MWC 2018 has come to an end, and there were many things to talk about. It’s pretty easy to get lost in all the news and announcements that have come out during the week. Even worse, everything has basically boiled down to phones, phones, Galaxy S9, phones and more phones.

We’ve made a little list of our own to talk about all the interested things that happened at MWC 18 beyond listing every device’s specs. This is it:

Phone stuff

First, we had to let this out of the way. As usual, MWC 2018 was filled with new phone launches, which led to some interesting trends, but some stories particularly stand out.

The Galaxy S9 happened, if predictably so (nothing bad about that). Perhaps more surprising was HMD, which launched a broad selection of Nokia phones going from some interesting low-budget models to a less interesting premium one.

Almost everyone else made announcements. LG, Sony, Alcatel, Asus and several less-known manufacturers left their prints in Barcelona. Some things to highlight:

  • iPhone X copycats are a thing now, with major players like Asus (pictured above), and potentially Huawei, getting on the notch hype, if it can be called that.
  • The headphone jack has survived yet another year… barely. Most notably, Samsung kept it, so that counts for something. But somehow it feels like its last year of life.

5G is coming

MWC 2018 was the edition where “5G” stopped being a buzzword and became a reality. Things are already taking shape, with North East Asia and the US making the biggest effort: both are expected to make 5G available on select cities by the end of the year.

In the US, carriers are already clashing for the race to 5G; while the European Commission stressed the importance of the technology for its prosperity and advancement, promising “light-touch regulations” to make it happen fast.

Intel has also boasted about how 5G will change PCs and will start supporting the technology on its chipsets. IoT will also benefit greatly from 5G, according to the company, and will give it a much needed push.

4G and 5G are also expected to be the bulk of mobile connections by 2025.

4G for the moon

Before making 52% of global connections by 2025, 4G is going to another place too.

Vodafone selected Nokia as its technology partner to bring 4G to the moon in a privately funded project that will start during 2019.

The space-grade network is said to weigh less than a bag of sugar. The tech involves using two rovers on-site, and is set to deliver the first live stream of the moon surface for a global audience.

A new place for webcams

Huawei kind of surprised us with an interesting placement of a webcam in one of its new laptops. And honestly, it doesn’t look that bad.

Generally, webcams placed under de display aren’t ideal, but you at least have to commend Huawei’s effort in pushing design forward, especially in a sector so stagnated like laptops. Besides, there’s a privacy factor here for those who care about that sort of thing.

What happened to wearables?

We talked before about the possibility of smartwatches catching a breath. But exactly the opposing happened, and no major developments seemed to take place at MWC 2018 for wearables, except Fitbit being present.

Saying that “smartwatches are dead” is a bit sensationalist, though. There’s definitely a market, it’s just that maybe it’s not as a big as previously thought.

The race for AI

AI was of course a major presence during this year, as more and more companies are realizing the need for smart, but above all, true conversational AI. Mobile is definitely the place where AI will be more important for a mainstream audience, and companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and even Samsung perfectly know that.

While Google announced several features for Assistant like multilanguage use, operators are falling behind on that end, leaving software makers to sit as the only true players in conversational AI. Customer support, for example, could greatly benefit from AI.

Tech nostalgia is a thing now

Last year, HMD won our hearts by showing us a new version of the Nokia 3310. The trick was effective, and it generated a lot of buzz. However, it was obvious the phone wasn’t going to translate much into sales.

That didn’t stop the company from announcing the Nokia 8110 this year. And surprisingly, the trick worked again: everyone is talking about it (though we guess not as many people are going to buy it). The result? It appears Motorola is preparing to do the same with its classic Razr.

IoT

2018 will be an explosion for IoT, according to remarks made by Huawei during the event. To get just a basic idea, IoT connections will rise from 10 million in 2017 to 150 million this year, and the number of ecosystem partners will go up to 3,000, tripe of what it was before.

A more open future for mobile?

Five of the world’s largest operators announced an alliance during MWC. The goal is to drive forward the development of a more open, smarter generation of radio access network (RAN).

AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo and Orange were committed to shaping a future where open, interoperable interfaces will be the norm, leveling the ground for every player and eliminating the need of proprietary technologies.

This could potentially lead to reduction in costs, as well as faster implementation of new technologies, which the alliance has already planned.

What’s next

This year, Mobile World Congress will have its own edition in Shanghai, so we will surely see more interesting stuff when it takes place in June. Further down the road, Mobile World Congres 2019 will take place again in Barcelona!