From March 2 to 5, technology vendors, analysts, users and enthusiasts will descend on Spain for the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s a time when the latest and greatest in mobile technology will be on display, and future trends will be discussed.
Ahead of MWC, here are three things to watch for at the conference from Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.
- More effort will be made to provide a premium camera and video experience on your smartphone
“In such a highly mature smartphone market it is increasingly difficult for vendors to differentiate their high-end products. Last year, smartphone vendors focused their efforts on imaging capabilities and larger screens. Both hardware and software enhancements such as an optical image stabilization, sophisticated video editing tools or a higher resolution front camera offered a better user experience,” said Zimmermann. “The consumer’s interest in shooting videos or ‘selfies’ will continue in 2015 and beyond, and we expect that vendors will continue to invest in camera and video quality.”
- New challengers like Wiko and Kodak will seek to disrupt the market
“The phenomenon of Wiko is interesting. A completely unknown vendor two years ago has entered the European mobile phone market. It is now among the top five smartphone vendors in France and has recently introduced its products in Germany,” said Zimmermann. “The success factors of Wiko are local marketing, good channel management and a product offering at an affordable price range of 100-150 Euros.”
Such handsets, with competitive features and decent product quality, appeal to shoppers on a budget more concerned with functionality than having a popular brand name. One well known brand set to enter the market though is Kodak, which partnered with Built Group to launch an Android handset at CES earlier this year.
“As the name suggests the product is marketed around strong imaging capabilities, easy photo sharing and printing with a custom user interface,” said Zimmerman. “While Kodak is a well-known brand, it is not easy to enter the mid-tier segment of the smartphone market where other strong brand names compete. Microsoft has developed one of the best camera phones in the past three years and continues to put high emphasis on this capability in its high-end and mid-tier product portfolio.”
- The Apple Watch will bring validation and attention to the wearables space, but they won’t replace smartphones
“The Apple Watch is bound to trigger more awareness for wearables, and Samsung, Sony, Lenovo and others will have to come up with more attractive products to compete. Aside from the hardware, vendors will emphasize their ecosystems as well as finding synergies in adjacent markets,” said Zimmerman. “Samsung, Google, Apple and Microsoft are ready to build out entire health platforms that are intended to attract partners in the healthcare and fitness industry. This initiative will trigger new business models, but will also stir up the discussion on how best to protect the sensitive data that is being collected from wearables.”