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Mobile World Congress 2017

World’s first gigabit phone mingles with a blast from the past in Barcelona

Latest offerings at Mobile World Congress 2017 include most expensive camera, fastest phone and a screen that covers 80 per cent of the front surface

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 February, 2017, 7:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 March, 2017, 11:16am

A number of the world’s biggest smartphone brands unveiled their latest products this week in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017.

Here’s a list of some of the latest offerings, including the most expensive camera, the fastest speed, a screen that covers 80 per cent of the front surface, and yes, a reincarnation of a 17-year old model.

Huawei

The Shenzhen-based company launched an enhanced iteration of its successful P9 model, which placed Huawei on the map as a world class smartphone maker, called the P10, along with a larger sibling called the P10 Plus.

The P10 sports a 5.1-inch 1080p display, powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 960 processor. The phone runs on 4GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage, with a 3,200 mAh battery. Still featuring an 8-megapixel front camera co-engineered with Leica, the P10 also comes with two rear cameras with 12-megapixel and 20-megapixel sensors. While the P9 featured a global marketing campaign with Scarlet Johansson, the P10 comes with a palette of eight fashionable colours, two of which are set by Pantone called “Dazzling Blue” and “Greenery.”

The P10 will be pre-installed with GoPro Inc’s Quik editing software, allowing users to analyse photos and video clips stored in the phone, and generate videos with special effects and music.

Huawei’s 2016 smartphone shipments increased 30 per cent to 139 million units.The company, already the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment, is the third-largest global smartphone brand by shipments, with 9.5 per cent global market share, trailing Apple Inc’s 14.6 per cent and Samsung’s 21.2 per cent, according to IDC’s data.

Nokia Oyj

A unit of Microsoft Corp since 2014, Nokia reincarnated its classic 3310 model on Sunday with a touch up by Finnish startup HMD Global. The smaller, thinner and lighter model is equipped with a battery that claims a month’s worth of standby time, a 2.4-inch screen and a 2-megapixel camera. For a touch of nostalgia, the pre-installed Snake game that so enthralled users 17 years ago is back, although optimised for a colour screen, and adapted for Facebook Messenger for the age of social media.

The model will sell for 49 euros (US$52).

Nokia has good reason for digging into its archives. The 3310 launched in 2000 sold 126 million units, making it the 12th best-selling model in the history of cellular phones.

HMD on Sunday also unveiled several Nokia-branded Android smartphones including the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6, with screen sizes of 5.0 inches, 5.2 inches and 5.5 inches respectively. These new phones, together with a special Nokia 6 ARTE edition, will ship in the second quarter of 2017 with retail price tags between $147 and $299.

ZTE

Chinese equipment maker ZTE announced on Sunday that it has brought the world’s first Gigabit Phone to the WMC 2017, a prototype that has realised an unprecedented download speed of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).

ZTE’s Gigabit Phone is a 5G-capable phone, which means it’s equipped to run on the fifth generation telecommunications network capable of faster data downloads, leading to improved experiences in 4K video, 360-degree virtual reality, and instantaneous cloud storage.

Powered by Qualcomm’s latest chip set, it’s able to download and connect to networks 10 times faster in the laboratory than commonly seen LTE devices. The phone’s commercial roll out is two years away, said ZTE’s vice president Luo Wei.

ZTE is teaming up with various partners to speed up the commercialization of 5G networks. China Mobile recently announced it’s working with ZTE and Qualcomm to start an over-the-air trial tapping spectrum of mainland China’s 3.5-gigahertz band to speed up 5G commercialization.

LG

South Korea’s LG on Sunday launched its G6 model with a distinctive display with an 18:9 ratio, in contrast to the 16:9 ratio found on the market.

The G6 sports a 5.7-inch display, where the screen occupies over 80 per cent of the phone’s front surface. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera with a standard 13-megapixel lens on the rear. The front 5-megapixel camera for taking self images comes with a 100 degree wide angle lens, making it ideal for group photos. The G6 is also the first non-Google phone that builds in Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence bot that answers queries for users.

LG expects the launch of the new phone to appeal to the market after the setback from the earlier version. The launch of G5 was widely praised for its bold design and sound features during the MWC 2016, but the company had reportedly reduced its shipping target in July 2016 due to the lacklustre responses from the market. In January, LG announced a 258.80 billion won (US$228.7 million) net loss for the fourth quarter of 2016 – the first company-wide loss in six years – due to the poor performance from its mobile division.