This Week in Barcelona: Big Reveals, Big Ideas at MWC 2018

Barcelona is the center of the mobile universe, at least for this week, as Mobile World Congress 2018 brings the essential industry event to Marfeel’s hometown. The thousands of attendees gathered from across the globe have already seen Samsung unveil the Galaxy S9, checked out notable mobile phone launches from Nokia and Sony, and heard FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explain his perspective on 5G and net neutrality.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung grabbed early headlines with the big reveal of its Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, sizable smartphones featuring a curved “infinity edge” display, pumped-up sound system, and cool colors (lilac purple, coral blue). The biometric authentication has been simplified, and customizable emojis have been enhanced with AR, but cameras are the big story, with dual aperture lenses, “super slow-mo” video, and, in the S9 Plus, a rear camera.

Nokia introduced its Sirocco, “a luxury flagship” with curved edges that give it a Galaxy S8 look, CNet writes. Its flashiest feature could be the two cameras on the rear, one of them a 13-megapixel telephoto, and one front camera with a larger sensor that improves picture quality.

Sony made a splash with two new “bigger and better” flagship phones, the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2, which CNet compared favorably to the look and features of the Galaxy S9. These offer a Snapdragon 845 processor, wireless charging, and, of course, impressive cameras.

There are several more new phones in the mix competing for attention as well, including HTC, Lenovo, LG, Moto, and BlackBerry.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was the chief attention-getter during a Day One panel discussion on “The Future of the Industry: Transatlantic Digital Policy and Regulation,” where he cited 5G as one major reason for the recent repeal of U.S. net neutrality regulations. He said that the advent of 5G depends on “smart networks, not dumb pipes,” and maintained that smart networks are necessary to enable smart cities and the self-driving cars moving along those city streets.

Day Two keynotes include a panel on “The Foundations of the Digital Economy,” featuring Borje Ekholm, Ericsson President and CEO; Christopher Young, McAfee CEO; Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten, Inc. founder, chairman, and CEO; and Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat president and CEO. More keynote panel discussions will follow, including “Creating an Artificially Intelligent Future” on Day Three, and, on Day Four, “Women4Tech,” a look at gender diversity and the promise of empowering women in technology.

As the MWC agenda unfolds day by day, we can expect to hear big ideas springing from this year’s event themes, which include substantial topics like network technology, the digital consumer, content and media, and applied AI. There are strings of presentations, seminars, and other events winding around each theme, providing many opportunities for attendees to explore the topics most relevant to them—and to make the most of their week in beautiful Barcelona.

Come and meet us here: Hall 8.1 – App Planet Stand 8.1I21!

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