by Zuriñe Dopacio González

March 6, 2015

Mobile World Congress 2015 Recap

The Mobile World Congress has been a magnet for innovative mobile technologies again like every year.

In case you are wondering, yes, also new wearables have been unveiled during this event.

HTC already teased at our conference in February that they will have big wearable news in Barcelona and they came out with not only one but two wearables! An activity tracker and a virtual reality headset! Re Vive is a virtual reality headset which evolved from company’s partnership with video game software and technology company Valve. The Vive is a virtual reality platform and hardware for PCs with little light sensors studded throughout the headset for tracking your head as you move. HTC showcased an early prototype of the device and will launch a consumer’s version later this year. The second device and for us the less exciting revelation of the two is the HTC Re Grip. A wristband developed in partnership with Under Armour. The device reminds a bit on the Fuelband but is sleeker and includes five different sensors:  a compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, light sensor for logging data and a built-in GPS.

LG also took a step forward with two new smartwatch models: the LG Watch Urbane and the LG Watch Urbane LTE. With the LG Watch Urbane LTE, LG is looking into the future. The device can is VoLTE enabled and which means that wearers can make calls via LTE. or send and receive data without connecting to a smartphone. It also works as a walkie-talkie with its push-to-talk (PPT) feature and can additionally connect to multiple parties simultaneously. Plus the NFC tech included allows you to make mobile payments and connect with smart cars. The watch runs with the webOS platform acquired by LG a few years ago, it has a heart-rate sensor, accelerometer and barometer. The LG Watch Urbane has almost the same name as its partner but differs a lot from the LTE one. This one runs with Android Wear and has a sensor to measure heart rate and average pulse. It has a sleeker and more stylish design compared to the “sporty” and bulky style of the LTE version.

Taiwanese hardware and electronics company Acer also presented a new fitness wearable, the Acer Liquid Leap+, which stands out from other products because it can connect with all main supported operating systems, such as iOS, Windows and Android! The device boasts a 1-inch OLED touch screen which is curved. It’s water-resistant and tracks steps, running distance and burned calories, as well as offering a music control feature. On top of its gym-related features, the Liquid Leap+ also has the capability of showing email, calendar and SMS notifications.

Huawei also showed wearables at the MWC: a watch and a wristband. The Huawei Watch is an Android Wear powered device with a round sapphire glass screen. It also includes 6-axis motion sensor and heart-rate monitor. Also showcased at the event was the Talkband B2, a combination of wristband and a Bluetooth in-ear headset. The device’s aim is to enable functions like automated activity tracking, sleep monitoring, and hands-free calling. The band’s PMOLED touch-screen base is made from underlying aluminum material and multiple strap choices. The smartband also comes with a smartphone pager and on-screen notifications and alarms.

For a change from all the wristbands and watches MediaTek presented the 361 Smart Kid Shoe – a connected pair of shoes integrating one of their chipsets. With GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities parents can now monitor their kids and know where they are at any moment.  The shoe can be charged via NFC by placing it on a charging platform. MediaTek also presented the round Android Wear smartwatches from their product portfolio.

Finnish company Creoir debuted with their Harmony Watch, crafted in ceramics, leather and stainless steel, Harmony Watch is wellbeing wearable designed for women to help them balance and visualizes motion, light and sleep at one single glance.

STMicroelectronics unveiled the BlueVoice – the world smallest MEMS microphones micro-array audio capture for IoT . “This is a game changing new open audio product with which you can transmit voice via BLE enabled by very sophisticated protocols” comments Wearable Technologies CEO Christian Stammel after watching a life demo at the event.

Smartwatches are still a hot topic at mobile world congress – we are wondering when this will change. Now we are waiting excitedly for the launch of the Apple watch on Monday! Will the watch be a game changer for the smartwatch market or merely another device entering the market? We’ll keep you posted on what we think about it.