The World Mobile Congress in Barcelona proved the main thing: Asian companies are ahead of American ones, no one measure up to Apple any longer, and the 5G network almost became a reality.
In Barcelona, Mobile World Congress is over. It was the main event of the world of telecom and gadgets. The exhibition has long gone beyond the presentations of new phones or the exchange of experience between mobile operators. Now here show the achievements of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devices for “smart” home, uncrewed vehicles, and flying taxis. The manufacturers promise that thanks to 5G, all this will appear tomorrow.
5G changes everything
At some point, it might seem to an MWC visitor that 5G networks are already fully operational and have become ubiquitous. 5G is the primary trend to which the whole exhibition is devoted – however, this is not the first year already. If earlier, the new generation of the network was only a theory, now all the vendors tried to show how it works in practice. More precisely, they pretended – because there are still no work networks.
For the 5G network to work fully, you will need to finally adopt the standard, as well as create equipment for mobile operators and devices that support it. Smartphones with the current 5G version were presented at the exhibition: Huawei, Samsung, ZTE, Xiaomi showed at least one corresponding device. Trial networks have a British EE, American AT & T and Verizon, and the South Korean LG Plus. Without instruments, most manufacturers prepared examples for B2B: using 5G in production, for the Internet of Things (IoT), for live broadcasts with very high resolution and minimal latency, as well as for “smart” shops without cashiers.
5G networks are needed not so much for the convenience of consumers as for future technological development. One Huawei expert called 5G new electricity, which will run everything, and it quite accurately describes the capabilities of the technology.
Folding smartphones will be costly
Perhaps the most controversial “achievement” demonstrated at the exhibition was folding smartphones with flexible screens. There were three of them – Royale FlexPai (price about $ 1,300), Huawei Mate X (from $ 2600) and Samsung Galaxy Fold (for $ 1980). In addition to the very high cost, confuses more and limited functionality. About Royale, at CES-2020 it became known that its resource is limited to 200 acquisitions, and on the demo sample, the screen does not even always have time to switch from full-screen mode to folded and freezes.
The other two devices did not seem to have time to compromise themselves during the exhibition, but there are not so many people who held this technological miracle in their hands, so it is too early to conclude. However, the presentation of the Huawei Mate X on the zero days of the salon was epic: a promotional video all the guests watched with bated breath, and in terms of technical characteristics, this smartphone has overtaken the closest competitors, including the Galaxy Fold.
In any case, the opinions of visitors to the exhibition were divided: someone claimed that this fascinating experiment with a folding screen would not continue, others were convinced that technology had a great future, at least in the form of marketing and design solutions. By the way, the same Royale demonstrated on its stand a flexible screen on a woman’s handbag, on a hat and just on a curved surface – these are new areas for the use of bending displays.
Asia takes over the world
All the presentations and exhibition booths showed one essential thing: the United States ceased to be the leader of world technology, and Asia is advancing on all fronts. The main novelties among smartphones are from Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi, and ZTE. The only exception that smartphones cannot do without is the American Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, and besides the American solution, there is already a Chinese Huawei Balong 5000 chipset for 5G access.
Of the bendable smartphones, only Huawei Mate X will support 5G, while the Samsung Galaxy Fold will not. However, the South Korean company has integrated the fifth generation chipset into the Galaxy S10 model. Note that both companies are Asian.
The Balong 5000 is the only chipset in the world that meets the latest mobile network specifications, approved in December 2017 by the Radio Access Networks Technical Specifications Development Group (TSG RAN).
Apple is hopelessly behind
Apple has never participated in the MWC, to not be like everyone else. Until 2015, the company had its own Macworld Expo, and while Apple products were revolutionary, it attracted a lot of attention. However, when other companies began to overtake Apple in the introduction of new technologies, Macworld Expo ceased to be held. Experts at the exhibition agreed that the iPhone X, although it set the fashion on the screens with an “eyebrow” (after Apple, almost all significant manufacturers repeated this design), however at the time of release, it was outdated by other indicators – stuffing and screen options.
In the ranking of the most technologically advanced companies, Fast Company Apple dropped from 1st to 17th place. The publication called the most impressive Apple product in 2020, the A12 Bionic chip, and not at all the smartphone or the new laptop model. As for 5G technologies, it became known in December that Apple would not make iPhones with support for fifth-generation networks until 2020.
Due to a conflict with Qualcomm – the company accused the chipmaker of overpricing and violating eight patents – Apple can only hope to help Intel, but one company cannot cope with the volume of production. General Manager of 5G Advanced Technologies Business Group at Intel Rob Topol says the company is working on all the necessary technologies for 5G. Just before the end of 2020, Intel will start working with other manufacturers of smartphones in the 5G area. With what – will tell later.
Everybody needs cloud technology
5G networks will allow transferring colossal amounts of information in a fraction of seconds. This will push the development of cloud computing technology, machine learning, smart manufacturing, and smart home. For example, machine learning requires communication with cloud services, where big data is processed. This approach is useful; for instance, in medicine: in China, image recognition systems are used to diagnose brain cancer. To treat each of them quickly, high-resolution images are sent to a high-performance server. 5G may be one of the communication channels for such a shipment.
Many vendors demonstrated IoT cases, but the main problem remains security. How to protect your home if all devices are connected to the clouds and are controlled over the network? At MWC-2020, Avast presented the results of its research: the company analyzed 16 million home networks around the world and found that 41% of homes have at least one unprotected device, including webcams and game consoles. Nearly 70% of the tested vulnerable methods have weak and unreliable credentials, while just over 30% suffered because of the late software update.
We will live in multiple reality
Examples of the use of virtual reality (VR) were on virtually every stand, and the number of people wearing helmets and virtual reality goggles was in the hundreds. However, thanks to 5G, we may have the opportunity to watch VR without glasses – this is perfect for people with a weak vestibular apparatus.
Huawei demonstrated this technology: the device “catches” the viewer’s gaze into two cameras and “stratifies” the image in such a way that the optics of the human eye perceive the image as three-dimensional. Fifth-generation networks, in this case, do not allow the device to be tied to a specific place and quickly transmit high-definition video.
Of course, for now, these are all just toys. However, manufacturers and competitors are eyeing such technologies. Maybe tomorrow they will find them a serious and useful application.
About the author: Melisa Marzett is a many-sided person. Working as a freelance writer for resumeperk com, she travels and enjoys simple things. She enjoys life first of all and is grateful for every single day of it. She does not like spending time in vain. She does not know what waste of time is because her every day goes productively and with pleasure.