Mobile World Congress 2023: Some of the groundbreaking technology we’ve seen at the event so far
The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade fair kicked off on Monday, bringing together world leaders in mobile and telecommunications to showcase their product developments and discuss the future of technology.
The four-day show, held in a huge Barcelona conference centre, is the world’s biggest and most influential meeting for the phone tech industry.
In a week of key industry announcements and exciting product launches, what are the highlights we’ve seen so far?
Breakthroughs in mobile phone tech
Nokia has developed a 'self-fix' phone
Nokia unveiled its "self-fix phone'" on Monday - one of the first budget Android smartphones designed to be repaired at home.
The technology - which has been brought to the market in partnership with iFixit - will enable customers to carry out simple fixes themselves, such as replacing depleted batteries or cracked display screens.
Nokia and its parent company HMD Global hope the phone will appeal to an audience looking to save time and money with their next investment - plus offer an enviable lifespan for consumers.
OnePlus showcased its new cooling concept model
OnePlus has unveiled its OnePlus 11 concept smartphone, featuring the company's new Active CryoFlux cooling solution.
From the outside, the phone looks like it has coloured strips running along its back. This is actually a fluid, being pumped around the phone with a ceramic piezoelectric micropump.
The purpose? Like cooling systems you might find on a PC, it can improve handset performance and longevity, as well as speed up charging.
Scroll and fold
Motorola added the wow factor by unveiling a phone with a screen that rolls out. Double tap your fingers on the side, and the display automatically extends from 5 inches long (13 cm) to 6.5 inches by unscrolling from the bottom.
Motorola’s owner, Chinese tech brand Lenovo, also showed off a laptop with a rolling screen, which took about 19 seconds to unscroll to its fully extended position. The company said its concept devices are unlikely to hit the market anytime soon.
Other brands including Samsung and China's Oppo and Tecno also released their latest folding designs.
Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro are launching in Europe
On the back of launching in China last year, the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro have taken the global stage at MWC.
Germany, France, Spain, and Italy will be some of the first markets to introduce android smartphones, which both feature Leica cameras and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 - an 8 core chipset that was only released at the end of last year.
Xiaomi has also debuted its product partnership with XDA at MWC, a prototype pair of AR glasses that are wireless and can switch between transparent and shaded models.
HONOR Magic5 flagship series takes top spot for camera and screen tech
After launching at MWC this week, the new HONOR Magic5 series has taken top spot for camera and screen tech in the DXOMARK Global Smartphone Ranking.
The rounded design weighs in at just 219g and its camera features a 100-degree, 12MP selfie function that uses face scan technology for a picture-perfect shot.
The 1312 x 2848 pixel screen can peak at 1800 brightness.
Accessories that make life that bit easier
Motorola is defying satellites with its new Bluetooth accessory
Making its debut at MWC, the new Motorola Defy Satellite Link will allow smartphones to send and receive text messages even if there’s no signal.
Perfect for anyone who loves exploring the remote outdoors, for example, the accessory can provide SOS signals and location sending, even if the smartphone it’s paired to has run out of power.
The development means people won’t need to buy an entirely new phone to benefit from the evolving power of off-radar communication.
Super fast charging technology
Realme’s 240W phone will be released internationally after being announced in China last month. The brand says the GT3 model can charge to 100 per cent in just nine and a half minutes.
But China-based competitor Redmi is also powering its way to the top of the charging charts with a 300W charger that it claims can fuel your phone to half full in a little over two minutes - and five to full charge.
If AI had a face
People might feel better interacting with AI chatbots if they had human faces. That's the thinking at D-ID, an Israeli startup, which launched a new interface for its "digital human" - essentially an online avatar that can work with AI-chat systems to hold conversations.
"We had the chatbot in the past. They didn’t work," said CEO Gil Perry, because they could only answer specific questions with specific answers. Now, "large language models are bringing huge improvements to traditional chatbots".
Perry demonstrated by asking a question to the chatbot's face on his laptop, whose response was eerily lifelike. He said safeguards would prevent D-ID's technology from being used maliciously.
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Health remains at the forefront of design
Huawei’s military-standard cyber watch
Huawei has been dominating the agenda at MWC this year, in terms of both presence and product offering.
Its new GT Cyber watch advertises itself as having “military-level durability” - and frankly, it looks like it too.
Water resistant to 50m, it has over 100 workout modes and pulls data from five satellites to track exercise as accurately as possible, and sleep technology that tracks movement and heart rate while you rest.
Oppo’s OHealth H1 Smart Health Monitor
It looks a bit like an old-school computer mouse, but this health monitor from Oppo is probably as close to having a live-in doctor as you can get. Unless you are a doctor. Or live with one.
The device is able to measure six biometrics, including heart rate, blood oxygen level and blood pressure. It also has a digital stethoscope and can use AI to diagnose medical problems and provide suggested treatments.
'Next generation immersive experiences' for the world of augmented reality
XRAI Glass' augmented reality glasses
XRAI's virtual assistant app was designed to work with smart viewer glasses to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing better understand what's happening around them. Speech is transcribed from other people nearby and the subtitles are displayed on the lenses or an attached smartphone.
Now XRAI (pronounced X-ray) has integrated OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology into its app and glasses setup.
"People can ask questions such as general knowledge or recipes or anything they like," CEO Dan Scarfe said.
"Or they can actually ask questions of their conversation. So, 'Hey, XRAI, can you please summarize this conversation?' Or, 'Hey, XRAI, what was the name of the town that we were just talking about?'"
For those with hearing loss, it can be helpful to have an AI assistant recap a conversation in which multiple people were talking, the company says.
Amdocs' sport vision technology
Amdocs demonstrated AR technology that could be used for both fans and security staff at big-ticket sports games.
For example, soccer fans attending a match in person could buy a package of extras for their AR glasses, including exclusive replay videos and live stats shown on their lenses to "augment" their game experience.
The same glasses also could be used as an extra tool for security staff at the game, with additional safety features including a security database.