Day 3 of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has wrapped up, and here are our top takeaways:
Wednesday marked the unveiling of the Xiaomi Mi 5 Smartphone. The Chinese company is looking to compete with giants like Apple and Samsung, and not just with its sleek metal and glass design and encouraging features. At about half the cost of the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6, the Mi 5’s price is certainly right. But the only way the price will really matter is if the hardware and software are up to par—and the Mi 5 runs on top-class Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Meizu Pro 5, unveiled on Tuesday, is also on the cheap side, but it runs on Ubuntu, which leaves it lacking. Ubuntu’s idea of “Scopes” rather than apps is an intriguing one—instead of accessing content by going into an app, app content is elevated to the specific scope (music, video, news, etc.). Perhaps the low-cost options will find a home in markets where smartphone adoption is still low, but we wouldn’t count on anyone dethroning the kings anytime soon.
Mobile for social good
We’ve heard a lot this week about how mobile connections can help solve problems in underdeveloped nations. But aside from that, we must not forget that once people in previously analog cultures come into the online world, the content that we are used to interacting with, that we think “works”, might not for all. We know many of the challenges: literacy is a big hurdle, which video could hypothetically overcome, but will there be enough bandwidth in these areas for video to thrive? The infrastructure will need to be built, but the type of content that will serve the communities must be front of mind. Local mobile content needs to be created through local communities, not out of conference rooms. And no one company can solve the connectivity challenge; it will require an ecosystem.
WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell made an interesting remark during his portion of Wednesday morning’s “Mobile is Commerce” keynote. “The trouble with trade shows like CES and MWC are that they tend to become too much of a networking event.” Perhaps that’s true, but it also got us thinking about something we hear a ton about at all the tech/marketing/mobile shows: calls to innovate. There are still some really solid insights coming out of events like MWC, not to mention high-profile speakers and product launches. But it seems as though all of these shows—the panels, keynotes, etc.— are structured the same way. It’s almost as if the organizers of the events should heed the suggestion that many of their featured speakers are yelling out at the audiences, and try something a little bit different.
Martin Lange, Global Consulting Partner, Digital Innovation Practice of OgilvyRED contributed reporting.