While the Consumer Electronics Show generally features consumer tech from varying different areas such as connected cars, laptops, home appliances, wearables, and drones, Mobile World Congress (MWC) narrows its focus to smartphones, tablets, and all things mobile. Even so, Mobile World Congress is probably the second largest consumer technology trade show after CES. Many tech companies use this time to make major product announcements, usually smartphones. This year was no different as many high profile companies such as LG, Sony, and even Nokia revealed the future of their products. One of the bigger surprises was the lack of a Galaxy S8 announcement from Samsung. That reveal (which has already leaked) is scheduled for Samsung Unpacked event later this month. Here are the top 5 announcements of Mobile World Congress:
While last year’s G5 was certainly a bold move for LG, their take on modular smartphones was nevertheless an unsuccessful one. Switching between modules was somewhat clunky and many reviewers lamented the questionable build quality and easily scratched paint job. Fortunately at Mobile World Congress, LG finally made the G6 official after months of rumors and speculation. This year seems to be a reset from last year and a return to form. From the outset, the most noticeable thing about the G6 is the big, beautiful 5.7” Quad HD screen dominating the front. The 18:9 ratio allows wider content viewing although videos may display black bars on the sides. The bezels are very minimal with an almost edge to edge screen (although not spilling over the edge like Samsung’s Galaxy S6/S7 Edge). It loses the modular features of the G5 and instead unibody design of glass and metal. The unibody design means that it loses the ability to remove the battery, however, that allows for waterproofing and wireless charging. For all of you spec junkies, it has a Snapdragon 821 CPU and Adreno 530 GPU. It has dual 13 megapixel wide angle cameras in the back. Finally, it comes with Android 7.0 Nougat with Google Assistant out of the box. While the G6 doesn’t necessarily have a neat party tricks like the G5, the laser focus on the basics makes this a very competent flagship phone.
To call Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s smartphone business a disaster is an understatement. However, Nokia is poised to make a comeback with all new smartphones, now powered by Android instead of Windows 10 Mobile. This time, Nokia gave the licensing rights for the Nokia brand to HMD Global to manufacture and distribute the phones. What resulted is the Nokia 3, 5, and 6. A trio of low to mid range Android phones that might turn a few heads despite the lower specs. The biggest draw for these phones is the bone stock version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat that’s loaded on the phones. No carrier bloatware, no intrusive skins, no customizations at all. Just pure stock Android. The stock nature of the new Nokias mean faster performance and potentially faster updates. According to The Verge, HMD has about 500 carrier and retail partners but hasn’t committed to any U.S. carriers. HMD is probably trying to test the waters with mid range phones before making any high-end Nokia branded phones to compete with the likes of iPhone and Galaxy.
This isn’t a smartphone but “ain’t no school like the old school” as the saying goes. HMD is reviving the much loved and practically indestructible Nokia 3310. The new and improved 3310 sports a more rounded shape, various color choices, and has a bigger, colorful screen than the old phone. Make no mistake though, these are still basic phones that you can use to text (using T9 of course), call, take pictures, and yes…play a game of Snake. Those who want to indulge their nostalgia can pick these up for about $50.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Going back up the spectrum into the decidedly high-end is the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Sony actually admitted that they lacked innovation in 2016. At Mobile World Congress, Sony is ticking every single box spec wise with the XZ Premium. It has the world’s first 5.5” 4K HDR screen. HDR is High Dynamic Range which basically allows for more vibrant colors. The effect is quite noticeable on HDTVs that have HDR enabled. Although the screen is 4K, because it uses LCD technology, it’s not suitable for VR since the response times in LCD are too low. In addition to that, the XZ Premium is packing Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It has a IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and comes preloaded with Android 7.1 Nougat. Also…can we talk the camera for a moment? It’s a 19-megapixel camera called the Motion Eye. This new camera module has fast memory baked right in and so allows slow motion photography at 960 frames per second at 720p resolution which is a first for smartphones. The camera also has laser auto focus, an infrared sensor, and an updated image sensor. On paper, this sounds like a fantastic camera but further tests from reviewers later this year will bear this out. On a slightly sour note for American buyers, it looks like the U.S. version of the XZ Premium will omit the fingerprint sensor. Regardless, Sony is packing the Xperia XZ Premium with a myriad of high end features and specs which should certainly help it compete in the high end smartphone market.
