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Mobile World Congress: Smart Watches and Samsung S6

Mobile World Congress is the biggest conference focused on mobile, where we get a sneak peak at new technologies and devices coming out soon, or over the course of the year.

Mobile World Congress is the biggest conference focused on mobile, where we get a sneak peak at new technologies and devices coming out soon, or over the course of the year. Already, we have seen Samsung announce its new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, HTC announce its flagship One M9 and a variety of manufacturers reveal their latest smartwatches.

First, with what is undoubtedly the biggest news from the show, is the launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices. The devices are a sign of the Korean giant’s move to a new, metal and glass design. With both models sporting a high-resolution 551ppi 5.1” screen, super fast processor, enhanced camera and other class-beating technologies, Samsung is aiming for high sales.

The S6 Edge features a screen that slightly curves on either side of the phone, giving it a premium look and feel. Some clever touches include a function that means if the phone is placed screen down on a table, users can set different colours for different contacts to alert them who is calling.

In addition to a new premium look and feel, Samsung’s new devices also feature a new fingerprint scanner, that moves away from the S5’s need to swipe for authentication. The devices also feature Samsung Pay, that’s been launched in partnership with Visa and Mastercard. Though the devices lose the ability to swap batteries, they do feature super-fast charging, in addition to supporting both current forms of wireless charging.

Office pre-loaded
One of the big stories to come out of the first day of Mobile World Congress is the number of companies that are pre-loading Microsoft’s Office onto their devices. Both S6 variants and Sony’s new Z4 Tablet will all come with Microsoft’s productivity suite pre-installed.

Microsoft announced its new mid-range Lumia 640 and 640XL at Mobile World Congress, that will come with a subscription to Office 365. These devices appear to be Microsoft continuing to target business users. Though some were expecting to see a high-end phone be announced, Microsoft has said that it won’t release premium devices until Windows 10 is released to the public. In place of this, it seems Microsoft is getting its software into the hands of as many users as it can.

Xperia Z4 Tablet
Sony announced the launch of its new Z4 tablet, coming in at the same thickness, but lighter than the iPad Air 2. With Sony’s VAIO laptop line now gone, Sony is directing its new target at the business market with Office preloaded and a new Bluetooth keyboard that turns it into a true productivity machine.

As with other Sony flagship mobile devices, the Z4 Tablet is also waterproof, making it ideal for use outdoors or in an environment where the device could encounter water. Sony has also made the Xperia Z4 Tablet more of a true productivity machine, with a similar bottom bar showing other open apps, as one might find on a PC.

One M9
HTC has also announced its upgrade of the One M8 – the One M9. Though both phones look nearly identical, it’s hard to not be impressed by the design of HTC’s top of the range phone. The new M9 features a new Snapdragon 810 processor and improved camera.

Though Mobile World Congress is, technically speaking, a show for mobile phones, the big trend this year appears to be smartwatches.

Huawei has managed to capture a fair amount of attention for its new watch that features a circular frame that has the appearance of a high-end watch. Running Android Wear, the watch offers the same functionality as many of the other Android Wear-powered smartwatches, though in a noticeably high-end looking package.

LG announced the launch of two new smartwatches, the Watch Urbane running Android Wear and the Urbane LTE, featuring LTE connectivity and running webOS. The Urbane LTE is a fully independent smartwatch that doesn’t require a connection to a smartphone for data. How long the device will last, remains to be seen.

Apple sneaking in
Apple is renowned for taking attention from some of the action at Mobile World Congress. Though it doesn’t have a physical presence there, ahead of the event, Tim Cook was in Europe touring different countries and speaking to different media. Apple also announced that it will be holding a new event on March 9th focused, most likely, on the Apple Watch.

In recent weeks, Apple’s highly anticipated Watch has been finding its way into a number of fashion magazines, signalling that it will soon be released to the market.

With the slew of recent smartwatches, it appears that the industry is bracing itself for what it hopes will be a major new product category.

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