This year's Mobile World Congress (MWC), held in Barcelona, had two huge themes — folding smartphones and 5G.
The former, folding phones, is the first draft of an answer to years of steady smartphone stagnation. The latter, 5G, is worshipped by many who believe it will revolutionize not just phones, but cars, smart home devices, and everything in-between.
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As ever, Mobile World Congress is a show more suited to the largest companies than the smallest. While there are halls full of small tech firms striving for recognition, they often offer services at the enterprise, or business, level. Others are companies not quite ready for consumers, or do not have confirmed plans for entering the U.S. market.
But the bigger names, and a couple of old faces, made a return to MWC to show off what we think will impact your life in the coming year. Here are GearBrain's favorite devices from Mobile World Congress 2019.
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HTC 5G Hub
It was impossible to walk 10 feet at MWC this year without seeing '5G' written on something. We even saw a '5G Ambulance.'
Much of this feels like companies leaping aboard the buzzword bandwagon. But one device with immediate real-world practicality is the HTC 5G Hub. At its simplest, this is a portable Wi-Fi router, like the 4G models you already know.
But of course it has 5G, which means incredible fast download speeds (as in, an HD movie in five seconds), very low latency — key for gaming and virtual reality — and the ability to stream 4K video wherever you are. Up to 20 devices can be connected at once, which will feel like bringing a fast home fiber connection with you on the go.
An integrated 7,660mAh battery is good for up to three days of 5G connectivity, HTC told us, and there's a USB-C port so hooking up a wall plug or portable battery is easy. The Hub, which will be offered via Sprint in the US in the next couple of months, runs Android 9 and has a 5-inch touch screen for easy set-up and use.