Smartphones, mobile security and wearables move into the future at global tech show.
Digital devices that we buy or use increasingly compute and communicate wirelessly with the Internet. Technology that makes personal computers and smartphones so useful in our lives is improving rapidly and is making its way into all of things that were never “smart” before.
It’s also unleashing new needs and desires that will been defined in the coming decade.
This was evident in Barcelona this week, where thousands of leading tech innovators gathered for Mobile World Congress (MWC). The annual event foretells the future of our wireless technology.
This year, the promise of 5G wireless networks, expected to become available in 2020, became clear. In the next five years, many parts of the world will have smarter mobile networks built for high speed and efficiency.
According to ABI Research, there were more than 16 billion active wireless connected devices in 2014. By 2020, that number is expected to surpass 40 billion.
So when 5G becomes broadly available, everything from personal computing devices to smart cities and autonomous cars will connect and communicate via wireless Internet.
In addition to futuristic technologies, MWC is where new, cutting edge and more affordable smartphones were first introduced to the world. New tablets and wearable technologies with cameras or voice control leverage wireless connections to the Internet.
With a slick metal design, the Samsung S6 and S6 Edge stirred big buzz at MWC.
The S6 features a savvy fingerprint scanner, fast camera, wireless charging capabilities and the ability to get apps from the new Samsung Pay. The S6 will be available in April, and will come pre-installed with VirusScan Mobile technology from Intel Security.
According to a new report by McAfee Labs, mobile malware, which includes viruses, as well as malicious apps and URLs, increased by 14 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014.
The report also found that the infection rate for mobile malware has increased significantly, with at least 8 percent of all systems reporting an infection since late 2013.
“We live in an unprecedented era of connectivity, where users are doing just about everything on their mobile devices – from banking to shopping to filing taxes – potentially putting their sensitive data and privacy at risk,” said John Giamatteo, senior vice president and general manager at Intel Security in a news announcement.
“All Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge users receive protection to enable safe online experiences.”
The race to create more smartphones that cost less than $100 was in full swing at MWC.
That’s where the new Intel Atom x3 line of chips come into play. Debuted this week at MWC, the x3 was shown running 27 different smartphone models, ranging in price from $75 to $200. Before it was branded Intel Atom x3, the technology was known as SoFIA, which stood for “Smart or Feature phone with Intel Architecture.”
“These chips are powerful and cheap,” wrote Wired’s Christina Bonnington, “and are sure to drive the industry trend of high-capability, low-cost smartphones to even greater extremes.”
She continued, “This…is notable because it could enable much more capable phone hardware at the $50 price point, which will be a huge boon to smartphone adoption in developing nations.”
Introducing it at MWC, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the x3 provides exceptional performance for the value for entry-level smartphones, phablets and tablets.
“We can get a customer to market in six to eight weeks with this product,” he said.
This BMW Smart Motorcycle pairs wirelessly with a smart helmet using Bluetooth or WiFi, allowing the rider to talk to and hear from the bike’s digital control center.
Intel and BMW fitted the bike and helmet with Intel Edison technology, which brings computer and communications capabilities to the motorcycle riding experience.
“The helmet is connected directly to the CANbus (Controller Access Network) which is the on-board system tied to things such as tire pressure, oil pressure, fluid levels and engine temperature,” said Francis Tharappel, a senior systems engineer for Intel’s New Devices Group, which worked on the Embedded Voice Recognition Engine used in the smart motorcycle.
The helmet is wired into the on-board GPS technology, allowing it to voice turn-by-turn directions in the driver’s ear, according to Intel’s Stephanie Moyerman.
“If you need directions, say ‘take me home’ and it’ll queue up directions and give them over audio. But if there isn’t enough gas, then it will redirect you to a gas station first because it can read the bike’s remaining fuel range,” said Moyerman in a recent interview with Intel Free Press.
“It will also do smart navigation, so if a blind turn is approaching, it’ll give you warning to slow down.”
Intel True Key, a new password-management technology that debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, is now being rolled out in Germany via Deustche Telekom and in Russia via Prestigio.
Currently True Key makes use of facial math, like the distance between your eyes and nose, and provides fingerprint recognition to log securely into personal device.
“The average person today has over two dozen online accounts, each one protected by a password,” says Dr. Richard Reiner, VP of Technology at Intel’s Safe Identity Solutions Division.
“That’s the dilemma people are facing: either use simpler passwords, or re-use the same password in many places, or write their passwords down somewhere — none of which are secure,” says Reiner.
True Key can be installed on a smartphone, tablet or computer, and it puts you in control of creating and managing all of your passwords.
It helps generate tough-to-crack passwords using military-grade encryption and multiple advanced-security technologies.
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Imagine if you could see what soccer great Lionel Messi sees. First V1sion is designed to share the player’s point of view by integrating a high definition camera, pulsometer, accelerometer and transmission system in a sport-optimized T-shirt. First V1sion, based in Barcelona, competed in the 2014 Make It Wearable challenge.
The startup sees a future where a player’s point of view is shown in sports, from basketball, football, tennis, athletics and many more.
In addition to using more high-definition cameras than ever, sporting events could give spectators a multitude of perspectives on a game, including the player’s perspective.
“Imagine getting video streams of a volleyball match or another sporting event then switching between the two from wherever you are using your mobile device,” said Asha Keddy, vice president in Intel’s Communication and Devices Group and general manager of the company’s standards and advanced technology team.
“Today, 4G networks only let you view one at a time,” she said. “5G networks might allow you to watch both. Or if the game was covered using multiple cameras, you could get 360-degree perspective then zoom into what you really want to see.”