Mobile World Congress (MWC) is wrapping up in Barcelona, which means there's been an absolute truckload of news in the world of mobile tech. And even though MWC typically isn't a major launch event for Windows devices – CES wears that crown – this year's show was a very different story.
Whether you've been tuned out of the tech world all week, or just want to recap some of the most notable announcements, here's a rundown of some of the biggest pieces of news to come out of MWC 2019.
Microsoft's HoloLens 2
We knew something big was in the cards when Microsoft revealed that it would host a keynote at MWC 2019, and the company delivered with the much-anticipated second iteration of its augmented reality (AR) headset, HoloLens 2.
HoloLens 2 takes everything that was revolutionary about the original and ratchets it up a notch. The headset has been redesigned to make it more comfortable to wear, adding more padding and making adjustments to more evenly distribute its weight. The visor can also now flip up and down, which should make wearing the headset a much better experience for HoloLens 2's target users: first-line workers.
On the inside, the HoloLens is powered by a Snapdragon 850 chip, replacing the Intel Atom processor found in the first HoloLens, Microsoft has also added eye tracking, which opens HoloLens 2 up to a whole new mode of interaction. When combined with the device's more granular hand tracking and an increased field of view, interacting with holographic models present on the screen should be much more comfortable.
HoloLens 2 is still very much a product targeted at enterprise scenarios, ranging from product design to manufacturing, but it's impressive for some of the advancements Microsoft has made in the few years since the first HoloLens was introduced.
For more, check out our hands-on with HoloLens 2 from the show floor.
Firefox and Unreal Engine 4 come to HoloLens 2
While HoloLens 2 may not be targeted at the consumer market, there were a couple of promising signs of what the future may hold for Microsoft's AR strategy at MWC 2019.
First, Mozilla announced that its Firefox Reality browser is coming to HoloLens 2 later this year. Firefox Reality first made its debut in 2018 as Mozilla's bid for a VR browser. For HoloLens 2, Mozilla says that it's working closely with Microsoft to "ensure that the immersive web works for all users, regardless of which device they are on."
In addition to the Firefox news, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney took the stage to reveal that Unreal Engine 4 support is coming to HoloLens as well. Sweeney was quick to add that Epic doesn't currently have any games in the works for HoloLens 2, but Unreal Engine 4 will be used to create 3D objects in AR apps. Still, Sweeney pledged that "in the years to come, Epic will support HoloLens in all of our endeavors."
Both announcements reflect a broader push by Microsoft with HoloLens 2 to make it an open platform, and Mozilla and Epic are some of the first major names to take part in that vision.
Lenovo and Huawei bring some laptop love – and more
It's true that MWC typically isn't a big show for laptops, but both Huawei and Lenovo were ready to shake things up this year.
For Huawei, the company introduced a new and improved MateBook X Pro and MateBook 14. Both laptops offer a premium feel, with the MateBook X Pro, in particular, pulling off some cool NFC tricks to instantly transfer files between your phone and laptop.
Lenovo, meanwhile, brought a whole barrel of PCs to the show floor. For the business crowd, the company's latest ThinkPad lineup took center stage, while a refreshed IdeaPad range introduced new budget options for the rest of us.
Also tagging along was the new Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO A340, an all-in-one (AIO) PC with a design that's definitely unique. And if you find yourself in need of a portable display while you're on the go, the company debuted the ThinkVision M14, a fairly affordable USB-C display that can be toted around.
Folding phones, Samsung flagships, and much more
While HoloLens 2 alone may have been big enough to make MWC 2019 a satisfying show for Microsoft fans, there's even more to catch up on in the phone world. Our pals over at Android Central have all of the coverage you could ask for. Whether you're interested in Samsung and Huawei's folding phones or the latest flagships from Samsung and LG, there's plenty to check out.
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