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.


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.


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.

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15 Comments

1. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

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

12. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

totally agree

14. Beto_Lopez

Posts: 44; Member since: Apr 14, 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.

2. miketer

Posts: 520; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

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

15. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

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

3. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Good job LG

4. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Nothing important.

7. TheWeasel

Posts: 403; Member since: Dec 26, 2014

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

8. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Thanks, but your comment is not better.

11. TheWeasel

Posts: 403; Member since: Dec 26, 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.

9. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2125; Member since: May 29, 2014

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

5. KillTheKardashians

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 19, 2016

Nice Idea but not smart enough.

6. Elfmonster unregistered

That box idea is amazing

10. BobbyDigital

Posts: 2125; Member since: May 29, 2014

Kudos to LG!

13. Sondae

Posts: 291; Member since: Jan 02, 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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