without any issues. Some game companies do try to create games that are designed to run on the latest hardware, and maybe some of them are even sponsored by the phone manufacturers.
The thing is that there has to be something else that can convince people to upgrade. I think that these changes will come in various forms, and there are already some facts and hints to that. For example, the Alcatel Idol 4S comes with a bundled VR Goggles to help you enjoy the immersive virtual reality experience the moment that you purchase your phone. Some rumors indicating that the LG G5 will have a modular design (dubbed “Magic Slot”), which will allow G5 owners to purchase modular accessories that can replace the one that comes by default, including a new camera, larger battery, speakers and who knows, maybe change the display itself.
If you find it hard to believe, take a look at this image on twitter of a g a modular battery that suppose to replace the one in your device. A modular mobile phone would be a cool thing. It isn’t the first time that I’ve seen a modular phone, but I think that now that the market has become saturated and somewhat stable, it’s a good time to release such device.
I think that LG needs to come up with something really unique that will attract more buyers and increase its market share. According to idc.com, LG is not even in the top 5 worldwide smartphone vendor market share list (as of August 2015).
It’s certainly time for LG to push the innovation forward if it want to differentiate itself in some way from its competition. Having a more powerful phone and a great new camera won’t stick, as the competition won’t stay behind and has something unique to offer as well.
It also seems to me that we are going to see lots of detachable complimentary mobile phone accessories in MWC 2016. As the market becomes saturated and most people already have a smartphone in their pocket, it’s time to try to convince them to buy unique and useful accessories for their phone. We can expect to see phone manufacturers also bundling their phones with unique accessories to try to convince people to move to their camp. Among these accessories we might find some unique VR headsets, 360-degrees cameras, and additional battery, interactive cases, etc. This is actually what I like about shows like MWC, you never know what to expect and there are so many surprises.
According to many rumors and leaked images, we can also expect to see phones with a dual camera setup, which might be used for VR recording, allow better control over the depth of field, have two difference focal lengths, etc. It’s interesting what the next move from Samsung, HTC, and LG will be regarding their mobile phone’s camera technology. What thing I am quite certain about, that VR is going to be a strong part in this show, because the popular VR headsets, the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift are planned to launch in the second quarter of 2016. So we can expect this trend to continue its growth and penetrate the mobile market as well.
It’s going to be very interesting, and I just hope that from this show we’ll get to see some really unique products and see some innovation, something that we haven’t seen for quite some time.