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Best innovation of MWC 2016: PhoneArena Awards

Best innovation of MWC 2016: PhoneArena Awards

Quick question: what do dual-curved displays, iris scanners, ultrasonic fingerprint readers, and built-in heart rate sensors have in common? The answer: these were all innovative features we first saw implemented in smartphones at recent MWC expos. And if you're curious to know what this year's Mobile World Congress brought, then you've landed at the right place.

All in all, we didn't see any earth-shattering new tech announced this year, but the show wasn't short on nice surprises either. For instance, we had Oppo announce the next evolution in its VOOC battery charging technology, Sony unveiled a smarter Bluetooth headset, and Samsung brought fast, Dual Pixel focusing to mobile cameras. But these, in our opinion, were the best innovations of MWC 2016.

Best innovation of MWC 2016: LG Modular Design


It takes guts to invest in a concept as unorthodox as this, but LG's Modular Design might pave the way to an accessory ecosystem, the kind of which we haven't seen yet. 

In a nutshell, the idea of Modular Design is to allow users to expand the functionality of their LG smartphone – an LG G5, in this case. This is done by pairing the handset with various modules and accessories built especially for it. For example, LG demonstrated a camera grip attachment, which provides dedicated camera controls, all while doubling as an extended battery with over 1,000mAh of additional charge. And third-parties may partner up with LG to develop their own attachments. The high-fidelity DAC module, for instance, has the Bang & Olufsen name behind it, developed to deliver better sound compared to the LG G5's built-in audio gear. 

We're not saying that Modular Design is where things in the industry are headed. That's actually looking unlikely at this point in time. But we're curious to see what LG will make of it and whether any truly awesome modules would come out of this idea.

The LG G5 along with modules and accessories

The LG G5 along with modules and accessories


First runner-up: Consumer-grade 360-degree cameras


360-degree videos can be cool to watch, whether you do so using a headset or by simply moving your phone around. They give you a sense of presence and immersion you just can't get out of a standard video. The tricky part, however, is that 360-degree content isn't plentiful, and you can't record 360-degree footage using your smartphone's camera alone.

Samsung and LG are looking to shake things up a bit by launching their own, consumer-grade 360-degree video cameras. The focus here is on "consumer-grade" because the selection of such cameras is scarce at the moment, and professional rigs can cost a small fortune. The newly announced Samsung Gear 360 and the LG 360 CAM, however, are built to make 360-degree video recording accessible, convenient, and fun, thus fueling its further popularity. Alas, we have no details regarding prices and availability for these two innovative products, but we hope to learn more details soon.

The new Samsung Gear 360 and the LG 360 CAM 360-degree cameras

The new Samsung Gear 360 and the LG 360 CAM 360-degree cameras


Second runner-up: Retail box for Alcatel Idol 4S doubles as VR headset!


You don't have to invest millions to bring something fresh, something new, something innovative to the smartphone scene. Alcatel's recent packaging solution is a great example of that. The brand's Idol 4S smartphone, which is pretty awesome, by the way, come in a box that transforms into a Google Cardboard VR headset. How cool is that? And the accessory is actually made of plastic, so it is likely to be more durable and long-lasting compared to a cardboard-made headset you get for a few bucks online. To put to good use something that might have otherwise been thrown out – that's innovation.

The Alcatel Idol 4S delivers VR experience out of the box

The Alcatel Idol 4S delivers VR experience out of the box

15 Comments
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posted on 26 Feb 2016, 12:01 16

1. legiloca (Posts: 1199; Member since: 11 Nov 2014)


I could only imagine other major OEMs do what Alcatel did with their retail box doubling as a free VR headset.. Kudos

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 15:02

12. FrankUnderwood2 (Posts: 210; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)


totally agree

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 15:59 1

14. Beto_Lopez (Posts: 43; Member since: 14 Apr 2015)


yeah free. Nothing is free, no company in the world would do anything or give anything without a benefit, ovbiously the difference in price between thhe VR Box and a normal retail box is impacted on the price of the phone.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 12:10 2

2. miketer (Posts: 126; Member since: 02 Apr 2015)


Didn't Alcatel think of patenting this concept? Guess they don't want to make money via the courts.

posted on 29 Feb 2016, 13:02

15. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 448; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)


They're not crappy Apple, patenting every good idea to sue everyone else. Kudos to Alcatel for being a good company.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 12:11 3

3. avishekmukherjee (Posts: 284; Member since: 09 Apr 2015)


Good job LG

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 12:42 2

4. cnour (Posts: 565; Member since: 11 Sep 2014)


Nothing important.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 13:49 3

7. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


This comment is absolutely useless, congratulations on wasting that time.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 14:09

8. cnour (Posts: 565; Member since: 11 Sep 2014)


Thanks, but your comment is not better.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 14:39 2

11. TheWeasel (Posts: 403; Member since: 26 Dec 2014)


I won't argue with that, you're right. It just goes to show that we could be doing better things with our time than making comments that don't contribute to a discussion of some sort.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 14:29 3

9. BobbyDigital (Posts: 1836; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Neither are you and your comment. Thanks for adding nothing at all to the conversation.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 12:48

5. KillTheKardashians (banned) (Posts: 93; Member since: 19 Feb 2016)


Nice Idea but not smart enough.

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 13:45 1

6. Elfmonster (Posts: 405; Member since: 23 Dec 2013)


That box idea is amazing

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 14:30 2

10. BobbyDigital (Posts: 1836; Member since: 29 May 2014)


Kudos to LG!

posted on 26 Feb 2016, 15:48 1

13. Sondae (Posts: 277; Member since: 02 Jan 2013)


It shows how LG work on there phone even if it is made of metal, they made battery removable plus with those accessories.

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