Here’s a brief look at the major announcements made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on day two.
– Google plans to use its drones from Titan, a company it acquired in April 2014, as flying broadcast towers to cover wide areas with Internet connectivity, reports Digital Trends. Google will also be working on developing a wireless carrier that will bring together cell towers, Google Fiber, and new Wi-Fi initiatives to maximize coverage to users.
On the online services front, the company mentioned it will break its Google+ social network into two separate products, one called Photos and the other named Streams. The search giant also said that it is currently working on a new mobile payments framework named Android Pay, which would provide an ‘API layer’ that will allow other companies to support secure payments on Android in both physical stores and via apps.
– OS maker Cyanogen tied up with Qualcomm Technologies, to provide it’s Cyanogen OS for future Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) devices running Qualcomm 200, 400, and 600 series processors, reports ZDNet. Cyanogen will also launch a new website at www.cyngn.com which includes a new brand identity and an associated logo. The MWC also saw Alcatel launch a Cyanogen OS powered smartphone called the OneTouch Hero 2+.
– Other than its tie-up with Cyanogen, Qualcomm unveiled the next-generation Snapdragon processor, the Snapdragon 820, along with some interesting technologies like cognitive machine learning for smartphones and tablets and an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. While the company did not reveal much about cognitive learning, the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is quite neat as it doesn’t require touch for authentication. A number of devices featuring Qualcomm processors were revealed at the MWC including HTC One M9, Sony Z4, Microsoft 640 and 640XL among others.
– Blackberry is looking to get back in the smartphone game as the manufacturer announced the new BlackBerry Leap, a full touchscreen slider phone. No other details about the phone were revealed by the company. Interestingly, Blackberry also announced a new cloud service for enterprise mobility management called BES12 Cloud, which will be offered across iOS, Android and Windows Phones as well as BlackBerry 10 handsets.
– LG launched its third smart watch LG Watch Urbane, which runs Android Wear like its predecessor, and features a 320*320 px screen along with a 410mAh battery. The company also launched a 4G LTE version of the same watch, although with double the RAM. Acer too launched an activity tracking band named the Liquid Leap+ which will track steps, running distances and calories burnt and sync this data with a smartphone.
The most interesting wearable as form factors go, was probably the Huawei TalkBand N1, which is a wireless bluetooth headset with a mic, which also doubles as an activity tracker. The device comes with 4GB of internal storage and, according to the company, has a battery that lasts 12 days on standby and 3 days with regular usage.
– Valve, in partnership with HTC, launched a virtual reality headset called the Vive which is powered by Valve’s VR platform and manufactured by HTC. The device will let users walk around in simulated 3D environments and interact with objects within it. The device uses a gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor to track a user’s head movement as precisely as one-tenth of a degree, and something called the Steam VR base station, which lets you walk around the virtual space instead of using a controller.