Best in show:
Nokia

Let me explain. You know how Google’s Nexus and Pixel projects were the darlings of the tech world? The thing that makes those products special is pure Android and updates direct from Google. Those benefits can now be had at a very reasonable price. Early indications peg Nokias 6, 5 and 3 at around R8 000, R4 500 and R3 000. Cameras are fine and the design is great. It’s a win for the consumer as far as I can tell, which is a weird thing to say. And the handsets will be built by the same crowd who have been building the iPhone, Foxconn.

Runners up: LG G6, Huawei P10

Things I learnt at MWC:
– Consumers are willing to consume high quality content on their mobile phones, evidenced by LG and Sony both announcing HDR content partnerships with Netflix and Amazon, respectively.

– 5G is coming, but its going to be a long road. For now, 802.11ad WiFi and 980 mbps LTE (aka Gigabit LTE) are more exciting because solutions are being deployed in the real world.

– Wireless VR is what VR should be, but I’m still not a huge fan and I don’t want my children using it. VR is cool and being able to move around without situational awareness is even better when you don’t have to worry about tripping over the cable running from your computer, potentially causing expensive damage to yourself and your hardware.

– The internet of things is the greatest thing and the worst thing for many people. When machines start talking to each other, the people who don’t understand the language will be the worst affected. Self-diagnosis will also affect the associated maintenance jobs, maximising profits for companies. On the plus side, automatic profile recognition and authentication will make the world a more efficient place.

The center of the mobile world is… Qualcomm

This isn’t a shameless plug for the company that hosted me, but an observation. The company is first to market with 60Ghz 802.11ad, Gigabit LTE, is enabling the push to mobile deployment of HDR video, is dominating the connected car market with the Snapdragon 820A chip, is making big strides in reducing latency in VR (which helps you not throw up), is helping TomTom build better maps, is driving the next wave of wearables and is leading the conversation around Windows 10 on ARM architecture as well as 5G. There wasn’t a single major advancement I saw on the show floor or in the private meeting rooms that Qualcomm wasn’t involved in.

The next big mobile thing is… Security

You should at least have some sort of lock on your smartphone. Your connected devices are central to your mobile existence. If you can afford it, get a phone with a fingerprint sensor. The thing is, privacy will be traded away when you want more convenient connected services, but once someone gets inside your devices, they have access to your life and everything connected to it. Two-factor, hardware backed authentication will start popping up everywhere and I strongly suggest you make it a priority to convert to it.