BARCELONA — The Mobile World Congress changes the entire complexion of Barcelona every year, although most natives of the Catalonian capital never get a look at what goes in inside the vast Fira Barcelona exposition halls. Here are a few glimpses into the booths that covered the show floor, where the promise of 5G technology (remember, this show used to be called “3GSM”) was the focus.

After discreetly keeping a low profile at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Huawei hit Mobile World with a bang — and a foldable phone — drawing heavy traffic to its booth.


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Huawei Mate X

Huawei Mate X

Huawei might be company non grata in the United States., but it's a crowd-pleaser, with its $2,600 Mate X foldable smartphone at the Mobile World Congress. Easily the hottest gadget on display at MWC, featuring a 6.6-inch foldout display and a thickness of only 11 mm, it drew mobs to the Huawei booth — although one skeptic, peering at the Mate X through bulletproof glass said, "Eet ees steel too theeck."

Huawei MediapPad M5

Huawei MediapPad M5

Second fiddle at the Huawei booth to the Mate X foldable phone was Huawaei's stylus-equipped MediaPad M5 Pro computer, with front and back cameras, quad stereo speakers, and a 10.8-inch 2K display.

Cars, cars everywhere

The cars on display at Mobile World Congress were, in many cases, simply logo-bearing devices. But they were popular. Among the vendors who drove their vehicles into the Fira Barcelona were SAP, with its "Intelligent Mobility Ecosystem," Qualcomm with its Snapdragon Automotive Compute Solution and even NTT Docomo.

SK Telecom 5G Connected Vehicle SKtelecom car

A plethora of cars on display suggested the "mobile" in Mobile World Congress, but perhaps the most compelling automotive demonstration was SK Telecom's 5G Connected vehicle simulation booth, in which "instructors" sat down curious conventioneers and explained how automated driving is going to look and feel... some day.

Microsoft HoloLens 2

Microsoft HoloLens 2 is a virtual reality technology designed to be more than a toy. It can be used to simulate and practice difficult work tasks, from construction to space travel to surgery. We also thought it might be handy in learning how to defuse bombs.

Samsung folds

Samsung foldable phone

Samsung is using a new 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that allows the entire device to have a tablet-sized screen that can be folded to fit into a pocket. The main display is QXGA+ resolution (4.2:3), and when it’s folded, a smaller separate 4.6-inch HD+ (12:9) display is used for the phone mode.

Samsung's S10 5G phone drew substantial traffic at Mobile World. With a 6.7-inch QHD 3040x1140 dynamic AMOLED screen, multiple cameras front and back, and lots of bells and whistles.

Dunkable

P2i

P2i is showing off a newly-developed “Dunkable” liquid protection for smartphones. Unlike the company’s previous versions of water-repellent technologies such as “Splash proof” or “Barrier coating,” “Dunkable” goes a step further by providing “component-level water protection.” Even when water gets inside a phone (a handset with a cracked screen, for example), or a smartphone is dropped into a toilet, P2i’s multi-chemistry technology makes it possible for a device to operate normally, according to the P2i’s chief scientific officer Stephen Coulson (shown in the picture above). The Dunkable is protected by 160 patents, he claimed.

P2i is currently in talks with all top 10 smartphone vendors, he told us. “You will see them on the market in 2019.”

HTC 5G mobile hub

HTC 5G hub

HTC is showing off a 5G mobile hub with a 5G hotspot, an Android hub, and a battery pack in a single device. HTC’s 5G Hub allows up to 20 users on its 5G connectivity.

Running Android 9.0 Pie, the hub can stream TV shows and movies from apps like Netflix, or simply use its USB-C connector to hook into the HDMI port on a TV.

HTC’s 5G hub is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 with Snapdragon X50 5G modem.


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OnePlus 5G smartphone

Thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 with X50 5G modem, a host of Chinese smartphone vendors have shown up at Qualcomm’s booth to demonstrate their first 5G handsets, scheduled for rollout later in 2019.

OnePlus 5G phone, one of the Chinese products, is still encased in a white plastic shroud. Yudun Wang, OnePlus engineer, said that the company is planning to launch in China in the second quarter.

Similarly, China’s Oppo was also demonstrating a 5G smartphone. The company’s engineer Yingpeng Li, demonstrating a video game on the unit, said its launch date is still “confidential.”

LG's dual screen phone

Foldable phones are all the rage at the Mobile World Congress. LG’s dual-screen smartphone takes a different approach. Unlike more exotic technologies such as flexible displays and complex hinges used by its competitors, LG created a second display as a detachable accessory.

Suggested uses for dual screen smartphones by LG include a touchscreen control pad for video games, dual video call with two screens used to show each other’s face, and capture and share images on two screens (shown in the picture above). LG claims “the second screen can maximize the 5G experience.”

LG G8 ThinQ officially introduced at the Mobile World Congress comes with 3D depth-sensing technology inside.

LG Electronics, Infineon Technologies AG and pmd teamed up to bring time-of-flight (ToF) technology to LG G8 ThinQ. Included are Infineon’s REAL3 image sensor chip and Pmd technologies’ algorithms for processed 3D point clouds.

The ThinQ still has a fingerprint sensor, but a user can also get “3D face recognition” and “Hand ID,” making it possible to lock the Android phone with his palm. Both take advantage of a new front-facing sensor.

To show off a touchless interfaceenabled by the new ToG sensor, LG demonstrated Air Touch Game (shown above).


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