BlackBerry’s last hurrah as an independent hardware manufacturer resulted in the BlackBerry Priv, an Android phone with some admittedly neat features but ultimately expensive and a little buggy. This year at Mobile World Congress, like Nokia, BlackBerry has left hardware duties to and third party manufacturer called TCL. Thus, TCL introduced the BlackBerry KeyOne which actually shows a lot of promise and might be a sleeper hit among Android users. Spec-wise, it’s decidedly mid-range with its Snapdragon 625 processor but it doesn’t have to be as it’s aimed primarily at the business market. It has a 4.5 inch screen with a built in hardware keyboard (it wouldn’t be a BlackBerry without it). That keyboard has quite a few tricks up it’s sleeve. The keyboard itself can be used as a trackpad. You can assign application shortcuts with just one key, for example, pressing the letter “f” to open Facebook. The space bar also acts as a very accurate fingerprint sensor. One of BlackBerry’s hallmarks is its focus on security. It’s launching with Android 7.1 Nougat and BlackBerry has promised to keep up with Google’s monthly security updates. The BlackBerry DTEK software is also onboard which monitors the phone’s status, security, and controls how much services are able to use the phone. The focus on security alone might be enough for a few security conscious users to switch to BlackBerry. While BlackBerry’s influence has been dramatically reduced in the wake of iPhone and Android devices, BlackBerry’s focus on security might help it at least keep a foothold in the government and commercial sectors.
Using Live Video To Double Your Business
Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video, and Periscope – more than likely you would have heard of these social media platforms, but did you know they are the latest technological breakthroughs for users to incorporate into their business? These platforms allow you to connect powerfully and easily with your audience, which means as an entrepreneur, you are able to personalize your brand and business amongst targeted viewers.
Engaging with your audience is key to running a successful company. Gone are the days where you can just create a website, cross your fingers, and hope that people will find it and contact you for your products or services. We live in a new era, where billions of people are constantly connected to their smart phone. According to Facebook, there are 1.18 billion active users that visit their social network on a daily basis! So with the Live Video option, you are now able to literally interact in real time with your audience. Think what that can do for your business.
The first thing you may be asking yourself right now is, how can I reach more people without a large following? Well, the easiest and quickest way to build a responsive following is to become Keyword specific. This means that you are targeting people specifically interested in your niche and what you have to offer. It is better to have 100 followers that are engaged and interested in buying your product or service than 1,000 followers that take little to no action on your offers. One of the fundamental keys to your business growth is to create an organic following.
How to build a following organically
Content is king
The more value and content you post regularly on social media — the more followers you are going to gain. People want to learn, be entertained, and see valuable posts from you.
Assuming you’re doing this and you have a responsive following, now you are able to incorporate Live Video! Before you “go live” you must have a game plan on exactly what you will be talking about. Go in prepared or you’ll lose interest and engagement.
Keep in mind the attention span of the average person is extremely short, so you have one chance and one chance only. Make it count! Lucky for you, you don’t have to be on Live Video for too long to get your message across. A handy acronym to use is: K.I.S.S: Keep it short and simple! Your audience will love you for that, trust me!
Build a bond
Like anything worthwhile in life, the power of our bonds with others is what binds us together. Strip all the technology away and we are simply human beings creating connection and bonds, which create trust and trust creates fans and buyers. With your current audience, you must build a bond, in other words, a relationship with them. You can do this with live video. Have a conversation with your audience, while keeping them entertained. Ask questions, acknowledge your viewers, and deliver value that they can take away once you’re done.
Now that you’ve created a relationship with your audience ask them to spread the word by liking to share and comment. The more likes and shares you get, the further your reach gets. Now the way Facebook’s algorithm works is, with the more activity that is happening on your post or feed, they will make sure everyone can watch it and have the opportunity to engage. Whenever a user logs onto Facebook, they will see you first on their feed!
Create a contest
People love winning. Creating a giveaway or a contest that gives your users the chance to gain something by participating will spread your name and page around Facebook like wildfire. It’s scary how fast news will spread when done correctly. A word of caution: Make sure you set clear and concise rules to your contest to avoid unnecessary drama or miscommunication.
On your post, make sure to include a form. Here, you will gather the user’s information: name and email address. These two requirements are essential for you. You have not only gained new leads for your business, but your new leads have also done free advertising work for you and your business. By liking, sharing, and commenting on your post, they have now expanded your message to their following, giving them the opportunity to participate in the contest and spread the word even farther. There are a ton of ways you can grow your audience exponentially with a few cleverly executed strategies.
Live Video Doubling Your Business
Providing value and entertaining info on your product or service without sounding like a door salesman will take you a long way. At the end of each video, provide a call to action for your audience to participate in. An example of this could be, “Click the link in my bio to learn more.” Keep in mind that you do not have to provide a call to action in every video. Spamming your viewers will only backfire.
Another approach you can have is leaving a cliffhanger at the end of each video where your viewers will want to see your next Live Event. It leaves you with suspense, which ultimately makes you come back for more. That’s the effect you need to have on your audience.
Your call to action could be clicking a link that you’ve posted on your page, tagging a friend on your most recent post, and/or leaving a comment with their email on your post. The link that the user will be clicking should direct them to a landing page where you will be able to provide the user with value and an offer. That ties back into a sales funnel, where you can convert leads into buyers.
At the end of the day, Live Video allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level. This form of communication will be help you convey your message more clearly as they watch you live. You will have a better connection with your viewers as you build a connection through emotions. Live video allows your audience to learn more about you, your business and what you’re selling. Make it exciting, provide value, develop creative call to actions for your audience and watch your business grow.
