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MWC 2016: Day 4 Mobile Device News Roundup

by Rajeev Nair | 2月 25, 2016

As we close in on the biggest Mobile show this year at Barcelona, Day 4 of MWC 2016 was not devoid of flagship launches and other interesting developments in the smartphone space.

Our devices analysts from Wireless Devices Strategies (WDS) service were at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016  on Day 4 (February 24th), meeting with clients / industry players from diverse sectors / journalists and analysing the new innovations and devices from the smartphone ecosystem on display.

Our previous day's coverage of key developments from MWC 2016, in the smartphone category can be accessed from the following blog articles:


MWC 2016: Day 3 Mobile Device News Roundup

MWC 2016: Day 2 Mobile Device News Roundup

MWC 2016: Day 1 Mobile Device News Roundup

MWC: Views from the Event

Below are the key takeaways from the penultimate day (Day 4) of the event:

1. Xiaomi launches its next flagships (Mi5 and Mi5 Pro):

In its first ever major launch outside China, Xiaomi unveiled its next flagship smartphone, the Mi5, and its ceramic variant, the Mi5 Pro, in the Mobile World Congress. The successor to Mi4 runs on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. The 5.1 inch device is inclusive of 4GB RAM and 128 GB of on-board storage. In terms of other key specifications, Xiaomi has ensured some of the best in this next flagship device, to include 16 megapixel main camera, USB Type – C port, finger print scanner, a 3000mAh battery and it runs on the latest MIUI 7.

We believe Mi5 would surely play a major role for the vendor in 2016 while taking on the competition from Huawei in China, its home and biggest market, but now in a slowdown.  Its existing growth markets such as India and Brazil too could witness good adoption with its strategy of high end specifications devices at relatively low prices, bringing in the ’Value for Money’ proposition. The premium device is a boost, as the vendor looks to settle the IPR issues and expand its international operations into some of the more advanced smartphone markets later.

                                         Xiaomi Mi5


2. Fairphone 2 - The real modular phone:

Fairphone 2, from the Dutch marker launched in 2015, also made it to the MWC and unlike the LG G5 launched on day 1 of the event, this is a fully modular phone and could be taken down to bits. The device positioned in the premium segment runs on a Snapdragon™ 801 Quad-core 2.26GHz CPU with 2GB RAM and 32GB on-board storage and provisions a micro SD card slot. The 5 inch Android device with an 8 MP camera also ports a dual SIM option. The screen, camera and several other parts of the phone can be swapped in for upgrades with the replacements that currently available only with Fairphone. Third parties are likely to plug in later. The main idea behind modular phone being easy and affordable upgrades and repairs.

Modular phones are yet to gain mass market traction and per our estimates, would account for much less than 1% of all mobile handsets sold worldwide in 2016.


                     fairphone 2- modular phone

3. Jolla on the move in Asia and Africa:

The maker of Sailfish OS, Jolla has signed up with OEM Mi-Fone for its African foray. Mi-Fone is likely to bring in multiple Sailfish devices in select African markets by Q2 2016. The mobile OS firm also showcased its first Sailfish powered device, Aqua Fish, with the lead Indian handset vendor, Intex, who had teamed up with Jolla, mid of last year and was its first OEM partner. Aqua Fish is the first device running on a licensed Sailfish OS and is likely to be available in India, by mid of 2016. The device would include relevant local content as a differentiator and has tie up for local music and e-commerce services. Jolla at the MWC also announced a deal with Fairphone.

We though expect Sailfish OS to remain niche due to low consumer awareness and it needs to move quickly on multiple partnership with OEMs, else its future looks bleak.

                      Intex Aqua fish

4. Kyocera’s Solar Powered Smartphone:

Kyocera’s smartphone prototype takes a stab at addressing the battery issues with solar charging. Carrying on further from MWC 2015 where it first introduced the concept, Kyocera in the new prototype has solar panels built into the screen. The vendor has partnered with Sunpartner Technologies for the solar-soaking panels on the prototype. The technology though is still some time away from mass market adoption and could be currently more applicable under specific emergency situation, if the claims of the vendor of 1 minute of talk time for every 3 minutes of direct sunlight are anything to go by.

5. Oppo focuses on quick battery charging:

The "Super VOOC Flash Charge" technology from Oppo is being touted by the vendor as being capable of charging the phone’s battery to 100 percent, in just 15 minutes. The proprietary technology is up against Qualcomm’s Quick charge3.0 technology, which is compatible with devices only on Snapdragon processors. The "Super VOOC Flash Charge" though is likely to feature on the forthcoming smartphones from Oppo but might take some time to get going.

As MWC 2016 draws to a close, please stay tuned in for our wrap up Webinar on the 29th Feb, capturing our take on this edition of world’s premier mobile event.

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