The Best New Gadgets Of Mobile World Congress [Feature]



mwc2013bug-coaBARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS – This year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was pretty disappointing from a gadget-lovers point of view. Samsung was there, but didn’t announce anything new. Microsoft didn’t even have a stand, and even the once-great App Planet section is little but a business-service wasteland (albeit with the best tea, coffee and beer in the show).

Still, even a pile of crap has variations in its texture, and so we bring you the “Best” of Mobile World Congress 2013.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

Killian spent his time searching out Android devices for our sister Blog Cult of Android. While not new at the show, the Tablet Z was born a few weeks ago, after CES. Killian loved the sharp 1920×1200 Bravia display, the faux surround sound and the IR port for connecting it to a modem in your phone – Kidding! It’s for controlling your TV or whatever. Also super-hot is the fact that it’s even thinner than the iPad mini.

Not so great were the all-plastic body, or the thick bezel around the ten-inch screen. Or – if you ask me – the fact that it runs Android.

Elecom Rose-Tinted Glasses

Yeah, I picked a pair of tinted specs. If that doesn’t tell you about the quality of the show, then nothing will. And yet they are pretty cool, both in looks and function.

The idea is that they cut out blue light without affecting the color balance of the world too much. Why? To stop evil blue rays frying your retinas or something. In practice, they take the cold edge off many LCD screens. I have an app on my Mac which warms up the color temperature of the display at sundown to better match the lighting in my home. I wish the iPad could do this, but it can’t so I might be getting me a pair of these specs.

Echo Tubez Earbuds

These tube-based earbuds actually sounded pretty echoey (hence the name?), but I loved them for the clever design. Again, they are designed to protect your from the dangers of modern gadgetry – this time the insidious RF radiation which scoots up your earbud wires and jumps into your brain.

Instead of wires, there are rubber tubes which channel sound from a speaker, like a doctor’s stethoscope. They’re also immune to excessive wire-twisting, although you might want to avoid sharp edges.


If you took an iPhone 5 and iPad-mini-ized it, chopping the bezels to a minimum, and then you put a HAL 9000-like eye right bang in the center of the back, then you’d have the HTC One, a phone which Killian described as having “Apple-like build quality.” All except for the OS, I imagine.

It packs a great 4MP camera, a super-sharp 1080p display and is milled from a block of aluminum. Killian also totally dug the updated Sense UI.

Huawei Ascend P2

Lord knows what the usually sensible Killian Bell sees in this ugly plastic brick from Huawei. Maybe its the Ascend P2’s iPhone-like weight (122 grams) or the 4.7-inch 720p display which “looks terrific.” Or perhaps its the 13 megapixel camera round back, the NFC, the eight-core processor or the way it manages to look like an oversized Samsung dumb-phone from the late 2000s. It could be any or all of these things, but it sure isn’t for the Ascend’s stunning good looks.

The Future of Mobile World Congress

Is this the last year for interesting gadget news from the MWC? Few of the big players announced anything new (and those that did kept the excitement level turned down low), and many weren’t even there.

Perhaps the show will end up as what it really is at heart anyway – a trade show for businesses to sell goods and services to other businesses? I guess we’ll see next year.


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