Popping the Bubble: How to Escape the Social Media Echo Chamber
This past election has left most millennials in a cloud of surprise. I know that on my own Facebook news feed there was a very anti-Trump/pro-Bernie vibe. In the months prior to the election, my outlets for social media were bombarded by very specific opinions against the reality TV billionaire. All I heard were calls to “feel the Bern”. To me, and I think to most people my age, it appeared unanimous that Trump would lose. However this was not the case. So what happened?
One issue with social media is that it’s prone to creating echo chambers: places where our ideas are reaffirmed by the consensus of our networks. Don’t like one particular friend’s libertarian view? Easy. Unfollow them. This ability to unfollow, paired with algorithms that curate content towards to your taste depending on what you like/react to, creates the walls that seal us into comfort zones with like-minded people. It traps us into a biased reality; a bubble that prevents us from ideas different than our own. Here are three simple ways to combat the bubble, and allow for the diffusion of ideas. No one’s saying it’s easy, but those who do are the guardians who keep the dialogue open during difficult times and with controversial ideas.
Actively like and react to diverse new sources and pages
Much of the power and control that users have over their social media is in curation. Your feed is curated according to the content you interact with. Simply being aware of this fact can make help make you more conscious about how and what appears in your feed. If you’re not seeing a lot of diversity in content, maybe try interacting with new stuff.
Watch out for confirmation bias
Does it always sound like you’re right? When you log onto your Facebook, does every status update and shared article resonate with your own beliefs? It’s easy to be drawn by the gravity of people who support your ideas, but to keep an honest perspective on the state of the world, you need to balance out what you expose yourself to.
A wise person once said to me “you like that author’s opinion? Then try reading their opposer’s book.”
The “unfollow” feature is meant to be used in times of dire offense. It’s understandable that a person be unfollowed because they are insulting or harassing. The problem is that in some subjects like politics and religion, people can resort to both of these behaviors. Because people tend to hold political and religious beliefs close to their hearts, opposing views often respond with even more hostility. Usually in these cases people unfollow not because of the idea itself but because of the primitive and often negative ways people try to convey them.
What makes unfollowing such a bad option is that it closes the dialogue between big contrasting ideas. If you unfollow a friend who disagrees with you, you’re basically choosing not to hear their side. Does doing this really make you the bigger person? When we choose to stop the flow of information, we are also choosing to remain within the bubble. Break free by practicing these three simple guidelines. Humans aren’t always the best at communicating, but at least keeping an open ear and an open heart leaves the door open to a more harmonious reality, one that actually reflects the ideas of the world, and the people who hold them.
How To Prepare Yourself For A Job In Tech
Technology has transformed the way we live our lives and is set to achieve what was thought impossible a decade ago.
In today’s digital world, every sector is somewhat dependent on technology. So, if you are interested in making a career in technology, there is no limit of options. It is estimated that more than 10 billion smart devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2020, which will create more job opportunities in the technological field.
If you are planning for a career in tech, you need to plan it meticulously and keep yourself updated from time to time. You need to identify the right opportunity and make yourself stand out from the competition. Most of the well-known tech companies have a complex recruitment process to hire the right candidate. Your resume should be unique to get noticed in the crowd. You should also work hard and have diverse skillset to excel in the interviews. Here are some strategic tips for you to make it big in the tech industry.
If you want to attain success in the tech field, keep your basics right. Most of the tech companies look for good technical expertise. Keep your knowledge bank up-to-date with all the technical know-hows and latest innovations. You need to understand and master technology to contribute successfully. In-depth technical knowledge can definitely put you ahead of your competitors.
Passionate about technology? – Share it
Recruiters and hiring managers look for talent who passionate about technology. If you research on a tech issue, share it on a blog or tweet it and get noticed. If you are particularly passionate about cloud computing, UI design, or data analytics, share it on your blog or LinkedIn page. Your passion and activities throw more light on your personality and increase your employability.
Get ready to face the interview anytime
Tech companies recruit talent quickly. They look for dynamic individuals for their companies who are agile and mobile. So, keep your resume handy and visit various career fairs or online job portals regularly to know more about the tech companies and their recruitment procedures. If your skills match with a position, keep yourself ready to face the interview anytime.
Do your homework
It is important to know about your prospective employer. Wikipedia or LinkedIn are great sources to gather all the information about companies. Show some interest about the company and its work culture in the interview and you may have a better chance to negotiate your salary.
The biggest hurdle to get a tech job is to clear the technical round of an interview. The hiring managers evaluate you on your ability to solve real-world problems quickly. They also try to judge your knowledge and skills. The technical round consists of solving puzzles, brain teasers, coding challenges, and group discussions. However, your communication skill will definitely be the deal breaker in the interview. Interviews are always a two-way street. Ask some thoughtful questions to the employer about your role and your future in the company. Your interviewers do not know why they should hire you. So, you need to run an extra mile to prove yourself.
After you bag a role of your dreams in the tech industry, do not stop learning about the latest trends and keep yourself updated. It can always keep you ahead of your competitors. A good work experience allows you to choose a better role in the industry.
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