Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > Manufacturing/Packaging

Mobile is Everything: MWC 2016 highlights

Posted: 10 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mobile World Congress? MWC?

"The early January Las Vegas-based Consumer Electronics Show is becoming an increasingly common place for cellular industry-targeting chip, software, and systems companies to ply their newest wares." That's how I started off my pre-MWC (Mobile World Congress) coverage last mid-February.

Apparently, the converse is also the case, because plenty of historically cellular industry-targeting companies also plied their beyond-cellular wares at MWC, a historically cellular-focused show.

I mean a rolling robot and 360-degree video camera from LG? A VR headset (previously unveiled as well, but now with an official shipping date) from HTC? A 360-degree VR camera and smart watch (again, previously announced but now with an official shipping date) from Samsung? A 2-in-1 computer from Huawei? A wearable camera, in-ear headset, projector, and Amazon Echo-reminiscent "agent" from Sony? A portable projector-plus from ZTE?

Still, phones (but not so much tablets), and the hardware and software technologies powering and network-connecting them, remained the primary focus at this year's event. Last time, I told you what I thought would be announced at MWC, let's see how I did with my predictions.

LTE bandwidth improvements

Qualcomm had unveiled a "1Gbit/s" LTE-Advanced Pro modem two weeks ahead of MWC, and I was pretty sure it wouldn't be alone. Indeed, at MWC Intel also released a LTE-A modem upgrade, this one of a more mainstream 450 Mbit/s downstream/150 Mbit/s upstream flavour. From a cores-inside-modem SoCs standpoint, both ARM and CEVA unveiled new products. And since silicon (and silicon-containing smartphone) performance potential means nothing in the absence of a network to use it on, Telstra's planned upgrade to LTE CAT.16 (in whose footsteps other worldwide cellular providers will presumably also follow) is particularly notable, as well.

Next-gen wireless advancements

"5G" and IoT (i.e. LTE MTC) were indeed both widely discussed at the show, although tangible announcements (particularly of the former, understandable given that it's in its early stages) were scant. Regarding the latter, I encourage you to read Junko Yoshida's as-usual thorough coverage in sibling publication EE Times, elaborating on an announced partnership between long-time narrowband LTE promoter Sequans Communications S.A. and Gemalto, a module supplier, along with Rick Merritt's follow-up piece on alternative low-power WAN approaches. And for the former, I'll again advocate Junko Yoshida's pre-show "5G: 10 Questions You Were Afraid to Ask" state-of-the-industry article, along with an overview write-up in Gizmodo, "What is 5G and How Will It Make My Life Better?"

Then there's LTE-U, the proposed expansion of LTE cellular service into unlicensed bands such as those today commonly used by 802.11a/n/ac. Dtente isn't officially on hand, at least yet, but the Cold War between the dueling Wi-Fi and cellular camps seems to be thawing at least a bit, as the Register recently reported. Similarly, the LTE industry also has its eyes on a chunk of 3.5GHz spectrum historically the sole domain of military and satellite providers but recently expanded by the FCC as the catchy "Citizens Broadband Radio Service."

- Brian Dipert

Article Comments - Mobile is Everything: MWC 2016 highl...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top