27/02/2016 Click


27/02/2016

Click visits the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to look at the latest from the world of smartphones.


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Transcript


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This week: how not to wear your headphones.

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Cow joins the Internet of Things.

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And people clap a plug.

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APPLAUSE.

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Every year, as spring comes knocking on the door, Barcelona opens its

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gates to the Mobile World Congress, a place where anyone

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with anything mobile comes to flaunt their mobile wares.

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Almost all the biggest mobile manufacturers,

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with one notable exception, Apple, launched their latest devices

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at this event, and this year is no different.

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And in fact, if there is one company that can rival Apple in terms

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of high-profile product launches these days, it's Samsung.

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This is the new Samsung phone, the S7 and S7 Edge.

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More of an improvement than a complete redesign on last

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year's model, the S6.

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But it does have some favourite features from older models too.

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All hail the return of the much-missed SD

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card expansion slot.

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More storage, anyone?

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And yes, Samsung is once again waterproof, it is true.

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Maybe the most notable new feature is the game recording mode,

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which means you can record as you play your favourite title,

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a gamecaster's dream.

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The AMOLED screen is power efficient enough to stay on all the time,

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in part at least, so you can keep your eye on the time

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or the date without killing the battery.

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The S7 Edge now curves all the way around, should you care,

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and it even has a ruler, a killer app, ladies and gentlemen -

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until someone invents, I don't know, a ruler!

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LG also unveiled its new flagship device, the G5.

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This is a modular phone where the bottom slides out to make

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space for other attachments, like this music player by Bang

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Olufsen, which can play back hi-fi audio.

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And a camera attachment, LG Cam Plus, essentially reshapes

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the device for a better camera grip, gives the phone extra juice and has

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a physical zoom dial.

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In fact there haven't been many other big phone announcements

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from the big players this year.

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Sony has launched a selection of mid-range devices.

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Huawei, now the third biggest manufacturer of mobile phones

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in the world, has no new phones on show but it has launched this

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new tablet-computer hybrid running Windows.

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Is that the surface pro?

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Is that the Surface Pro?

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I hear you ask.

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No, it's the Mate Book, pretty similar to Microsoft's

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tablet, admittedly.

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Although it is a bit nicer, a bit lighter and a bit slimmer.

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Yeah, so it seems the interest in new tablets and smartphones may

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have hit a lull.

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The devices are no longer flying off the shelves, and so the industry

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is trying to refocus its efforts on the next big thing.

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Which is what?

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I hear you ask.

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LJ Rich and Kate Russell are on the MWC show floor looking

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at some of the possibilities.

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Internet of Things is the buzz phrase flying around this place

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again this year.

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Does anyone actually know what it means yet?

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Excuse me, Internet of Things?

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I don't speak English.

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It's very great.

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It means everything you have and everything you see will be

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connected to a large network.

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Well, technology is going very fast and wearable devices,

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this is the future, I guess.

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Why would you connect your toothbrush?

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Because my dentist says it's going to be good for me.

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Well, it's connecting everything together,

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so that's from a personal and professional perspective,

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connecting everything digitally.

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Most specifically it's connecting devices, allowing them to talk back

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and forth and communicating back to humans about what they are doing.

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Everywhere you look there seems to be somebody somewhere claiming

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that their device is smarter than the next.

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The connected fridge horse is still being flogged with food

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ordering through a built-in tablet, though why this is better

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than using a regular tablet is still a mystery to me.

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When we get connected food containers it might well be able

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to tell you when the milk has gone off.

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You know, in case your nose and your taste buds suddenly stopped working.

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Talking of not working, this voice-activated personal robot

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might look cute, but today he's really not in the mood

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for listening.

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Play some Rolling Stones.

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Rolling Stone is a biweekly magazine that focuses on popular culture.

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On a more serious note, this kit demonstrates how

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the Internet of Things could help lifeguards monitor a beach.

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Motion sensors on buoys talk to 360 cameras on the light towers calling

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in an alert if they spot a swimmer in trouble.

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Clothes are also smartening up.

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We are used to seeing contactless payment symbols on our credit

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and debit cards these days but MasterCard are stuffing this

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technology into all kinds of wearables.

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I could pay with this dress, I could pay with a glove,

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I could pay with this ring.

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I could even pay with Michael's arm.

