Chinese smartphone brands and telecom firms are everywhere to be seen at the annual Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile industry trade show that opened on Monday in Barcelona, Spain. Trade pundits say the dominance of Chinese tech companies at MWC is an attempt to have a wider presence in Europe.
China’s biggest tech companies return to MWC to showcase their new products in order to create buzz around their gadgets and technologies even as demand for phones cools down amid the challenges of economic slowdown and rising prices of smartphones.
Huawei spin-off Honor, for instance, launched its Magic Vs foldable smartphone globally as it looks to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the high-end smartphone market. The Honor Magic Vs is a foldable phone that opens up into a tablet with a 7.9-inch screen, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4. The phone also has a 6.45-inch secondary display on the outside of the device when it is folded, making it look like a normal smartphone. Honor plans to sell its foldable smartphone for 1,599 euros (around $1,690), which clearly shows the aim is to challenge the duopoly of Samsung and Apple in the top-end of the phone market.
On the sidelines of MWC, Xiaomi unveiled the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro for the international markets at Mobile World Congress. The Xiaomi 13 starts at 999 euros (around $1,053) while the 13 Pro starts at 1,299 euros (around $1377). Both smartphones were originally launched in China in December, but now the Beijing, China-headquartered company is eyeing the European market for a major expansion, targeting premium phone buyers.
This move comes at a time when rival BBK group brands OnePlus and Oppo are gradually increasing their footprint in Western Europe with their high-end Android smartphones. Both brands recently debuted new flagships in international markets, with OnePlus bringing its concept smartphone with advanced liquid cooling tech to MWC.
Xiaomi also hogged the limelight by debuting a prototype augmented reality glasses as the popular tech company looks beyond the smartphone market. Called the Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition, Xiaomi’s augmented reality glasses weigh 126 grams and have a “retina-level” display, allowing users to see virtual objects as clearly as they would a physical object. AR enables users to experience a perfect blend of the digital world and physical elements to create an artificial environment. Xiaomi said the glasses are just a concept device and won’t be on sale anytime soon. However, the reveal of the glasses at the Mobile World Congress highlights the company’s ambitions to enter the AR headset space. Apple is also rumoured to enter the Extended reality (XR) space market with a headset with the launch expected sometime this year.
Hong Kong-listed PC giant Lenovo also seized the opportunity to make its presence felt at MWC with the showcase of a rollable laptop and a rollable smartphone. The laptop comes with a display that can expand upwards, giving the user more screen real estate. The rollable screen slides out, creating a much taller display. Lenovo also demoed a Motorola-branded smartphone that can also expand in the same way. The experience of using a device with a rollable display will be different from a foldable screen. For now, Lenovo says the two devices are merely proofs of concept, with no plans to turn them into commercial products. Rival brand Samsung is also working on a similar concept device in a tablet form factor with a rollable screen.
MWC or Mobile World Congress is the most influential tech event in the world. It’s an annual gathering where the entire wireless industry comes together under one roof. And many of the industry’s biggest players including Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm are attending this year’s MWC.
News Source: Indian Express