Mobile News

The Best of MWC Barcelona 2024

  • Techies unveiled groundbreaking innovation in the halls of the Fira Gran Via during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
  • Driving the mobile industry forward, check out what stood out, the partnerships forged, and the future in mobile tech.
  • Read on for Spiceworks News & Insights’ top highlights from MWC Barcelona 2024.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona 2024, one of the most anticipated technology conferences, wraps up today after an eventful few days. The annual conference is a staging ground for the latest innovations from mobile vendors, IT companies, networking and telecom providers, and others.

This year, almost 100,000 people thronged to sunny Spain’s second-largest city to rub shoulders with the who’s who of the mobile space and get an early first-hand experience of the novelties of future mobile technologies.

However, if you couldn’t attend this year’s proceedings, Spiceworks News & Insights brings you the most exciting tech showcased at MWC Barcelona 2024.

MWC Barcelona 2024 Highlights

1. Smartphones

Global System for Mobile Communications Association’s (GSMA) annual mobile conference is incomplete without several original equipment manufacturers showing off and launching multiple smartphones.

While companies such as Google and Samsung have resorted to in-house launches in recent years to get the maximum eyeballs, the allure of MWC Barcelona is too lustrous not to debut devices.

Making headway this year, despite only being a concept phone, is Motorola’s rollable smartphone. The device features a pOLED display and multiple batteries, allowing it to bend. While the device can be wrapped around a wrist and held on using a magnetic strip, the device cannot be folded. 

Next up is the Nothing Phone 2a, the OnePlus co-founder’s London-based venture Nothing Company’s next smartphone. Carl Pei’s third offering at Nothing Company caters to the mid-range market. After dropping an augmented reality teaser earlier in February, the company showed off the 2a in a glass box while still keeping mum on the tech specs. All we know is that it runs on the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro chip.

Huawei brought the Mate60 RS Ultimate Design to MWC Barcelona 2024, but with the U.S. market closed off since the trade ban, let us look at the next big thing from China, the Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

Xiaomi 14 Ultra is primarily a camera-heavy phone with a revamped user interface (HyperOS) and AI features. It runs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The device is priced at £1,299.00 for the 512 GB model, the same as the iPhone 15 Pro.

2. Telecom partnerships

First is Nokia’s partnership with Intel to make 5G more energy efficient. It encompasses the integration of chips (Xeon processors) and power management software in Nokia’s 5G Core solutions.

Next, NTT is teaming up with Red Hat to enable AI data analysis at or near the edge in real time. The aim is to lower the latency and increase the bandwidth for sensor tech implementations. The collaboration is based on the Red Hat OpenShift platform and tech developed by IOWN Global Forum, including IOWN All-Photonics Network (APN) and IOWN Data-Centric Infrastructure (DCI).

Samsung Electronics, Juniper Networks, and Wind River are collaborating to enable end-to-end network virtualization for clients. The partnership embraces software-based networking with a virtual cell site router (vCSR) using Samsung’s virtualized DU, Juniper’s Cloud Router, and Wind River’s Studio Cloud Platform. It eliminates the need for physical router hardware and intends to reduce the total cost of ownership.

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3. Wearables and other gadgets

Surprising some tech watchers, Samsung, which gave a sneak peek of the Galaxy Ring at Galaxy Unpacked last month, introduced the new wearable at MWC Barcelona 2024. Samsung remained mum on the specifications, though we know it comes in sizes 5 to 13 and three colors: gold, platinum silver, and ceramic black.

Galaxy Ring is a means to offer My Vitality Score, a wellness score calculated on data points, including heart rate, breathing, sleep patterns, movement, and activity, collected from the user’s finger. The ring can sync with the Galaxy Watch as part of the Samsung Health ecosystem.

The Humane AI Pin may seem like a simple square-shaped jacket accessory, but initial reviews suggest it delivers a powerful AI-packed punch that serves as a personal assistant. Brought to you by former Apple executives Bethany Bongiorno and Imran Chaudhri and funded by Microsoft, OpenAI’s Sam Altman, and others, Humane AI Pin accepts commands through audio since it lacks a screen, touch through a touchpad and gestures.

However, it makes up for it with a laser ink display included to project images on the user’s hands. It can translate languages, convert currency, serve as a nutritional tool, and perform other interactive duties like scanning something in the user’s hand and describing it. The gadget is a standalone device with its own SIM slot.

Lenovo’s new ThinkBook Transparent Display Laptop is a 17” 720p see-through machine that allows users to see what’s on the other side of the screen. The concept laptop has a micro-LED transparent display, not to mention what seems like an equally stunning touchscreen keyboard that doubles as a drawing surface and feels like a tablet.

While the device isn’t commercially viable yet, like the rollable laptop it unveiled at MWC Barcelona 2023, other transparent displays, such as those from LG and Samsung, will be available soon.

4. Miscellaneous

Resilient SIM or rSIM offers continuous connectivity monitoring for uninterrupted connectivity. It can deliver seamless switching between network providers during service disruptions. “At this year’s MWC, it’s been fantastic to showcase rSIM’s ‘always on’ connectivity offering and to hear so much excitement from the industry at a time where IoT is truly exploding,” Richard Cunliffe, director of Product and Innovation, rSIM at CSL Group, told Spiceworks over email.

The company has partnered with Deutsche Telekom IoT and Tele2 IoT for the rSIM. Cunliffe commented on prospects, “We’re looking to incorporate more telecom vendors, as our main route to market is via mobile operators. We’ll be onboarding more MNOs globally to support our partners and customers.”

“We’ve been impressed by some of the other cutting-edge technology on display too, from talks of 6G to urban air mobility innovations, including the development of air taxi infrastructure.”

Cunliffe is talking about Alef Aeronautics’ prototype vertical take-off and landing car. It is interesting to live in a time where the following sentence is a reality: a flying car that can also drive. It will cost a cool $300,000 and have a driving and flying range of 200 miles each, per Euronews.

Finally, we have cellular smartphones and satellite phones, but can we have both functionalities in one? The answer to that question is yes, thanks to the unveiling of the Thuraya Skyphone. The device enables users to connect through Thuraya’s satellites in case they drop their terrestrial network, let’s say, in the middle of the sea.

But the company doesn’t want to limit the phone’s viability to adventure-seekers or professionals whose duties take them to remote areas. This is possibly why the Skyphone comes with Android 14. The phone is compatible with mobile operator SIM cards (5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G) from more than 370 Thuraya Roaming Partners across over 170 countries.

5. 4YFN winner

Spain’s Qilimanjaro Quantum Tech emerged as the 10th 4YFN winner and will take home a €20,000 cash prize and an opportunity to speak at 4YFN MWC Barcelona 2025. The quantum startup beat South Korea’s Bitsensing (radar tech), Israel’s Mica AI Medical (AI healthcare), Spain’s Ocean Econstructures (marine life conservation and restoration), and the Netherlands’ Whispp (voice tech).

Qilimanjaro operates as a full-stack quantum computing solutions provider, including quantum processors and algorithmic services. It offers a cloud-based Quantum as a Service (QaaS) and quantum consulting services, assists in developing app-specific integrated quantum chips, and helps set up quantum labs.

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