Mobile World Congress 2014 delivered on the promise of the Global place to be for the Mobile industry. With the exception of Apple, virtually every Mobile brand was represented at MWC 2014. The 85,000 attendees represented an 18% increase over 2013 and was kicked off by Mark Zuckerberg keynote including his motivations for the 19 Billion WhatsApp acquisition. This is what got my attention at MWC.
Haptic Technology providing touch feedback on a tablet was amazing. Fujitsu demoed a prototype tablet that used a touch film and ultrasonic feedback with a few applications that provided real tactile feedback. I was able to “play” a string instrument and slide from a rough beach surface to slippery wet. This really worked well and even though there was no ship date, the prototype looked and felt close to production ready. Beside games and keyboards the use cases for this technology are endless. Perhaps this will put Fujitsu on the map for mobile devices.
NFV ( Network Function Virtualization ) was Everywhere
Even more than “Cloud”. The buzz and appeal of expensive, rigid Telco equipment being replaced by flexible virtualized network functions on industry standard servers has reached the hype status and many companies are poised to take advantage of it. Carriers are looking forward to lower hardware costs and significant flexibility benefits to scale rapidly. Equipment vendors are jumping on board highlighting their abilities to support the coming NFV transition. Citrix was demonstrating a full NFV infrastructure orchestration spinning up live environments with Cloud Portal including ByteMobile, NetScaler and XenServer. The NFV opportunity will likely live up to the promised hype and disrupt this multi Billion dollar market, the only question is when.
Mobile World Congress has traditionally been a Telco centric event, while that continues to be a focus the addition of Enterprise mobility was very evident. In fact Samsung used the event to announce Knox 2.0 along with the Galaxy 5 and Galaxy Note Pro. Samsung and Citrix also jointly announced Citrix XenMobile for Knox a new offering which extends the XenMobile solution to manage Knox enabled devices.
Android Continues to Dominate
Android continues to dominate as the Mobile device platform. The alternatives were visible including a Firefox Mobile OS , Ubuntu, and Tizen as the platform for the new Google Gear 2. However some of them seemed to have the same story as last year. Intel announced DPT Device Protection Technology for Android which is a security layer embedded in new Atom based chips and Citrix announced support at MWC. Expect to see some Intel wins with device OEMs in the future.
IVI In-Vehicle-Infotainment system is the new acronym to learn that covers the category of on board Car computers. Ford, GM had big booths and other cars with new IVI systems were demoing in booths over the Event. Ford was showing car to car communication and GM was wooing developers for in car apps. One demo I really liked was ScreenSharing from Smartphone to IVI. HTC was demoing an HTC One inside a Volkswagon Golf and seamlessly screensharing from the smartphone to the Golf IVI. This is expected to be available in 2Q this year.
Samsung announced Gear 2.0 and Gear Fit. The Gear 2.0 is an improvement over 1.0 but still clunky. GearFit on the other hand with curved display and small profile was very wearable although the 90 degree view seemed annoying. Sony announced the SmartBand along with LifeLog that logs everything if you let it. There were also a few Google Glass demos and Glass alternatives but its clear that watches will be the next likely wearable to go mainstream.