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MWC day 2: Microsoft HoloLens 2 and 5G phones galore



7 minute read

OnePlus 7 5G

OnePlus 7 5G

It’s only day 2 of the MWC19 and 5G is one of the stars of the show along with foldable phones. OnePlus showed off their OnePlus 7 5G smartphone at MWC. Well, part of it. They have been hosting a strangely secretive showing of their new smartphone as it sits untouchable inside a glass box. The majority of the phone itself is covered with a plastic shell to hide any design elements from view. The only part of the OnePlus 7 5G actually on display is the, er, display.

On the screen was a video game and a OnePlus representative was showing the game being played with a Bluetooth controller. The whole point of the concept was to show how incredible 5G was. 5G is a more powerful, interconnected network that will reduce mobile network latency massively. For gamers, this will be huge news. If the latency of a network is too slow, your actions in an online game will be sent to a server late, which could make it hard for you to play against other players on a high speed WiFi connection.

OnePlus handsets have always had high end specifications and incredible amounts of RAM, so combining that with the low latency of 5G would make for the perfect gaming phone. It’s a smart move considering mobile gaming has now overtaken PC and console gaming.

ZTE 5G smartphone

OnePlus wasn’t the only one to announce a 5G phone at MWC. In fact, the 5G roster is already looking very extensive after just 2 days in Barcelona. For example, ZTE announced their Axon 10 Pro 5G with a teardrop notch, a beautiful and large 6.47 inch display, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and of course, 5G. This is ZTE’s flagship offering for the first half of 2019 and it will feature 6GB RAM, a Snapdragon 855, and a 48 megapixel triple sensor camera. It will launch in the second quarter of 2019 and should be priced competitively against other 5G smartphones from the likes of LG, Huawei and Samsung. We mentioned yesterday that Xiaomi are also relaunching a 5G variant of the Mi Mix 3, and LG are offering an LG V50 ThinQ with 5G as standard.

HTC 5G hub and other 5G technology

HTC 5G hub

No HTC U13 at MWC this year, but they did announce a brand new 5G hub that features a built-in display. It’s a hotspot that will connect to 5G and allow up to 20 other devices to connect to it at once. It also has a beautiful built-in display that gives you details about your speed and connected devices. Strangely, the hub is running Android 9.0 Pie, which means you can run apps like Netflix and YouTube from it. You can also use the USB-C port to connect it up to a bigger TV. It’s not as portable as a Chromecast, but the 5G capabilities make it a potential option for those in need of a high speed entertainment device.

Snapdragon 855

Yesterday afternoon, Qualcomm also helped host a panel on 5G technology. They shared some interesting insights into what our future could look like with 5G at our fingertips. Qualcomm worked very hard to bring 5G to smartphones. It’s the Snapdragon 855 chipset that makes it all possible. There will be more 5G powered chipsets from other SoC manufacturers too, but Qualcomm is leading the way.

So, they’re the perfect company to explain the true benefits of 5G. When we upgraded from 3G to 4G, it was a huge step up. It allowed users to get speeds fast enough to watch videos and consume more content on the go. 5G is that step up again, multiplied by ten. Qualcomm mentioned in their blog that 5G technology could enable up to a 10 times improvement in download speeds. But more importantly, the latency is 20 times faster. This will allow cloud based apps to be more powerful, gaming to be more immediate, and huge cities and networks of people to use their smartphones without any degradation in performance.

Microsoft and AT&T’s seamless 5G powered future

Microsoft at MWC

To further showcase the power of 5G, Microsoft and AT&T, a US based network provider, took the time to explain their plans for bringing 5G to Microsoft Azure. For those unaware, Azure is a cloud computing service that provides businesses around the globe with the computing power to develop amazing machine learning software, web based apps, and virtual machines, and so, so much more.

By bringing 5G to Microsoft Azure, the latency is reduced so much that it will bring unprecedented change to how devices can communicate with the internet. It will bring a new wave of more powerful AI, more reliable health care and public safety systems, and better updates for any internet connected devices throughout a city.

For the average consumer like you and me, it’s not quite as exciting as the new Samsung Galaxy S10 or Galaxy Fold, but this cooperation and movement towards 5G will be far more powerful for growing businesses and public services.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 overview

HoloLens 2

Microsoft isn’t just making big moves with 5G and the internet of things. They are also bringing true mixed reality into our reality. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 was announced at MWC 2019 and it was an announcement I got very excited about The HoloLens 2 has improved upon the original headset in many ways. Microsoft has pushed to make this headset a powerful learning tool, as opposed to the kind of tech you’d purchase for use at home, so the $3,500 (roughly £2,655) is understandable.

With this iteration, the HoloLens 2 has a much wider field of view, which allows for the mixed reality experience to be projected further across your vision. Microsoft has also worked hard to redesign the HoloLens 2 to make it comfier and lighter. Microsoft hopes that the HoloLens 2 will become the perfect training tool for doctors, surgeons and engineers. The HoloLens 2 is certainly an exciting piece of tech and I cannot wait to see variations of it become more widely accepted in the home for more recreational purposes.

Apple foldable phone patent

Apple foldable phone patent

It’s not strictly MWC news, but it has come at a time that makes it feel suitable to bundle it in with all of the other major headlines. This month, Apple published a patent that showcased a flexible display device. The patent, pictured above, was originally filed in October.

While it’s not surprising to see Apple file such a patent when you take a look at the competition, it’s very exciting to see from Apple in particular. When Apple pushes out a concept, it’s usually very clean and fully optimized. More importantly, it’s the final hurdle before it is finally accepted by the masses. Apple are rarely frontrunners for innovations in the tech industry, but they are almost always the one to popularise concepts. They made the smartwatch what it is today, they effectively destroyed the headphone jack, and kick started the notch wars.

So, Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi may be ahead of the foldable game, but if Apple launches a foldable device, then that may mean our future will be filled with such devices. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if or when an Apple foldable phone will come. What we do know though is that it often takes Apple some time to catch on to new trends. So, maybe we’ll need to wait to 2021 or even 2022.


So that’s MWC day 2 wrapped up. What are your thoughts on the biggest highlights from the event so far? Make sure to come back tomorrow for a more in-depth look at all of the greatest new tech announcements yet to come.

Read our MWC day 1 recap here.

Written by zerodudex333

Ollie is a big mobile/tech fan. Follow his Twitter and his Instagram travel account