Screen slaves are celebrating as the world’s biggest electronics show devoted to mobile phones opened.
The Barcelona World Mobile Congress features hundreds of shiny, new handsets and a cavalcade of mostly Chinese manufacturers jockeying to displace beleaguered Samsung as the world’s number two smartphone maker after Apple.
Back to the future
But bizarrely it was Nokia’s back to the future effort, the updated re-launch of the iconic 3310 that was fawned over by the media, grabbing many headlines.
For one industry analyst that was an indication of the state of the mobile industry.
“This has become the story of the show and quite frankly it’s a damning indictment of the state of the smartphone market today,” Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight said.
Holding one of Nokia’s new smartphones, he added: “It’s characterised by a sea of sameness, lots of rectangular devices and Nokia too have the same problem because they are trying to get back to the market with a device like this which is their Android phone and, to be honest, if that’s all they’d announced, it wouldn’t have got many column inches at all.”
Nokia itself is back from the dead, demonstrating the unpredictability of the mobile phone world.
Super slow motion
Sony – which is not one of the big boys being only the 16th largest smartphone seller – went for different with a handset featuring a super-slow motion camera and the world’s first 4K high dynamic range screen, which means the resolution is four times better than high definition displays.
Sony Global Sales and Marketing EVP Hideyuki Furumi explained: “The Sony super slow-motion capability enables you to capture life in impressive slow-motion detail that is so precise it will reveal the things beyond the human vision. With the super slow-motion, every day moments that happen in the blink of an eye, can become stunning visual memories – a cat leaping in the air for play, a humming bird in flight or a balloon bursting in mid-air, to name a few. You can dramatise just about everything for any moment, with the super slow-motion.”
No S8 from Samsung
Samsung honed its VR gear and unveiled a couple of tablets but didn’t use the Mobile World Congress – its usual showcase – to launch the Galaxy S8, its next flagship device.
“I absolutely think Samsung is going to have a huge impact on the market,” Ben Wood said. “I think it’s going be the biggest launch they have ever done. I think it’s going to be an extremely impressive device and I think it must be a very daunting prospect to all of the competitors in this Android market where competing there is really, really tough. And that’s before you even start going head-to-head with the iPhone,” he added.
Samsung withdrew the Galaxy Note 7 last October after faulty batteries led some devices to catch fire, leading to a loss of consumer trust, wiping out more than $5 billion of operating profit, and allowing the iPhone to overtake it in sales.
There is a huge amount riding on that replacement for the exploding, profit-killing Note 7. The S8 is expected at the end of March.
This is probably the Samsung Galaxy S8 https://t.co/PpB3g7dkKG by
mjburnsy</a> <a href="https://t.co/b0bv1N6elH">pic.twitter.com/b0bv1N6elH</a></p>— TechCrunch (TechCrunch) February 27, 2017
The world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry features over 1,000 exhibitors – showcasing the latest and developing technology and giving tech-heads a chance to check out the newest gear before it hits the high street as well as a taste of wha i’s going to become available over the next 12 months.