SPAIN: The big conclave is starting and among other spotlights; Virtual Reality, 360 degree cameras and cool projectors have started stirring up some much-expected buzz at the Mobile World Congress 2016.
The first attention bytes have understandably gone to Samsung, HTC, Facebook, LG etc as they pull out their challengers this year, and as that happens, it seems that VR has come quite the blue-eyed boy so far.
Analysts have unleashed their tool-boxes too and sliced many announcements from these big cheese.
Forrester's Julie Ask notes, “Samsung’s VR experience felt a little like Wi-Fi in the early days. More telling was the visible lift in energy in the room when Mark Zuckerberg got on stage.”
Adding how Mark offered an incredibly compelling vision of where VR will take social media, Ask contends "The combination of social media and communication is the killer app. One begins to see the need -- or even a dependency -- for Samsung to work within a broader ecosystem of service providers to sell hardware in the long term.”
"Will Samsung’s Virtual Reality offering consumer benefits for the masses? The short answer is: no. In 2016, reach for VR platforms will remain more than limited,” added Thomas Husson from Forrester too.
Anshul Gupta Research Director, Gartner dissected Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge opining that Samsung is at a juncture where it needed a device which can turn around its fate of slowing smartphone sales. "Its new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are much better and a refined version of its previous version. There are some really nice enhancements like camera, dual SIM/ expandable memory. However with similar look & feel and changes mostly inside it will be difficult to draw customer to retail for replacement. In this highly competitive and tough economic environment, customer expect more innovation per extra dollar spent. Trick is in emphasizing the benefits of enhancement to end users.”
Ask felt though that with giving away $200 of gaming credits and Oculus headsets, Samsung feels like a company that lacks confidence these phones will sell.
LG and other players gain a different footing in such circumstances.
"LG G5's 'always-on' display feature provides easy and quick access to information during micro mobile moments -- the next battleground for consumer attention. With its modular design, LG’s new flagship smartphone is a smart attempt to challenge its eternal Korean rival,” Husson observed.
He reckons that the LG 360 VR headset is one way to leverage the hype around Virtual Reality, and to further the emergence of self-created content. "But don't expect VR content to be broadly available this year, with the exception of a small niche of gamers," He cautions.
As to 5G, Hudson does not see any impact whatsoever for consumers in the next five years, “This is for now a standard battle. The history of 3G and 4G networks tells us it will take years before we reach any critical mass after commercial launches at the end of this decade. End of story."
He is sceptical whether Sony's new smartphones will help the company in its attempt to stop losing market share. "The only interesting bit was the new earbud device. Sony's Xperia Ear offers a glimpse into the future when consumers will be able to access virtual assistants powered by Artificial Intelligence," Husson explains. “Expect the same play from Apple following Beats' acquisition. That said, Sony won't be able to leverage this innovation because it lacks differentiation in the Android world.”