What the MWC 2015 Implies About the Future of Streaming

By Chris Smith on March 09, 2015

Mobile device manufacturers from across the globe gathered in Barcelona, Spain this past week to showcase their newest phones, tablets, virtual reality headsets, smartwatches, cameras, and luggage at the 2015 Mobile World Congress -- the yearly, massive gathering of mobile tech manufacturers for display of the latest wares. You read that right; there was luggage.

An overview of coverage comes from the online pages of Wired which displayed its pick of the "16 Coolest Gadgets" that made a showing at the gathering. Leading the pack, at least in the smartphone category, is the Samsung Galaxy S6 -- also a clear favorite at other news sites such as MarketWatch and Tech Times. It comes with a redesign that ditches the S5's plastic frame for aluminum and raises the bar with its S6 Edge that took home the GSMA award of "Best New Handset, Tablet, or Device" in part for the curved display that spills over its vertical edges.

We all knew that Samsung was going back to the drawing board, and it appears to have made some strides with its flagship handset. Competitors Sony, HTC, Alcatel, and Lenovo have something to say about that reboot though; their own designs for the respective Xperia M4 Aqua, One M9, OneTouch Idol 3, and Vibe Shot all try to conquer a piece of the market with lower prices, embedded cameras that may suit budding photographers, and symmetrical designs.

Beyond that, however, there is one glaring exception to the flurry of devices which attendees found in Spain: there weren't very many tablets among the sea of smartphones. PCMAG takes note of the ZTE Nubia Z9 Max and Sony Xperia Z4 while Wired praises the new Jolla Tablet.

The takeaway? Tablets may be on the decline. While Zype has previously reported on the millennial generation, which reportedly prefers content on smaller screens, smartphones barely beat out tablets in recent research as the mobile devices of choice for watching streamed TV. The market could be responding to that slight dip by concentrating on smartphones that are just a bit bigger and therefore can respond to millennials' collective want for a screen that is big enough but not so intrusive that it gets in the way of their mobility. The new Galaxy S6, for instance, keeps the 5.1-inch display of its predecessor, and the OneTouch Idol 3 reaches into "phablet" territory.

It could be early in the process, but the MWC gives some indication that tablets are falling out of favor with manufacturers and fans. Smartphones provide content providers with enough space and resolution to display their works of art, and viewers can easily take in a movie without undue eye strain on even the middling-size mobile screens.

Oh, and that luggage mentioned earlier? The Bluesmart smart luggage can charge your mobiles with a built-in battery pack; it also comes with a slot for a SIM card to track its location. No more lost items, and no more drained handsets! Just don't expect to find many new tablets on the market to take on your next trip.

Header and feature images courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns. Sources here and here.

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