VR, Smartwatches, Wearables: 8 Cool Gadgets From MWC - InformationWeek

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3/5/2015
12:20 PM
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VR, Smartwatches, Wearables: 8 Cool Gadgets From MWC

At the 2015 Mobile World Congress, InformationWeek looks at eight cool devices from the showroom floor, including VR headsets, smartwatches, and fitness trackers.
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BARCELONA – While this year’s Mobile World Congress is full of news about net neutrality rules, 5G developments, corporate mergers, and mobile payments, announcements about new devices have not been as prolific as in previous years.

Top-tier manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung, who used to make big launches at the show, have presented new smartphones, especially Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S6, but no new wearables.

Other players such as LG, Firefox, HTC, Microsoft, ZTE, and Telefonica have introduced new smartphones and wearables aimed at the consumer market, with different levels of features and prices.

Mozilla is showing a new range of basic smartphones running Firefox OS, including the first models of the $25 smartphone aimed at emerging markets.

Microsoft is present for the first time as a mobile manufacturer after the company finalized the acquisition of Nokia devices last year. While they continue to focus on mid-range, low-cost smartphones for the price-conscious user, they haven’t introduced any new models based on their custom version of the Android OS. The new Microsoft Lumia 640 series smartphones are running Windows OS.

Another theme at the show is presence of virtual-reality headsets by Oculus VR, which, together with Samsung, has introduced a new version of its popular Gear VR system, working with the new Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone. 

Some manufacturers have introduced smartwatches based on the Android Gear platform, but most of the top-tier names are waiting for the market reaction to the Apple Watch, expected to debut later this month during a March 9 event in San Francisco.

With all that said, InformationWeek looks at eight different devices that point toward the future of mobile computing.

(All photos by Pablo Valerio who is covering MWC 2015 this week.)

Pablo Valerio has been in the IT industry for 25+ years, mostly working for American companies in Europe. Over the years he has developed channels, established operations, and served as European general manager for several companies. While primarily based in Spain, he has ... View Full Bio

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mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
3/8/2015 | 4:51:33 PM
Orange Klif
I feel kinda sorry for the so called "emerging markets", if they need to get a Firefox OS smartphone. They're awful.

I thought The Lumia 640 was also for new markets. but not @ EUR 159, they're not. Looks good tho.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/6/2015 | 11:12:23 PM
Huawei smartwatch
My favorite smartwatch at the MWC was the Huawei's smartwatch powered by Android Wear. I don't like plastic watches and the classic design and materials in the Huawei's smartwatch show real craftmanship in watchmaking. It's an elegant, classic smartwatch.

-Susan 
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 9:58:57 PM
Re: FiLiP
But this mother was so upset that she didn't want her son to go on the trip if she couldn't call him everyday. 

Was he an only child? Parents of only children tend to be more protective. While I understand her concern, he was with school all day, it's not like he was unsafe. Some parents want/need total control.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 4:46:23 PM
Re: FiLiP
I think the phone is a good idea.  I would very interesting to know whether kids are using it.  It looks bulky,  I think if such phone could look like the type of bracelets which are in fashion among kids these days  which are thinner and colorful, it could be something more kids can use it.   
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
3/6/2015 | 9:35:48 AM
Re: FiLiP
@pablo if a young kid is walking to school alone then this would be helpful, or if they're going to visit a friend and the parent is worried. I'd say maybe 8 or 9 years old is about the maximum age you'd hit before the kid doesn't want to be tracked anymore. I feel like teenagers would figure out how to unlock the watch and toss it in a heartbeat, especially since the watch looks like it's designed for younger kids.
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 5:58:43 AM
Re: FiLiP
@Li, the FiLIP is not for teenagers, who want a full feature smartphone. It is actually for children, ages 6-8 to 12, who may go to school alone or move around the area to visit friends.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 4:46:03 AM
Re: FiLiP
This kind of thing is a little bit tricky indeed. I think it's especially useful for parents with teenagers - but how the boys and girls will actually feel?
Pablo Valerio
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Pablo Valerio,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2015 | 3:28:53 AM
Re: FiLiP
@soozyg, I had a long talk with the FiLIP people on the Telefonica booth. They have many discussions about the possibility of letting the child remove the watch. 

The current model does allow to be removed, but it is as diffcult as opening a medicine bottle, you need to use two fingers to unlock it and then move the lock upwards.

I can understand parents want to have their children "monitored", and this product has some good features. But there has to be some common sense about the amount of control.

I remember a discussion a few years ago with a mother of a 6 y/o at my children's school in Madrid. She wanted her son to take a cell phone to the school annual field trip. The school has rules that so not allow that, and parents should communicate only with the teachers, to allow the children to interact and spend the time learning and playing.

But this mother was so upset that she didn't want her son to go on the trip if she couldn't call him everyday. 

Unfortunately I see this type of devices becoming more and more popular.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2015 | 7:41:38 PM
FiLiP
The trackable wristband sounds like the equivalent of putting a toddler on a leash, but as the parent of a budding teenager I must say I'm intrigued.....
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2015 | 7:37:04 PM
self healing
The back cover is equipped with LG's self-healing technology that eliminates minor scratches.

Oh, I want to see that! Now, that to me is right out of science fiction.
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