Mobile World Congress isn't just for smartphones and basic Bluetooth. It's also a place for showing off Wi-Fi coffee makers, recyclable SIM card holders, and smart power plugs.
Fujitsu cane brings GPS for seniors
Mobile World Congress isn't just for standard smartphones and basic Bluetooth. It also gives manufacturers a chance to show off their more daring and unusual products. Scroll through our gallery to see some of this year's standouts.
The Fujitsu New Generation GPS Cane is a prototype walking stick with a lighted display built into the handle. It can give directions or show the user's heart rate with the aim of helping seniors get around. Fujitsu packed the cane with GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. A route can be programmed into it, and it then takes over with helping to get the walker to the right place.
Heavy-equipment manufacturer Cat takes a run at the mobile phone world. With a heritage like that, you would expect the Cat B15 Android phone to be pretty rugged. It certainly looks the part, with rubber and aluminum on the casing, but it also sports Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the software side.
Why settle for a regular coffee machine when you could get one with Wi-Fi? Qualcomm's concept coffee maker on display at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona integrates Wi-Fi onto a standard coffee machine. It lets you control the strength, size, and brewing time of your coffee using a tablet. The machine can send out alerts when your java is ready for consumption. It's just a concept, but it's a fun look at potential home automation device.
While many people have shrunken their mobile devices from laptop down to tablet, Dell wants to take it even further with Project Ophelia, a small Android dongle that plugs into the HDMI port of a monitor, giving you access to local files, your remote desktop, and any apps and media from the Google Play store. You'll still need a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, but it's an interesting departure from larger computing devices.
NEC's unusual Android smartphone Medias W N-05E has two screens instead of one, and they fold down the middle. This makes for a particularly unusual take on the phablet phenomenon. Open it up and you get a 5.6-inch tablet screen to work with. Fold it over and it feels more like a regular smartphone.
Big Ben Technology showed off paper nano-SIM cards at Mobile World Congress 2013. The SIM cards themselves are made from recyclable ABS plastic with metal contact points, but the card holders are totally crafted from paper. That makes them a whole lot easier to recycle than the plastic most holders are made from. When you think about how many SIM card holders get tossed into the trash, using paper could really add up over time.
Samsung announced the HomeSync home theater media hub at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It's a bit like an AppleTV, minus the Apple. It uses an Android interface and lets you access the same apps that are on your smartphone or tablet. It should appeal to Samsung fans who already have Samsung Android gadgets and want to get the same sort of feel from their home theater experience.
BeeWi took the wrappings off its Mobot prototype power plug at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Mobot is more than just a timer for your electrical gadgets. The plugs can communicate with each other and your phone. Individual plugs can be turned off and on using an app. You can set schedules or get alerts from the plug's built-in motion detector. Battery backup and a temperature sensor are nice safety features. Home automation is hot and the Mobot could be a solid contender in the power plug department.