Mobile World Congress 2016: What to expect - biometrics, virtual and augmented reality and Chinese smartphone brands

Roberta Cozza
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Mobile World Congress 2014 - Day 1
Mobile World Congress kicks off on 22 February (Source: Getty)

Mobile World Congress 2016 always brings with it a flurry of new mobile gadget announcements - here are some of the trends to expect.

The smartphone is quickly becoming an integral part of a bigger continuum of devices and smart objects as users increasingly live their lives in a "device mesh."

This is an environment, where consumers own multiple devices and use them in combination to fulfil their needs. In 2016, we expect smartphone vendors to offer new sensor bundles and enhanced connectivity standards to support the role of the smartphone as the central hub for Internet of Things scenarios, like connected home applications.

We also foresee an evolution in biometric technologies that will enable more sophisticated and secure authentication as well as more personalised device experiences. New biometric technologies will go beyond fingerprints and increasingly include voice and facial recognition and other modes to enable authentication.

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This will also expand to apps in the future, which will be able to gather and assess biometric data (like facial expressions or voice intonations) from multiple sensors in order to detect human emotions, and trigger specific actions based on that information.

Immersive experiences like augmented reality and virtual reality will be another key theme in 2016. For example, Samsung Gear VR already uses a smartphone as a portal for virtual reality experiences, and we expect continued development of this more mainstream approach together with increased consumption of 360-degree videos.

In terms of vendors, Chinese smartphone players will gain share throughout 2016 because they are well positioned to capitalise on demand for smartphones at the mid to lower end of the price scale in emerging markets outside of China.

Some Chinese vendors actively promoted more premium offerings abroad in 2015, but the biggest winners in 2016 will need to improve their brand value, user loyalty and demonstrate a clear and differentiated device experience beyond just price and features.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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