We've had boots on the ground for several days now, and the sheer volume of news coming out of Barcelona this week has been nothing short of exciting. We've seen huge product announcements, brief glimpses into the future, and a whole lot of new ideas that are going to keep everyone quite busy for a little while. It's been difficult to keep up with, so while we are hard at work getting you our hands on experiences with all the new things it feels like a recap is in order.
Here's six quick clicks with all the huge news to come from the show so far.
Samsung has ditched expandable storage and removable batteries.
Just about everyone expected Samsung to announce their Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge this week, but I don't think there were many people watching the presentation that expected such a radical change in the way Samsung's flagship device looks and operates. Samsung has removed all of the plastic from their design language and outfitted the Galaxy S6 with glass on both sides and a fantastic aluminum core.
The upside to this design change is the phones look amazing, especially when you see the different color options and how they look in different kind of lighting. Of course, to accomplish this design Samsung had to lock things down a bit. The 32/64/128 storage options that are being offered a launch help compensate for the lack of expandable storage a little, but it's going to take some thorough testing before we're convinced that Samsung's included battery is going to be enough.
Sundar Pichai had plenty to say about Android and Google.
Google's presence at MWC has always been a fun one, but this year the head of Android and Chrome spent some time answering a couple of questions that had been floating around the industry for a while now. Sundar Pichai spent some time talking about Google's plans to exist as a mobile carrier, the future of Google Wallet as Android Pay, and even a couple of hints at some upcoming Android Wear devices we've not heard of.
While details for a lot of these things are sparse, Sundar has set up a fairly clear outline for some of the things we can expect to hear a lot more about at Google I/O this year.
HTC and Valve are releasing a VR headset together, and it has nothing to do with the One M9.
HTC's announcement for the One M9 didn't include a lot of surprises, but that doesn't take away from how impressive this new flagship performs. While we've only spent a day and a half with this new phone, it's clear there's a lot to like already.
Where HTC did manage to surprise quite a few people was with the announcement of the HTC Vive, a VR headset made with Valve and powered by Steam VR. This headset has absolutely nothing to do with their shiny new flagship smartphone, and instead paves the way for what could very well be the first real competitor to the Oculus Rift.
Huawei knows how to make a slick-looking watch.
The next wave of Android Wear watches are slowly starting to peek their heads out, and it looks like Huawei is in the lead for most attractive in this new batch so far. Plainly named Huawei Watch, it's a solid-looking round watch that is expected to launch later this year that offers everything from sapphire glass on top and new sensors inside to a promising-looking heart rate monitor underneath.
We don't yet have pricing or availability information for this device yet, but it couldn't be more clear that this is the watch to compete with for the foreseeable future.
Cyanogen, Inc. is making unexpectedly big waves.
Mobile World Congress is not explicitly a hardware show, but that does tend to be the majority of what you see and hear about during this event. Given that, it was more than a little surprising to see that Qualcomm and Cyanogen have partnered up to offer some interesting new options in the next generation of Qualcomm Reference Devices.
Cyanogen OS has also been announced as the Android flavor of choice for the upcoming Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2+, which will be headed to North America later this year.
Wireless Charging is headed to furniture.
Maybe it's because someone at Ikea knew that one of the best selling Android brands in the world was about to take two different forms of wireless charging and bake them into the back of their next flagship, or maybe it was just coincidence. Whatever the reason, news that Ikea is releasing a product line that supports wireless charging baked into furniture is exciting stuff.
You'll still need to position your device in just the right place when it's time to charge your phone, but now that right place is flush with the rest of the table or nightstand or desk. Any way you slice it, wireless charging is becoming more and more available to every day users.
We've only scratched the surface of Mobile World Congress, but these are some of the bigger things going on this week. What has been your favorite announcement so far? Sound off in the comments!
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