Mobile Security

Key trends from Mobile World Congress #MWC18

Jas Dhaliwal, 7 March 2018

Learn the latest about smartphones, 5G, IoT, and, of course, security.

This year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) was dominated by news from a handful of smartphone manufacturers:

  • Samsung announced the launch of their latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9 and S9+.
  • Google unveiled new Android Go devices.
  • Nokia parent company HMD Global announced no less than five new phones. While three of them — Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 6 — are Android One devices, the Nokia 1 was introduced as Nokia's first Android Oreo Go smartphone. Even more exciting, however, was the announcement of a reworked 4G version of the company's iconic phone, Nokia 8110. This phone will certainly please nostalgic Nokia fans.  

Smartphone trends

A number of key trends emerged from this year’s Congress. Along with announcing their new flagship smartphones, manufacturers also revealed that phones across the board are launching with thinner glass bezel displays, which are being described as “full-screen,” “all-screen,” or “infinity” displays.

In recent years, Apple has courted criticism for removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from their latest smartphones. Nevertheless, at this year’s MWC, Sony and Nokia both announced their flagship devices would not have headphone jacks. With improvements made to Bluetooth technologies, it is understood that new and improved audio codecs will cover the loss of the headphone jack. Along with thinner bezel displays, this removal of the headphone jack will now be the norm on flagship smartphones from all the major vendors.

Reaching new speeds with 5G

There was a plethora of news around 5G technology from all corners of the Congress, since an early version of the spec was approved late last year and a trial was conducted at the PyeongChang Olympic games. Every major telecommunications company presented their own 5G demos on a variety of devices, ranging from drones to phones to smart cars to VR headsets. But what’s fueling this need of 5G?

Data released by GSMA Intelligence at MWC shows that in 2017, the telecom industry surpassed 5 billion people connected to mobile services. They estimate that by 2025, the number of unique mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion, equivalent to 71% of the world’s population. This rising number has upped the demand for faster data connectivity with low latency.

GSMA predicts that future growth will be driven by developing countries, particularly India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The more significant growth opportunity will lie in mobile internet — a market that will gain 1.75 billion new users over the next eight years, reaching a milestone in 2025 of 5 billion mobile internet users, 61% of the world’s population. This year’s MWC was firmly focused on building the next generation of connectivity with 5G services.

The growing internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) — everyday objects connected to the web — also featured heavily at this year’s Congress. A number of vendors followed a “Smart City” theme, where commercial demos showed IoT examples in automotive, manufacturing, smart agriculture, and healthcare scenarios.

For instance, today’s cars are getting smarter with built-in safety sensors, but drivers still face the challenge of finding parking spots. In the future, drivers will be able to shift into “smart car park,” which activates smart parking sensors to locate empty parking spaces.

The future of security

Whether it is 5G or the many IoT sensors and web-connected devices that bridge these technologies together, network providers and security companies will need to work together to ensure tomorrow’s hyper-connected consumers will be protected against a new generation of threats.

To meet this challenge, Avast is launching Avast Smart Home Security later this year. This is a new easy-to-use service designed to learn the typical usage patterns of the IoT devices in your home. Then, using machine learning and AI, the service will detect any behavioral anomalies among your devices, which could indicate privacy violations, botnet attacks, and malware threats. As we move forward into an increasingly technological world, you can rely on Avast to stay atop the latest trends and to use the latest technology to keep your digital life safe and secure.