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What went on at the Mobile World Congress

A look at three game-changing products showcased at the Mobile World Congress

brunch Updated: Mar 17, 2018 22:05 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
technology,mobile,mobile world congress
These phones have set a standard that others worldwide will now have to scurry to even come close

The Mobile World Congress in Spain was a cracker this time. I’m not going to chest thump and say that I got almost 90 per cent of it right in my predictions in last week’s column (I did though :). Far more important were three new products that literally changed the landscape of the category in which they were launched. Breaking rules and shattering conventions – these three have set a standard that others worldwide will now have to scurry to even come close. This changes everything.

ZTE Axon M

At first glance, it’s a regular phone. Nice and sleek and built like a tank. But within its svelte frame lies its dual screen sorcery. Split it open like a book and out comes another screen of the exact same dimension. Clever engineering makes sure that the split line in-between the two screens is nearly invisible. You can use it in any one of the four modes. Folded with just one screen, split open and both screens displaying as one, both screens showing completely different content and both screens mirroring each other (keep the phone open like a tent card and you can make presentations to people sitting opposite you). Both screens as one mode is like a giant screen tablet and makes carrying a separate Tablet absolutely redundant. With a flexible roll-up bluetooth keyboard and this phone, you don’t even need a laptop when you’re travelling. Absolutely fantastic and game changing. It’s going to be in India at a very aggressive price soon and I’m predicting huge success for this one.

The ZTE Axon M is going to be a game-changer phone that can be used in four different modes

Huawei Matebook X Pro Notebook

Notebooks and Laptops were the most boring of all tech products. But then something happened and companies like Microsoft, Acer, Asus, Dell and HP made them absolutely stunning in looks and performance. Huawei just blew them all to bits. The Matebook X Pro has an edge-to-edge screen (this is going to become a thing for laptops in 2018) thus fitting in a giant 13.9-inch screen (3000x2000) resolution) in a body that looks like an 11-inch laptop. It’s super thin and made from aviation grade aluminium alloy. It has got an extra-large graphic designer level touchpad and a chip set based fingerprint reader built into the power button. It’s super specced out with 16GB RAM, Intel Core i7 and Dolby Atmos speakers. And then it does the impossible. With a screen with no edges, there was no room to put in a camera there. So, where did they put one? Think! Whatever you thought, you got it wrong. It’s hidden behind a spring-loaded button between the F7 and F8 keys. Yes, no more security issues or putting black tape on your camera anymore. This one pops out and closes down when you’re done. Once again, I have it from good sources that this one will make it to India soon. Time for all other notebook brands to get nervous.

The Huawei X Pro Notebook has a giant 13.9 inch screen and is super thin

Samsung Galaxy S9

This was obviously the headline maker for MWC but let’s move away from the hype and buzz and zero down on the one thing it has that completely changes the smartphone market. Its camera. Let’s face it. The optics and camera on a phone are now the most critical of all features. You use it for literally everything. The S9 goes where no cameraphone has gone before. It has an aperture range from f/1.5 to f/2.4. Simply speaking, it take absolutely perfect images in the darkest of places and the brightest.

The Galaxy S9 camera captures almost unbelievable images
The Galaxy S9 can take absolutely perfect images in the darkest of places and the brightest too. It can capture images that the human eye could not decipher

In fact in my own tests the S9 was able to capture images that the human eye could not decipher. Almost uncanny and surreal. It then adds another major showstopper. It can shoot videos at a startling 960 frames per second for super slow motion. That’s the kind of frame rate that required million dollar equipment till recently. The competition may be able to catch up with other things on the S9 but in terms of optics, Samsung has taken it to a whole new level.

I’m glad to see that gimmicks and showboat marketing seems to be on the wane and innovation that makes a real difference to the user is what brands are now aiming for. Giant leaps of the kind I’ve described today will wake up the competition in a hurry. This changes everything....

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, March 18, 2018

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First Published: Mar 17, 2018 21:10 IST