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The Future of Mobile: Trends from Mobile World Congress 2021

Today we wrap up Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2021. Whether you joined online or attended the hybrid conference in person, one thing is certain: today’s groundbreaking technology is paving the way for our future connectivity. Fittingly, the theme of this year’s event was Connected Impact, representing the role mobile connectivity plays in an ever-changing world, where flexibility and adaptability are critical. Here are four of the key consumer takeaways from this year’s conference:   

1. 5G Is Connecting Our World  

COVID-19 truly put the power of online connectivity to the test. While 2020 was supposed to be the year of 5G connectivity, this was put on pause as the world faced social and financial uncertainty. Instead, the spotlight fell on legacy technologies to create a new normal for users. Consumers quickly had to figure out how to live their best lives online — from working from home to distance learning to digitally connecting with loved ones.  

To help foster online connectivity for all, 5G must step back into the spotlight. Although publicly available 5G networks have been around for two years, it is unlikely that many users see much of a difference between 5G and LTE. For users to feel the impact of 5G, mobile carriers must expand the frequencies at the low and high ends of the spectrum, which is where 5G networks operate.   

Qualcomm led the 5G announcements on Monday with the unveiling of its second-generation Qualcomm 5G RAN Platform for Small Cells (FSM200xx). This platform brings major enhancements to radio frequencies and is designed to take millimeter wave performance to more places: indoors, outdoors, and around the globe. According to Qualcomm, these advancements aim to facilitate greater mobile experiences and accelerate 5G performance and availability to users everywhere— thus reshaping opportunities for homes, hospitals, offices and more.  

2. New Wearables to Watch   

Technology and connectivity played a crucial role in our daily lives in 2020—and therefore, unsurprisingly, spending on health and wellness tech grew by 18.1%.  But now, we must ask ourselves what role technology will play post-lockdown.   

While they did not have a physical appearance at MWC this year, Samsung provided a sneak of their new wearables: they introduced the One UI Watch user experience, a new interface designed to make the Galaxy Watch and smartphone experience more deeply connected. Samsung also announced its expanded partnership with Google, promising to deliver better performance, longer battery life, and a larger ecosystem of apps to the Galaxy Watch. Although they did not unveil any hardware at MWC, Samsung did ensure that users can expect to see new devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy Watch 4 at their Galaxy Unpacked event happening in July/August of 2021.  

3. A Welcomed Distraction: Tablets for Entertainment   

2020 also shone a bright light on the key role technology plays in the consumption and distribution of creative arts and entertainment. Lockdown put an even greater responsibility on streaming platforms — and the devices they are accessed on — to deliver content right to people’s homes. 

 To help meet entertainment consumption needs, Lenovo announced not one, not two, but five new Android tablets during MWC. Its largest tablet is the Yoga Tab 13, which features a built-in kickstand, 13-inch display with 2,160 x 1,350 resolution, up to 12 hours of battery life, and more. Lenovo is pitching this model as its “portable home cinema,” perfect for streaming on the go. It also unveiled the Yoga Tab 11 and the Tab P11 Plus, which are expected to be available in EMEA in July following the Yoga Tab 13’s June release date. For users hoping for a more compact, budget-friendly device, Lenovo also announced the Lenovo Tab M8 and the Lenovo Tab M7. Whichever model you select, one thing it certain — digital devices have and will continue to be instrumental in consumer entertainment.   

4. Mobile Security in a More Connected World  

These exciting announcements are a great representation of what the future holds for mobile technology and greater connectivity. The advancements in mobile connectivity have already made a positive impact on consumer lifestyles, but the rise in popularity of these devices has also caught the attention of cybercriminals looking to exploit consumers’ reliance on this technology.   

More time spent online interacting with various apps and services simultaneously increases your chance of exposure to cybersecurity risks and threats. Unsurprisingly, cybercriminals were quick to take advantage of the increase in connectivity throughout 2020. McAfee Labs saw an average of 375 new threats per minute and a surge of hackers exploiting the pandemic through COVID-19 themed phishing campaigns, malicious apps, malware and more. For users to continue to live a connected life, they will need to take greater care of their online safety and ensure that security is top-of-mind in any given situation. Taking these precautions will provide greater peace of mind in the new mobile-driven world.   

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