Mobile World Congress review: Foldable phones, tiny terabytes and Google Fi goes 5G

Mar 5, 2019 | Mobile

Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest tech events in the digital calendar, and this year was even bigger, with foldable phones, next-gen smartwatches and super-fast connectivity dominating the agenda. Taking place every 12 months in Barcelona, the gigantic tech show is a chance for new gadgets to be unveiled.

The huge trade show takes place over two exhibition sites in Barcelona: the Fira Gran Via and Fira Montjuïc. In terms of size it might not hit the same scale as CES, but Mobile World Congress is still a massive event.

We take a look at some of the biggest trends and devices on display at this year’s event:

Foldable future: Huawei, Samsung and LG reveal hybrid devices

Mobile World Congress 2019 turned out to be the battle of the foldable smartphones , after Huawei , LG and Samsung all unveiled their own models. Samsung led the way last week, revealing its Galaxy Fold smartphone at an event shortly before MWC.LG and Huawei have both followed suit at the conference itself, with the launch of the V50 ThinQ 5G and Mate X, respectively.

But how do the smartphones actually stack up against each other? The Galaxy Fold will retail for a staggering €2000, while Huawei’s Mate X will retail for an eye-watering €2299. LG’s V50 ThinQ 5G is essentially two screens linked together by a hinge, rather than one continuous device, like the Galaxy Fold or Mate X. While the Galaxy Fold has one small outer screen and one large inner screen, the Mate X uses one outer screen in three different ways, depending on how you hold the device.

Watch this review comparing two of the devices from blogger SuperSaf below:

Tiny but mighty: SanDisk 1TB microSD cards break speed records

Your mobile device can now hold as much data as a typical PC, Western Digital announcing the 1TB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card during Mobile World Congress. While the new microSD is not the first to reach that 1TB capacity, the company says the new card is the fastest 1 TB UHS-1 microSD card yet. Micron also launched a 1TB card, joining Lexar’s 1 TB announced earlier this year. The new speeds are made possible through the company’s own flash technology. The 1TB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card will launch in April. Pre-orders are available now for about $450, or $200 for the 512GB version.

Nubia reveals wearable smartphone with flexible screen

Earlier this year, Nubia launched a dual-screen Nubia X dual-screen smartphone with one screen on the front and another on the back. At MWC it returned with the world’s first ‘wearable smartphone’. The Nubia Alpha is essentially a smartwatch with smartphone capabilities, including everything from making and taking calls to taking pictures with a built-in camera. Instead of a circular screen, it has a 4-inch flexible OLED screen in a rectangular shape with a 960 x 192-pixel resolution. It curves down the side of the bracelet, providing a longer viewing area than a traditional smartwatch.

HTC 5G Hub connects 20 devices at once

HTC unveiled its new HTC 5G Hub in Barcelona, a tablet-like device, from which customers can use 5G on multiple devices. It features a 5-inch HD touchscreen to enable 4K video streaming and gaming, as well as 5G mobile hotspot for up to 20 users.It features a massive 7,660mAh battery, making it very useful to use on the go. In the UK, the device will be sold through Three UK. While the price of the device remains unclear, HTC has revealed that it will be available at the beginning of Q2 this year.

Google partners with Sprint to bring 5G support to Google Fi

In 2015, Google launched Project Fi, a mobile virtual network operator compatible with Nexus and Pixel smartphones. Now, it has officially announced the project has been brought directly under Google’s branding with a name change to “Google Fi.” But that’s not all — Google Fi is now compatible with a majority of Android devices and, for the first time ever, it also works with iPhones. Google Fi offers data, voice, and texting service for a flat rate, but also one of the few wireless carriers in the US to refund people for the data they don’t use, Sprint is aiming to have its 5G network up and running in nine major U.S. cities within the first half of 2019. These cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. When the 5G service arrives, Google Fi customers with Sprint 5G-compatible, Designed for Fi phones will swap over to the new network immediately.

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