Networking creates devices buzz at mobile fair

Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:52am EST
 
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By Paul Sandle

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Networks, whether superfast mobile broadband, wifi or a combination of both, are helping add pizzazz to new mobile products as the rapid evolution in smartphone and tablet design slows to a trickle.

The world's fastest smartphone, new "phablets" - sized between a phone and tablet - and small tablets optimized to watch video and run multiple applications on 4G mobile networks were making the biggest splash at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Networks are also enabling millions of other devices, from coffee makers to bicycles and cars to homes, to become "smart".

Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc for instance demonstrated a connected home in which a smartphonecoffee can be used to start a coffer maker and speakers burst into sound when you enter the room, thanks to the handset in your pocket.

Such innovations are made possible by AllJoyn, an open-source software framework compatible with mobile operating systems Android, Windows and iOs, that allows devices to speak to each other directly without needing a separate server.

"We are making the Internet of everything a seamless blend of the physical and the digital world," said Brian Spencer, engineer at Qualcomm Innovation Center.

U.S. network operator AT&T Inc, meanwhile, is adding your home and your car to your smartphone contacts.

Its Digital Life product allows a user to automate and monitor his or her home remotely, and it has replaced Verizon Communications Inc as mobile partner for General Motors Co's OnStar connected car service.   Continued...

 
A visitor looks at the new Sony Xperia Z phone and tablet through a glass window during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 25, 2013. The GSMA Mobile World Congress, representing the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, takes place from February 25 to 28 in Barcelona.   REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino