If Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote yesterday focused our attention on emerging markets and connecting the unconnected to the mobile web, today we took a look at the high-end again, as we took a tour of the show floor to gawp at the hot new devices on offer.
The big gadget to check out was the Samsung Galaxy S5 – which saw Samsung make a concerted effort to make the Galaxy line more serious. While the S4 boasted several divisively gimmicky features, The S5 has built in a fingerprint scanner (which is being touted as a payment authoriser), as well as a slew of features that integrate the phone with Samsung’s other big launches – the Gear Fit and the Gear 2 smartwatch range.
The Gear Fit is a fitness band meets smartwatch. It’s got a futuristic curved OLED screen and can receive notifications from your phone, control your music, and monitor a wide range of health information. The Gear 2 is a fuller-featured smartwatch, boasting a camera and a more ‘watch-like’ look – as well as a hard drive for actually storing music.
Of course, when it comes to watches, tech companies are encroaching on the fashion world more than ever before, so it’s interesting to see how different some of these smartwatches look. Will consumer purchase decisions be made based on OS and features alone? Will consumers want it to look cool or will they prefer it to look more or less invisible? And if Apple ever put that mythical iWatch out, will it become the default ‘look’ in the same way the iPhone has?
We ask because the smartwatches on the various tech companies stands here at MWC vary wildly in terms of how they look – some harking back to old-school watches and some looking more at home on a Blade Runner replicant than a Debenhams mannequin. And although we at Yodel are more suited to telling you what to do with your mobile marketing budget than we are to telling you what to wear, it struck us as an important consideration if wearable tech really is going mainstream.
Another phone that’s got people talking is the ‘NSA-proof’ Blackphone from the JV of Silent Circle and Geeksphone. Designed to keep conversations and data private, it may be a geek’s dream and of little interest to most consumers, but it’s part of a wider theme at MWC 14. You’ve heard of Big Data? Well the flipside is Big Trust.
Analysts (such as Ovum) have noted that consumer trust is the big issue when it comes to monetising the customer data that mobile marketing – not to mention these ever-more advanced smartphones – is capable of delivering to brands.
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