It’s nearly time for Mobile World Congress, a show that provides a chance to catch up on the latest mobile solutions, as well as feast on the best tapas and sangria Barcelona has to offer (along with 100,000 of our closest colleagues). While it's still a phone show at its heart, MWC has expanded significantly in the past few years. Here are a few of the highlights we expect to see.
A few months ago, I started thinking about buying a compact camera. My friends thought I was crazy; after all, my smartphone has a pretty good camera. But I wanted advanced features such as the ability to change the speed and aperture, features that often belong on a DSLR, rather than a compact camera, and especially not on a smartphone camera. Except, of course, I’m wrong...mostly.
Huawei is a giant among most smartphone players with an impressive presence in most parts of the world. In the European market, the handset manufacturer’s latest phones are well promoted by the carriers, both in store and through advertising; and, as a result, the OEM is enjoying consumer acceptance that other smartphone makers should be quite envious of. So if there was one manufacturer poised the break the duopoly of Samsung and Apple, as most carriers would like, it is Huawei… except, of course, in the U.S.
A few years ago a friend of mine was mugged in London. Two men waved knives at him and demanded his wallet, his smartphone... and then his other phone. This final demand threw him a little, as he only carried one phone, and it took a while (and a quick frisk) to convince the muggers that they would have to share a single smartphone. I’m sure they walked away muttering about their poor fortune as, apparently, the odds are quite high that someone wandering the streets of London will be toting a couple of devices.
Commoditization of Cellular Data has been a major theme discussed throughout the year as unlimited data plans have become the de facto offering in the U.S. mobile market. We have seen the same commoditization trend with voice and SMS in the past two decades, as mobile carriers first sold voice minutes and SMS in various size packages, but they were eventually thrown in for free when we started paying by the size of our cellular data bucket.
In my last predictions piece The Cable Threat is More Real Than Ever, I covered how the cable players are poised to become even more of a threat in the already competitive U.S. mobile market in 2018. With cellphone penetration reaching saturation levels, switcher activity has become the mainstream method for subscriber growth, and this is where the established players run into problems...
When Comcast launched its Xfinity Mobile service in 2017, it wasn’t taken too seriously by the competition, due to its lack of retail presence and limited device/service portfolio. This perception changed rather drastically when Comcast announced it had a quarter million subscribers within the first five months of its pilot launch.
The show when:
- Blockchain, AI, VR and other buzzwords
- Hey Google!
- One well placed rant
- The robot uprising has begun
- Not all robots were feisty
- Time for a new body?
For a category that has faced much skepticism, it’s hard to argue that the wearable tech category has not been a success story so far. In fact, NPD expects that total ownership of activity trackers and smartwatches among U.S. adults will stand at nearly 77 million devices by the end of 2017. However, the market is becoming increasingly complex in the face of innovation and changing consumer demands. 2018 will see even more dramatic shifts in the evolution of the wearable tech space than we have seen in the previous two years.
The U.S. is number four in the list of innovative countries worldwide, according to a June 2017 Business Insider article. On the surface, it's a puzzling rank. This is, after all, the country that put a man on the moon (and maybe will again soon), built the initial Internet, and is home to many of the major tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. And yet, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands all rank higher for innovation. Ouch.