Mobile World Congress 2016: Virtual Reality Goes Mobile

Innovative Virtual Reality Headsets Set the Future Trend at MWC 2016

MWC 2016 Virtual Reality
Image © Facebook.

February 26, 2016

Mobile World Congress 2016, which was held from February 22-25 this year, was supposedly the world’s largest smartphone expo up until now. This year, however, it went far ahead of that, to witness innovations far beyond what we could imagine. The mega annual event brought us impressive new phones, tablets, laptops and hybrid mobile devices; also fast-charging batteries, wearables, connected devices and much, much more.

New 360-degree cameras and the concept of Virtual Reality seemed to dominate over and above everything else exhibited at the show. In this post, we bring you some of the most important VR-related introductions at the MWC 2016.

Facebook and Samsung Push VR

In an effort to grow and evolve even more, the mobile industry now seems to be going the virtual reality way. VR seemed to be the most important subject of discussion at the mega event – this became clear even before the official inauguration of the conference, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise announcement at the Samsung press conference, speaking about his future ideas regarding virtual reality. “VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want,” Zuckerberg said. “For right now, it’s mostly used for gaming.

That’s quickly evolving.”

Facebook has been steadily working on introducing VR – its VR system, Oculus Rift, is all set to go on sale sometime later this year. Besides, the Samsung Gear VR will be available free along with every new pre-order of its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones – this is obviously a move to encourage consumers to use goggles to view VR content on the smartphones, using the Oculus software.

This will also help set Samsung apart from its other contenders.

With the next 5G mobile network reported to be arriving soon, it is likely that users could be more open and ready to adopting VR, thereby opening up a revolutionary new path for mobile technology development. Needless to say, both VR and 5G have a long way to go to actually arrive in a big way into the mobile device industry. In any case, we continue to wait and watch for more news on this front.

Other VR-Related Announcements

Apart from Facebook and Samsung, some other companies too came up with VR-based announcements, demos and gadgets. These are as follows:

  • HTC announced the availability of its Vive VR system, along with its pricing plans. This system works with Valve and mainly targets gamers. It is priced at $799 and will be shipped from April onward. This system is standalone does not need to be paired with an HTC or any other mobile device in order to work.
  • Samsung additionally demoed a VR roller coaster.
  • The Catalunya tourist board presented virtual tours for those interested.
  • Security firm Gemalto held a VR demo of its own IoT system.
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VR Headsets and 360-Degree Cameras Rule the Roost

It is expected that the upcoming VR headsets and 360-degree cameras will soon become must-have accessories for the latest smartphones and other mobile devices.

  • Samsung’s new Gear 360 camera captures both stills and videos, which can then be combined together and shared on social platforms, right from a mobile app.
  • LG showed off its own 360-degree camera and VR goggles; plus a bunch of other accessories; which can be paired with its newest G5 smartphone.
  • Sony too introduced a new 360-degree camera
  • Alcatel unveiled its Idol 4s phone – this doubles up as a VR viewer.
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Is VR the Future of Mobile?

While some experts believe that the VR trend will soon emerge as the future of mobile, not everyone concurs with that thinking. The skeptics aver that it is merely a fad and will not be able to withstand the test of time.

Though VR is yet only in its infancy, the fact cannot be denied that major players such as Samsung are investing in this seemingly growing trend and that social platforms are supporting it as well. They would not back it so strongly unless they clearly foresaw something emerging from it. In any case, the rate of adoption of VR will ultimately depend upon mobile users and the extent to which it meets their expectations. 

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