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Mobile World Congress: Batteries, drones and VR are in charge

Five trends at Mobile World Congress

BARCELONA: The phone industry's largest annual trade fair, the Mobile World Congress, which wrapped up in Barcelona on Thursday, was dominated by fast-charging phone batteries, virtual reality and connected objects, from toothbrushes to cars.

BETTER BATTERIES, FASTER CHARGING

Several phone-makers unveiled new smartphones with batteries that can last longer and be charged faster.

Huawei - the world's third-largest phone maker - said its new flagship device, the P10, features a 40 per cent boost in battery life. The battery also features "super charge" technology that promises a full day charge in just 20 minutes.

Blackberry's new devices, which bring back the brand's iconic physical keyboard, have its biggest-ever batteries. They also feature a "boost mode" that allow users to get a 50 per cent charge in roughly 36 minutes.

DRONES AND ROBOTS EVERYWHERE

 

At the stand of KT Corporation - South Korea's largest telephone company - two robotic arms played the drums.

Meanwhile, Japanese firm Softbank drew crowds with its human-like robot Pepper, which can be employed in shops to demonstrate products. Barcelona-based Pal Robotics also displayed humanoid robot models.

The fair also had a special "drone zone" for the first time, to demonstrate their use in the delivery of goods or aid to farmers by surveying crop growth.

VR GETS REAL

 

Virtual reality (VR) headsets were front and centre, in a sign of the importance placed on the technology by the sector.

Samsung unveiled several new innovations, including a 360-degree virtual travel app designed to allow people to reminisce about past experiences.

Lithuanian mobile app developers TeleSoftas showcased an app that allows business meetings to be held in virtual reality, with avatars representing people in different parts of the globe.

MORE VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

 

Following on the heels of the success of Amazon's Echo, a hands-free speaker with artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant Alexa, several firms showcased their own version of the technology.

Sony unveiled a new version of its Xperia Ear earphones that includes a virtual assistant called the Sony Agent.

LG and Motorola presented new flagship smartphones that integrated a virtual assistant, while Samsung announced that its new high-end phone, which will be presented in New York at the end of the month, will also have one.

Research firm Garner predicts that by 2019, 20 per cent of all interactions with a smartphone will be carried out via such assistants.

MORE INTERNET OF THINGS

 EPA
 

Companies rolled out products based on a future centred on the "Internet of Things", a network of devices, vehicles and building sensors that collect and exchange data.

Several driverless cars were on display, while a small French firm called Kolibree showcased a smart toothbrush that measures how well you brush your teeth.

Indian start-up Lechal displayed shoes with smart soles that vibrate to guide users to their destination - they work by connecting to the Global Positioning System tracker of a user's smartphone. - AFP

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