Samsung presentations always include a litany of buzzwords and redundant features, some of which are meaningless or borrowed directly from Google and Android, while others point to bigger aspirations. Today's announcement for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge introduced a new feature called Samsung Pay, a direct competitor to Google Wallet and Apple Pay. Even though this is just one more product that attempts to have consumers replace their credit cards with a phone, it carries a distinct advantage over NFC-based alternatives: it also works with traditional credit card readers.
Nestled in the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge presentation was the announcement of a new Samsung Gear VR. They are not christening it with a new name or too much fanfare, but they did want to add refinements and make it compatible with their new flagship(s). Here are a few snaps:
Other than fitting the S6, the device is reportedly 15% lighter with a slightly expanded field of vision. A nice tweak is the ability to charge the device while it is in use, which should allow for longer sessions.
The announcements are coming fast and loose out of Mobile World Congress. Huawei has been steadily sharing new phablets, watches, and more. One of the less conventional gadgets to join the company's lineup includes a Wi-Fi hotspot designed for automobiles, dubbed CarFi. It has been designed to share a 4G LTE connection with up to 10 devices simultaneously, and it doesn't look half bad.
CarFi is similar to many other cellular hotspot devices, but it plugs directly into the DC port found in most cars and trucks.
If there's ever been a persistent comment on Android Police in the last couple of years, it's that powerful smartphones are just too damn big these days. The Nexus 6 is gigantic, and 5.2"+ is quickly becoming standard smartphone size. Finding a good, inexpensive phone that isn't too large isn't impossible, but it's probably not as easy as it should be.
So, that's where Alcatel comes in. Yes, Alcatel has a reputation for making some of the slowest, cheapest, and least likeable prepaid phone fare here in the US, but in China and around the world, Alcatel does offer a pretty large portfolio of handsets.
Remember when HTC announced a partnership with Under Armour for an Android application and future products? Well, this marriage has carried its first fruit, the HTC Grip. Or maybe it's called the HTC re grip. I don't know, because HTC's branding for this accessory is all over the place.
Last year the buzzword at Mobile World Congress was "wearable." The fervor from that market trend still hasn't died down, but hot on its heels is "virtual reality." Despite a less than fantastic position in the smartphone space, HTC seems intent on expanding into virtual reality to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Google, Oculus Rift (and by extension, Facebook), and Samsung. Say hello to the HTC Vive... or possibly the Re Vive, depending on which HTC promo you go by.
Details on HTC's hardware are scarce - to be honest, we don't even know if the Vive is running Android or compatible with smartphones in any way.
While the entirety of Huawei's presentation at Mobile World Congress was devoted to their intriguing new wearables, today is also the public debut of their new tablet/phablet, the MediaPad X2. The 7" device has an attractive metal construction, full HD screen, and all the connectivity you'd expect out of a high-end phone.
As it appears, that is indeed an aluminum unibody that looks similar to a speakerless HTC One. At just 7.18mm, it is also incredibly thin for how large it is. Huawei hopes you'll be able to use it one-handed, which is probably too optimistic.
The eight-core, 64-bit CPU by HiSilicon is no slouch, either, showing that Huawei isn't aiming for the mid-range with this device.
If you measure the success of a product release by the element of surprise, Huawei might not score too well. We found official product videos for the new Huawei Watch yesterday, ahead of today's announcement. Huawei's TalkBand devices showed up in ads days ago and in their own wearables app yesterday. If you measure its success by how much attention and anticipation it generates, you might say that Huawei's new wearables have had a smashingly successful release, especially considering their absence from many Western markets until now.
Ah, February: the time when mobile hardware leaks spring out of the ground like daisies. It looks like Thai gadget site MXPhone has gotten its hands on portions of the Mobile World Congress phone lineup from Lenovo weeks ahead of the event, giving us a tantalizing look at the company's hardware plans for the next several months. Of course, it's possible that at least some of the Vibe phones on display below will never leave China, and the chance of any of them coming to the US market is basically zero.
Lenovo Vibe Shot
The most interesting of the new models is probably the Vibe Shot, a camera-focused competitor to devices like HTC's One EYE.