Major announcements from CES and MWC, 2019 – Developer insights

Both CES and MWC are the 2 major anticipated events where several tech and consumer companies showcase their innovation in technology with new product line ups and their plans for the year.

Let’s see some of the major announcements –

  1. Apple – AirPlay 2 support in Samsung latest generation smart TV’s. I see this as one of the major announcements. This means Apple is already preparing the ground for their major addition to the Apple TV’s alternative – Apple’s streaming TV service.
  2. Google – Any device that can connect to the internet is either powered by Google assistant or Alexa. Google ensured this by supporting their partners and bringing in google assistant in a variety of devices from smart cookware to bedside alarm clock. Google is making partners onboard with the assistant in a much simpler way using their ‘Google Assistant Connect’ initiative.
  3. Microsoft – Their push towards AR and the use cases around it was seen during the MWC. Microsoft launched its second generation augmented reality headset – HoloLens 2. When compared to its predecessor, HoloLens 2 is lightweight and has better eyeball and hand movements tracking. Also, this comes with a wider viewable area. The hardware itself runs on Windows Mixed reality under Windows 10 family.
  4. HTC – VR is emerging for a variety of use cases and there are lots of improvements that can be made to the VR hardware. HTC showcased one such improvement with HTC Vive Pro Eye. This hardware can detect your eye movement and can render actions based on that. This improves the ease of using VR headsets and provides developers to focus on the content based on eye tracking.
  5. Nissan – Concept of ‘Invisible to Visible’ by Nissan intelligent mobility was pretty exciting. The mixed reality technology captures the real world data and utilizes the available cloud data to help drivers see invisible things. Also, an in-car avatar can be your assistant to guide you through the city.
  6. Ring – The new door view cam fits in your door peephole. Another advantage is that the cam can alert when someone knocks on the door. This is new when compared to Ring’s other devices. The device comes with the sensor and not just camera which helps in monitoring the vibrations and alarming the user.
  7. Royole – FlexPai = Smartphone + Tablet. Fairly a new company to me, they had folding phones running on top of Android version 9. We have to wait and see the acceptance from the customers on the foldable phone. But, many market players including Samsung and LG are increasing their product lineup with foldable phones.
  8. Sony – While Sony was more focussed towards their television lineup, they announced 4 new smartphone line ups at MWC. Sony Xperia 1 running on Android 9 with a 4K OLED HDR 21:9 aspect ratio was the top in class on their line up. They also demonstrated a 5G prototype phone.
  9. Huawei – Mate X is one of the most sophisticated folding phones that is announced so far. This also runs on Android 9. Android also announced their guidelines and support for the developers to create apps for the foldable phones (Or form factors) at the end of last year.
  10. LG, Oppo, and Xiaomi – These 3 companies proved that they may be behind Apple and Samsung in terms of revenue but not in terms of adopting and embracing the future tech and the consumer needs. They all demonstrated their smartphones with 5G capability.
  11. Nokia – After winning the confidence of their customers with low priced Android phones, Nokia is back to please their elite fan club with the launch of Nokia 9 PureView. This comes with 5 rear cameras (Penta camera). This also runs on Android 9 (Android One). This is one thing that I like about Nokia, that it runs a cleaner android without much bloatware from Nokia.
  12. Qualcomm – X55 second gen modem will be the enhanced version of its ancestor X50 modem for 5G. The company claims that even though X50 can deliver 5G but it does not contain all of the 5G standards. That will be addressed in X55. It comes with a download speed of 7 Gbps and upload speed of 3 Gbps.
Companies at CES and MWC – 2019

What does this mean to the developer community?

The whole new set of features announced at the events gives a clue to the developers on what areas they have to be focusing on apart from what they know in mobility –

  1. Mixed reality – With the increased processing power of the smartphones, use cases using AR and VR will gain more momentum. ARCore, ARKit, Google VR, Unity will gain momentum in order to support this space.
  2. 5G – This means fast data transfer and more real-time games and use cases can be achieved much easier. Cloud computing with Azure, GCP, and AWS will gain momentum. Even front end developers should know about serverless and event-driven architectures to do quick prototypes and apps.
  3. Folding phones – Android already announced their support for foldable form factors. Developers will be extending their apps to support this form factor. Developers have to understand more on ‘Multi App – Multi UI’ design principles.
  4. In-car computing – Autonomous cars are not just prototypes anymore. The scale in which the cars generate information to act accordingly is enormous. More direct use cases and apps will be built rather than just extending the existing apps to be compatible with android auto and carplay.
  5. In-home security systems – Currently the in-home security devices are dependent on cloud computing. With systems like tensorflow lite and TPU we will see more work towards on device processing.

What are some of the expectations that are not fulfilled this year?

  1. Voice capabilities – Even though every product that was announced came with google assistant and Alexa, there was not much added to the platform itself. Only the product line up increased. What more can be achieved with the voice assistants apart from querying and searching the web?
  2. Apple – Apple’s launch events are separate from CES or MWC, it was little disappointing to see Apple not hinting on 5G or foldable phones when the rest of the event was nothing but 5G and foldable phones.

Share your thoughts on what you think about this years CES and MWC.

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