Mobile World Congress 2018: Samsung Galaxy S9, Nokia’s Bananas and Sailfish 3.0

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For those who aren’t aware, the Mobile World Congress is a yearly event showcasing the newest mobiles, smartphones and wearables, alongside laptops, tablets and other bits and pieces. It’s the largest of its kind in the world, so I’ve decided to sum up my favourite news coming out of Barcelona this year. Bear in mind that this isn’t necessarily the biggest or most important news, but my personal favorites. So if your favourite brand or phone doesn’t appear, I’m sorry.

 

Samsung reveal Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 reveal took place and revealed yet another high-end smartphone. While the design isn’t exactly revolutionary (it retained the S series signature style), it still looks as sleek as ever. Samsung improved the fingerprint reader after complaints about the S8’s version. Also, it’s worth noting they’ve elected to keep their headphone jack, a strange decision considering Apple and Google have dropped theirs, but a decision I like all the same. They’ve followed Apple down the AR emoji route, and while the tracking looks great, the humanoid emojis just aren’t as cute as their Apple animal counterparts. All in all, it’s a solid device by the leading Android phone manufacturer. At the event, they also showed the S9’s sister phone, the S9 Plus. Both phones are expected to release this March.

 

Nokia to release ‘banana phone’ plus much more

Banana Phone

How can you not remember the Nokia 8110, the coolest phone around (in 1999)? The 8110, nicknamed the ‘banana phone’ due to the way the phone curved around your face when you held it to your ear, it was most famously used as the phone Neo first speaks to Morpheus on in The Matrix, with that cool little receiver that ‘flicked’ down to reveal the numpad. This time they’ve coloured it yellow to really get into the spirit of of the banana, which is cool in its own way. Black is also available. While I longed for this phone in my teens, I can’t step away from my smartphone these days, but it still looks just as good as it did in 1999.

Nokia have also announced a slew of new mid-range Android devices named the Nokia 1, 6 and 7+. Nokia first released a range of Android phones in 2017, and while they were praised for their overall quality and use of pure Android and sleek design, they lost points for their phone cameras being below par. Also while the Nokia Android phones have been a huge success, reviewers have pointed out they don’t do anything particularly different from any other mid-range smartphone, so this led to the announcement of the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The Sirocco is a huge flagship phone for Nokia, with wireless charging, a metal and glass unibody and a camera with improved Zeiss Optics. Inside, it’s still last year’s Nokia 8 and they’ve taken away the headphone jack, but aside from these downsides, the Nokia 8 Sicorro looks set to finally be a flagship Nokia android handset.

 

Sailfish 3.0 plus new devices

Sailfish X

Anyone who has read my Sailfish articles will know I’m a huge believer in an alternative, secure operating system from a company you could trust. It’s difficult to be patient: the two major OS makers (Apple & Google) had unlimited funds to plough into their operating systems, whereas Jolla has had to get creative. Luckily, recently they’ve found friends with countries that don’t want to share their personal information with Google and have partnered with companies from China, Russia and Latin America. With Sailfish 3.0, Jolla aims to make Sailfish an option for corporate solutions, and aims to improve it’s calendar, email, webengine, camera, plus many upgrades.

On top of this news, Jolla announced a few new devices to run Sailfish on. The Sony Xperia XA2 is the next Xperia in the Sony Open Devices program to receive Sailfish. The crowdfunded PDA throwback Gemini is also getting Sailfish 3.0 and, most surprisingly of all, the Sailfish powered feature phones which used a ‘non-touch screen’ version of the OS will power the phones. Sailfish will also be available for Inoi tablets as well. So the future is looking bright for a company who only a few years ago had to make huge layoffs following the failure of its tablet.

 

Other exciting news from MWC 2018

Vivo Apex

Huawei announced a few tablets at MWC but the most interesting thing for me was their Matebook X Pro, a superthin windows 10 laptop with barely any bezel in sight.

The Vivo Apex is the concept smartphone of the future, with nearly all the front of the phone taken up with the screen and practically bezel-less, they’ve had to find ways of hiding the sensors and bits you’d normally find around the screen in inventive places, including the rear camera popping out of the top of the camera when it’s needed. There isn’t even room for the speaker as it uses an interesting piece of tech called Screen Sound Casting which turns the entire display into a speaker by using vibrations.

Energizer is releasing a phone. Yep, the battery guys. As expected, the Energizer Power Max P16K has a better battery than your average smartphone packing a huge 16,000mAh battery. In context, the Samsung S9 has a 3,500mAh battery, and the iPhone X has a battery of under 3,000mAh. In theory, you should be able to get at least 5 days out of it, but the proof is in the pudding, as it were.

The Selfieccino is a machine that allows you to print a selfie on your favourite cappuccino or latte (or whatever). 2018: still no flying cars but we get this.

Anything else we missed at MWC 2018? What was your personal favourite phone from the event? Please leave your choices in the comments below.

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