3 leading trends from Mobile World Congress

March 4, 2019

By Deng-Kai Chen, VP Product Management, Verizon Media

Mobile World Congress was held last week in Barcelona with both Verizon and Verizon Media on the ground in full force. The "Intelligent Connectivity" theme for MWC 2019 put the spotlight on the newest technologies and innovations in the mobile industry. Here are a few of the exciting trends I saw.

Verizon at MWC 2019

Bring on the 5G devices
As excitement over 5G builds and major carriers all over the world prepare to roll out their next-generation networks, phone makers took the opportunity to use this mobile conference to showcase their 5G-ready hardware designed for the next industrial revolution.

Samsung came to Barcelona with a 5G version of its new Galaxy S10. LG followed suit with the V50 ThinQ while HTC brought a tablet meant to double as a smart home hub. Indeed, the pressure to deliver was so great that Sony and OnePlus chose to share prototypes.

With the improved speeds, battery life, and potential connectivity even while moving up to 500 kilometers per hour - these new 5G devices will no doubt have advertisers eagerly anticipating leveraging advanced mobile ad formats and features, which continue to evolve and adapt to the coming 5G world. These advancements will offer additional exciting data and monetization opportunities for advertisers as more and more devices connect to the network.

2019 is the year of foldable phones
Samsung set the tone when it unveiled the Galaxy Fold last week; now nearly every other leading phone maker is following suit. Not to be outdone, Huawei announced the Mate X, whose fold-flat design feels innovative, but carries a heftier price tag. Motorola confirmed that it, too, will be releasing a foldable phone, though LG has said it's sitting this trend out -- for now.

It's a given that most first-generation products like these folding phones are meant for early adopters, but with high prices, these folding phones feel more like proofs of concept at this stage. However, as mobile devices continue to morph and advance, and offer new ways to reach consumers, Verizon Media continues to invest in creating next-gen ad experiences that seamlessly integrate into these new devices, form factors, and capabilities.

And now for something completely different: HoloLens
For some, a mixed reality headset might stretch the definition of "mobile," but Microsoft stole the show Sunday when it unveiled the second generation of its HoloLens headset. Unlike the original, whose early demos included a tabletop version of Minecraft, this new model is aimed squarely at the enterprise, with Airbus, Honeywell, Pearson, and Saab all on board as early customers. At its keynote, Microsoft touted a lighter carbon fiber design that will be comfortable enough for medical workers, technicians and other on-their-feet types to wear for long stretches.

Additionally, the headset makes use of eye tracking, and its field of view is more than double what it was before. Microsoft likens the improvement in picture quality to jumping from a 720p set to 2K. Indeed, Engadget editor Mat Smith concluded after some hands-on time that the experience this time around feels "less awkward" -- more like a floating display when hooking up to a monitor isn't an option.

As XR headset experiences continue to evolve, we believe that these new capabilities will allow advertisers a huge opportunity to connect and interact with consumers in exciting new ways. We know that consumers are ready to engage with augmented reality and marketers are finally considering and planning for it.

At Verizon Media, we're excited to join our advertiser and publisher partners in building out capabilities which are useful, meaningful, and immersive for users, and continue to drive the industry into the next generation. We continue to innovate with new mobile ad features, a new SDK that offers better monetization opportunities and insights into how native ads connect with mobile users. Interested in joining us? Contact us.