Mobile World Congress is the big show when it comes to all things mobile. Whether that's laptops, smartphones, tablets or retro gadgets, this is where everyone that isn't Apple unveils their latest and greatest products. This year has been no exception, with Nokia, Huawei, and others all showing off the mobile hardware we'll be coveting for the next year.
Here are the five new products that have us intrigued and grabbed our attention.
Nokia 8110 4G (the Matrix banana phone)
HMD Global, the Finnish company that now owns the Nokia brand, have figured something out. There's a real market for making modern handsets that pull on people's nostalgic heartstrings. Their re-imagining of the Nokia 8110 - the phone made famous by Neo in The Matrix - will have nerds all over the world swooning.
Sure, it's not going to beat the latest Android or iOS handsets but it looks great and sports the famous slide-out cover but adds a 2.4" colour display, app support (Facebook and Snake are already there) on the KaiOS operating system through an app store and 4G comms that can be used as a wireless hotspot. And battery life - a very 1990s stand-by time of 25 days with about five hours of talk time from the Li-Ion battery.
For those who like to stay connected but are trying to wean themselves away from time-wasting apps, this could be a viable phone to consider. There's no word no Australian availability but overseas pricing is set at €79 or US$99.
Huawei MateBook X and MediaPad M5
Despite a bucketload of bad publicity recently, wth US law enfrocement agencies recommending people don't buy Huawei products, the company has unveiled a nifty-looking notebook and tablet range.
The MateBook X Pro notebook runs 8th-generation Intel Core i7 or i5 CPUs, Nvidia's GeForce MX150 GPU with 2GB GDDR5 or Intel UHD Graphics 620, along with a Dolby Atmos sound system. Throw in a 1MP front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac wireless with MIMO support and an almost edge-to-edge 13.9-inch display and you've got a very capable notebook that bears a more than passing resemblance to something that is usually branded with "Designed in California".
And, because these bezels are so thin, the MateBook X Pro's front-facing webcam isn't embedded in the bezel. Instead, it pops up from the keyboard. But while it looks like a good idea, initial reviews suggest that it doesn't quite work as it doesn't point far enough up to capture someone's face.
The MediaPad tablets come in 10.8-inch Pro and 9.4" and 10.8" base versions. All three tablets come with a 13MP rear camera with autofocus, Nano-SIM card slot for LTE, Android 8.0 along with all the usual comms and connectivity options you'd expect from a modern tablet.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+
In case you missed it - Samsung released their new flagship phone, the Galaxy S9 and it's big brother the Galaxy S9+. We've already written about its business features, as well as the specs, local pricing information and availability.
Gizmodo has covered every local telco's Galaxy S9 plans so there's not much else to say other than this looks like a totally kick-arse smartphone.
LG plays it cool with the V30S ThinQ
While most of the announcements at MWC are focussed on shiny, new products (or, if you're Nokia, old products made new again), LG has chosen this year to offer a solid upgrade on the phone they released last year. The V30 was only released a few months ago, in October 2017, so it doesn't make sense to replace it so quickly. Instead, they've given the V30 a mid-life reboot.
While the V30S ThinQ has the same display and processor, it's been give a 50% boost in memory from 4GB to 6GB and the 64GB storage option has been dropped with 256GB now the top end.
The real changes are in the introduction of AI features - pulled together under the the new ThinQ brand. This covers smart home functions as well as a voice-activated assistant and a smarter camera that recommends shooting modes depending on what objects are in the frame - the AI recognises them. The camera can also recognise QR codes without third-party software and supports visual search.
In short, if you bought a V30 last year, the V30S ThinQ isn't going to piss you off terribly. The updates that are offered are modest and it's likely many of the software features will make their way to the previous model in future updates. And if you were waiting for something new then there's enough in the V30S ThinQ to differentiate it from the older model.
Telstra's 5G Plans
Special kudos have to go to Telstra. As Australia's largest telco they chose Spain as the best place to tell the Australian public about the plans for the 5G mobile network.
Telstra's 5G Roadmap says that part of the journey towards 5G will involve the use of 2Gbps 4G, as they build full end-to-end 5G capability across their network. Telstra COO Robyn Denholm said, ""5G will not operate as a standalone technology, at least not for most early use cases. So the quality of the underlying 4G service and how this integrates with 5G will determine the overall mobile experience".
We can expect 5G to hit major cities and some regional areas next year. Until then, Telstra will be working with Intel and Ericsson to reply over 1000 cell to test the technology before the broader roll-out.