News Column

4 trends to watch at Mobile World Congress

February 22, 2014

From groundbreaking smart devices, phones, tablets and wearable gadgets, the MWC has long proved one of the premier global platforms to unveil the latest in mobile tech.

As the dust begins to settle on the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas last month, global technology giants are already quickly turning their ambitions towards the forthcoming world's largest mobile show, Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, scheduled this week in the majestic city of Barcelona, Spain.

From groundbreaking smart devices, phones, tablets and wearable gadgets, the MWC has long proved one of the premier global platforms to unveil the latest in mobile tech. More than that, it has served a catalyst for change and innovation, transforming everyday communications, advancing next-generation payment systems, and altering the way we use mobile devices altogether.

Ahead of the excitement, Khaleej Times speaks with Ashraf Fawakherji, Middle East vice-president of Huawei Device, to look at the top innovations that consumers can expect to see from this year's MWC event and the investments that will likely impact the regional device market.

Bigger smart device screens

Handheld smart devices have evolved to handle much more than communications; with the development of high-speed wireless Internet and the availability of applications they are quickly becoming an essential tool for consumers to handle everyday tasks. Additionally consumers are using mobile smart devices instead of personal computers to process the increasing influx of multi-media content that is available online.

"One of the interesting trends that has continued to impact the consumer electronics industry is that people want devices with bigger screens which allow them to view content and conduct their daily tasks with ease. This is not likely to stem any time soon and we will likely see vendors at the MWC launching new handsets with larger screens to accommodate this consumer demand," Fawakherji said.

Huawei views itself as a company at the forefront of technology innovation, he said, adding: "One of the ways we keep customer-centric is developing in-depth research into what our customers want so that we can develop relevant devices that deliver what they need in line with market trends. We recognised that people wanted bigger screens so we launched the Ascend Mate 2, with a 6.1-inch screen, as well as Huawei's latest quad-core MediaPad 10 FHD, which boasts a 10.1-inch high-definition IPS display."

Extension of 4G LTE capabilities

Recent research by Internet World Statistics has highlighted that the rise in Internet users in the Middle East is expected to rise from 90 million to 413 million by 2015. This rapid rise in the regional Internet economy is linked to the vast improvements in mobile data services and wireless connectivity across the Middle East.

The exponential increase in mobile data usage has encouraged operators to invest in next-generation networks such as 4G and LTE enabled devices that can handle the data-hungry applications and services, particularly video, that consumers demand. Operators will continue to reap the benefits of this increased demand for portable connected devices, he said, adding: "To best serve the rising demand for portable connected devices, telecoms operators in the Middle East are likely to increase Wi-Fi hot spots, widen their 4G technology services and lower data package prices in order to keep consumers connected on the move."

Huawei has worked extensively with telecoms operators across the Middle East to deploy extended 4G wireless networks services and launched a range of LTE enabled smart devices such as the Ascend P2 LTE, the world's fastest 4G Smartphone. He said Huawei also produces a line of LTE enabled wireless routers and mobile WiFi devices for consumers that need fast speeds on the go. Huawei has recently been working with a number of telecoms operators around the world to take next-generation networks to the next level with the development of 5G, he added.

Smart homes

Many experts predict that this year will be the year of the smarthome. Smart homes refer to technology within homes that can control heating, lighting, cars and even electronic devices such as fridges, cookers and home entertainment systems. Before any of these devices can be successfully implemented into the home, consumers need to ensure they have sufficient home connectivity capabilities. Huawei recently launched its HSPA Web Cube Home Internet Broadband Box and offers a range of Wireless Wi-Fi routers, which provide complete home connectivity.

Fawakherji said: "Turning your home into a smart and connected home is a developing trend that we believe will start impacting consumers through the availability of home devices that can be connected to the Internet."

Wearable technology

There was an incredible buzz generated in 2013 around wearable technology with the launch of various connected glasses, connected watches and fitness devices that sync to smartphones. Technology vendors have been watching the hype, and if one thing is clear, it is that wearable technology is "the next big thing" for the consumer electronics industry.

"At the MWC, we will likely see many vendors launching some sort of wearable device," he said, adding that Huawei also plans to showcase a number of its latest agreements with leading operators and partners."

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)

Story Tools