Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

New, head-turner gadgets

Yasunari Ramon Suarez Taguchi - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – This year's GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) - the biggest annually-held mobile industry trade show in the world - proved that there is still a lot of room for innovation in the mobile products arena - what with the number of new gadgets and novel product prototypes that made their debuts at the event.

Held in Barcelona, Spain from March 2 to 5, MWC 2015 reportedly drew in close to 1,900 exhibitors and more than 90,000 attendees - making the event as a banner year for one of the world of tech's annually anticipated gatherings.

From unveilings of new smartphone and tablet models to exhibits featuring novel consumer electronic products touting the "smart" gadget moniker, following are some of the show-stopping items that turned a lot of heads their way in this year's MWC.

Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge

A couple of years back during the height of the "Apple-Fan VS Samsung-Fan Wars," Samsung detractors always pointed out how the Korean manufacturer's flagship smartphone was made with a utilitarian plastic body - not premium-grade materials.

This year, the unveiling of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge evens out the form-and-body score between Apple and Samsung - with both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge boasting a uni-body form (i.e., non-removable battery) made from high-grade materials; topped by a 5.1-screen covered with high-quality glass.

As the current standard bearers of the Galaxy S line, both the S6 and S6 Edge comes with Android 5.0 pre-installed, and are essentially no different from each other in terms of hardware specifications, save for one point - the S6 Edge is designed with two curved-glass edges that wraps the phone's sides with a readable display.

Though many have been quick in pointing out aesthetic design similarities between the S6/S6 Edge and the 2013-released Galaxy S4, the looks are as sharp as one could expect from a brand's flagship series smartphone.

The Nokia N1

With a screen measuring 7.9 inches and an Intel processor under its hood, the Nokia N1 tablet made its international debut in MWC 2015.

Released in China in November last year, the tablet runs on an Android-based operating system, and comes with the Nokia-branded Z Launcher out of the box.

It's worth noting that, being one of the world's most recent tablet models, the N1 sports the reversible USB Type-C socket (the latest USB interface standard that has yet to go mainstream) - giving it a future-forward stance.

Measuring 6.9 mm thick and encased in an aluminum frame, many have likened the N1 to Apple's iPad Mini - particularly the iPad Mini 3 - with a number of tech pundits commenting that its similarities (in terms of looks, body finish and overall performance) with Apple's iPad Mini nods to Nokia's newfound direction in churning out tablets - not smartphones.

A "smart carry-on case" by Bluesmart

Anyone who reads up on the latest technology-related news knows that the word "smart" now has a new meaning; it now refers to any product's built-in capacity to function as an add-on or accessory for a smart device.

A carry-on case by Bluesmart - which is touted by the brand as a "smart suitcase" - proudly stands as one of the latest product types to join in the "smart" product classification.

At its core, the "smart carry-on case" is no different from the regular carry-on case many are familiar with - minus the fact that it is designed to track its own location, weigh itself, lock or unlock itself via the use of a mobile application, and - get this - send a text message should it stray beyond a given distance from its owner.

With its location-based functions anchored on an embedded SIM-card, the "smart case" is powered by a 10,000 mAh battery - which also gives it an additional function as a power bank or portable charger for travelers.

LifeBeam's "smart hat"

If you thought that wearable technology's dominion only covered "smart watches," a "smart hat" by LifeBeam proves that wearable tech also covers apparel items that are worn over one's head.

As one of  "smart" products showcased in this year's MWC, LifeBeam's "smart hat" is actually a heart-rate monitor that can check its wearer's heart-rate while running, biking or doing any form of physical exercise.

Apart from heart-rate monitoring function, the "smart hat" also serves as a calorie-counter that's compatible with a variety of mobile applications.

Since it is a hat, it was probably made with outdoor exercises and activities in mind - making it a handy alternative for those who aren't keen on putting on a "smart watch" or "smart band."

The MyFC Jaq fuel-cell charger

At its core, MyFC's Jaq fuel-cell charger function is no different from the average power bank or portable charger one can readily purchase from a gadget store. What makes it different from the average power bank is that it powers itself - since it is a device that gets power by mixing water and salt to release hydrogen to generate electricity.

It is a "fuel-cell charger" whose byproducts take the form of heat and water vapor. As a portable charger for smart devices, it certainly is an alternative to "self-powering" portable chargers like solar or hand crank-powered chargers.

Though the Cebu-launches of these new products are still unclear, it's exciting - or at least good to know - that they exist.

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