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MWC 2017 roundup: smartphones, wearables, VR & more

Here’s a brief look at the major announcements made at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:

Smartphone developments:

For the first time in many years, Samsung did not launch its flagship Android device at the MWC. However, there still were plenty of flagship phones that were launched. Sony launched its flagship Xperia XZ Premium with a 4K HDR screen with the newest Snapdragon processor, while LG launched the G6, a phone with water and dust resistance capabilities.

Motorola launched its successor to the Moto G4 with the Moto G5 and G5 Plus. While the G5 sports a 5-inch screen, the Plus is slightly larger at 5.2 inches and adds features like NFC for a price premium over the default model. Nokia also launched a bunch of Android phones including the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 Arte Black. Interestingly the company also re-launched its iconic Nokia 3310 for ~ Rs 3,500, although now with a color screen but retaining features like the game Snake.

Not to be left behind, BlackBerry also launched a new smartphone, and as tradition, with a physical keyboard. The phone comes with a 4.5 inch screen, runs Android, and has a 12MP camera.

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Wearables:

In wearables, LG debuted a pair of smartwatches sporting Android Wear with prices ranging around $350. Huawei also launched its Watch 2 smartwatch, priced around the same as LG’s watches. However, the latter claims to have a battery size twice the size, although LG supports other features such as a heart rate sensor.

On the VR front, HTC launched an audio strap for its Vive VR headsets, making it more comfortable to listen to audio, and the Vive Tracker. Both accessories will cost around $100 with pre-orders starting in May. Samsung on the other hand, launched a new VR controller for its Gear VR. The controller will provide controller feedback to users and according to Samsung, will be supported by over 70 titles.

Sony went a step further with its concept earphones with a built-in digital assistant. According to the company, the technology is “hands-free, eyes-free and ears free”, and will let users listen to music and get tasks done through the assistant at the same time.

IoT:

Sony has launched a projector called the Xperia Touch, which the company hopes to make a digital hub in the home. The projector has its own UI, and displays information like calendar events, weather data, and a memo board for anyone to doodle on.

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