MWC Day One - Hands on with HTC, Samsung and Nokia

Day one at MWC was spent getting our hands on some of the newest technologies that were revealed at the conference.

Big names like Samsung, HTC, Blackberry and Nokia brought new devices to the table, all of which were focused on different markets.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab S3 which comes with a S Pen and is focused on being the ‘ultimate entertainment device’. The tablet has a pressure sensitive screen which pairs well with the stylus pen for taking notes and used in conjunction with drawing applications. It also has some improved features for screen recording and multitasking.

 

Blackberry and Nokia both erred on the side of nostalgia - Blackberry announced a new device, KEYone, which married some newer technologies (it runs Android 7.1, has a large 3505mAh battery and comes with BBM and Blackberry Hub) with an oldschool physical QWERTY keyboard. Nokia went right down memory lane and brought back the Nokia 3310, much to many attendees delight.

 

Other brands, specifically Huawei, focused more on camera quality, using an impressive and fashion focused stand to display the abilities of its new P10 and P10 Plus handsets. Released in conjunction with GoPro, Pantone and Leicia, the new handsets have a dual lense camera on the front and the back. Huawei also released a new series of smart watches.

 

For us, HTC made the biggest impact showcasing the HTC U Ultra released earlier this year. It’s sleek handset paired with the secondary display independent of the primary screen makes for easy multitasking, but what we found most interesting was the promise of the HTC Sense Companion - an AI powered personal companion which ties all of your applications together and makes the U Ultra smarter. It allows the handset to suggest things like bringing an umbrella if it is due to rain today and evolves around the user the more the device is used. It also utalises the microphones within the handset (there are 4 of them, which work together to allow for 3D sound recording) which are always on at low power so that they can respond to any command.

 

The only catch is that the Sense Companion is not currently available - it is set to be released in a software update in the near future. However, this feature changes the way we see AI as it removes the barriers between apps and merges them into a cloud of user knowledge which is then used to make smart suggestions.

 
 

 

The key takeaway from the conference’s announcements was the big names are focusing on three main things - building smarter, AI powered phones which adapt with the user, ship with high end microphones and cameras to properly embrace the coming of voice and AR/VR, and embrace multitasking, utalising the powerful RAMs now available to smart devices to offer efficiency (excluding, of course, the Nokia 3310).

Stay tuned for more updates from Mobile World Congress.