Notes on user experience from Mobile World Congress 2011

Notes on user experience from Mobile World Congress 2011

Marek Pawlowski, founder, MEXMobile World Congress revealed an industry finally accepting influence has shifted from those making network technology to those making the experiences delivered via that technology. However, there was little evidence of new thinking about what those experiences might look like in the future. Connecting the industry’s inventive engine of technological development to the reality of customers’ lives remains an elusive skill. My research notes below are by no means a comprehensive guide to the event, but instead explore a few areas where I noticed progress that may lead to significant change.

My thanks to those who attended the MEX dinner in Barcelona. The conversations around the table stood out as by far the most interesting I enjoyed all week.

> A new aspect ratio for tablets

HTC Flyer tablet announced at Mobile World Congress 2011

The LG Optimus Pad and HTC Flyer announced at Mobile World Congress 2011 are distinct from the iPad in offering a more elongated form factor, roughly approximating a 16:9 screen ratio. This shape gives two clear modes. Horizontally, it is used two-handed, grasped firmly on either side. Alternatively, it may be rested on a surface. [Read full article…]

> The reality of glassless 3D

LG Optimus 3D with glassless 3D display

LG’s 3D device was the most frequently cited answer to that obligatory Mobile World Congress question: “Have you seen anything interesting?” Its real impact over the long term may be limited, but it was the most tangible expression of ‘new technology’ at an industry event still enjoying a love affair with the technical, often at [Read full article…]

> Video: Haptics turn mobile phone into virtual guitar

Video: Haptics turn mobile phone into virtual guitar

Immersion, a MEX alumnus and sponsor, was launching the latest version of its haptics platform at Mobile World Congress: Motiv. The new platform makes it much easier for handset manufacturers to add haptics to Android devices by pre-integrating a palette of haptic effects with every interface action on the device. It can also be used [Read full article…]

> Video: Cutting edge mobile user experience from Japan

Video: Cutting edge mobile user experience from Japan

The Toshiba REGZA T01 C from NTT DoCoMo has a 12.2 megapixel camera, comes in a range of coloured metallic shells and boasts a truly stunning display. It is also waterproof. A testament to Japan as the place where the boundaries of mobile device design are pushed to the limits. [Read full article…]

> Video: Expressions of sustainable experience

Video: Expressions of sustainable experience

Today there are relatively few ways in which customers can express their preference for a sustainable life when using a mobile device. As an industry, mobile has lagged behind a wide range of others, including automotive, housing, travel, food and fashion, in offering product experiences which enable customers to feel they are supporting sustainable principles. [Read full article…]

> Search, discovery…action?

The role of search providers has to-date been limited to discovery. A user searches for a particular term and the engine returns a selection of results. If the user selects one of these results, or better still a paid advertisement, the engine considers it has achieved its mission: discovery. A discussion with Ran Mokady, who [Read full article…]

> Samsung’s dominant display

With the rise of the slate as the form factor of choice, touchscreens have become a proportionally larger part of the user experience. The whole front face of devices is taken up with the screen and it determines the experience of text input, display and the main function buttons, all of which have been abstracted [Read full article…]

> The foundations of multi-platform content experiences

Making media content accessible from a range of devices is a simple and compelling. It is likely to be the first experience of a multi-platform service for many consumers, either using a mobile device to control content on their home TV or reversing the process to access home entertainment content through their mobile handset. However, [Read full article…]

> 3D technology arrives, experiences remain elusive

LG’s new Android device with a glassless 3D display and stereoscopic 3D camera is the most obvious and tangible sign of technological advancement in handset portfolios at MWC. However, it is very much a technical innovation and is yet to enable any genuinely new 3D experiences. Qualcomm is also showing an impressive technical demo, using [Read full article…]

> Multi-platform thinking at the heart of Motorola’s strategy

The number of services experienced across multiple digital touch points is growing rapidly. Today many of them are essentially replication engines, enabling the same pieces of content to be accessed in a more or less optimised format on a range of devices. Those engaged in the design of these experiences will soon find it evolves [Read full article…]

> Dual SIM entering mainstream, hinting at disruptive progress

ViewSonic 350 dual SIM Android handset

The rise of dual SIM devices has been widely reported, but predominantly with a focus on emerging economies. I see that trend expanding into additional markets. There are several drivers for multi-SIM usage universal across all markets: Obtaining better rates for international, local and data usage. Separating work and personal calls. Cross-border usage, where business [Read full article…]

> Expanding the canvas in new directions

A divergence is occurring in user interface canvases. I’ll try to illustrate with a couple of very rough digital sketches. On the one hand, Apple’s iOS offers panels of icons, where everything is kept within the pixel dimensions of a single screen. The user simply scrolls left or right to find more icons and every [Read full article…]

> Thinking beyond the slate

There are signs at MWC of form factor innovation extending beyond generic slates. Sony Ericsson’s Play device is perhaps the boldest new design on display from a major handset manufacturer and is in the vanguard of this trend. It holds the possibility of a genuinely new mobile experience, extending across both software and hardware. Play [Read full article…]

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