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CHUCKLES Thank you, Michael.

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Michael is actually wearing an NFC payment band that is

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measuring his heartbeat to authenticate the transaction.

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This will give us as consumers much more peace of mind,

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especially when it comes to making bigger purchases using NFC.

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The reason I can't wear it is as soon as I take it off it's

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not going to be valid any more and I won't be able to clear any

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transactions, so I'm afraid, Michael, you're coming with me.

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See ya.

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And for the selfie obsessed, your face could soon be your fortune

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as biometrics replaces the MasterCard secure code

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by authenticating a transaction with a selfie.

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Shoppers need to blink to prove to MasterCard they are alive.

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Who's a clever boy? Who's a clever boy?

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A better behaved robot, this beauty is to show off

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A better behaved robot, this cutie is here to show off

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a collar-mounted tracker for your pooch.

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Recording activity levels and sending an alert if it strays

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from a safe zone.

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And it might even keep an eye on his health when he in transit.

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And it might even keep an eye on his health when he's in transit.

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But while I'm looking after the dog LJ Rich is looking

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after some grapes.

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Come here and have a look at the bottom.

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We've actually got soil sensors.

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These are measuring temperature and humidity, and then further on up

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we've got another sensor here.

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This is measuring humidity and temperature in the air,

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as opposed to the soil.

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The whole thing is solar powered.

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The idea is that these grapes will be able to tell the farmer

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when it's time to pick them.

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The software, called Traco Vino, collects this sensor data alongside

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other things like sunlight intensity, and this gets sent

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to the farmer's mobile device.

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But it doesn't stop there.

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Monitoring crops like this helps farmers know what the

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plant's experienced.

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For example, plotting it against the weather.

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Once more data is gathered the software should be able

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to predict the quality and quantity of the produce.

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The system is currently on trial in four German vineyards.

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Agriculture is not the only thing to get the Internet

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of Things treatment.

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There are many 'udder' ways to connect.

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Fujitsu's connected dairy cows to their farmer who can find out

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more about cow health, therefore how much

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milk their herd is creating.

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Think software as a service connected to cows.

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'Legend-dairy'.

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Take this idea a step further and you get what amounts

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to a fitness monitor for cows.

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Senso Wave showed us some connected cows in a farm in northern Spain.

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I wonder if they charge up using a 'moo-SB port'.

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Real cows in real-time.

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This is a farm and we've got the three cowers here,

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and clicking on each cow brings up a picture with the information.

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That's where this cow has gone in the last day.

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That's amazing.

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It's because there is so much data already that farmers can more easily

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tell when a cow needs attention, disease can be caught early,

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which apart from obviously being better for the cow,

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can save the farmer money.

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This year's Mobile World Congress is full of cars.

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Well, I suppose they are mobile.

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This early demo shows intelligent sensors spotting road hazards

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and recognising landmarks to assist the driver.

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It can even translate foreign road signs.

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Handy, but I'd like to see how well it works in

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a dynamic real-world environment.

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And Volvo wants you to leave your keys behind,

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unlocking and driving the car with a smartphone app.

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This makes sharing keys quick and easy, and you can take them back

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just as easily with a swipe.

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Useful for car rentals and perhaps disciplining surly teenagers.

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Enjoy yourself.

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Thank you so much, brilliant.

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The good news is they have said I can take this baby

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for a test drive.

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So I've got the key on the app and...

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Oh!

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Oh no.

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The battery is flat.

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So we are seeing improvements in phone screens, phone processors

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and in phone cameras.

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One thing we have not seen much change in over the years

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is phone batteries.

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They are pretty much all still rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

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Apart from this one.

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Researchers at the Graphene Institute in the UK have taken this

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phone's battery out and replaced it with a super capacitor

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which is partly made of graphene.

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Graphene is this wonder material that everyone is talking

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about these days.

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It is really conductive, it's flexible, and it's

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really, really strong.

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And it turns out it can store a vast amount of energy too and absorb that

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energy really quickly.

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A few seconds of juice from the mains can keep this

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phone going for minutes.

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The vision is that one day our mobile devices could have

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graphene-based batteries, which not only charge super quickly

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but also last a lot longer too.

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Here at Mobile World Congress graphene is making an appearance.

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Like this graphene-coated film that could be used for

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industrial packaging.

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There is a small area here dedicated to these kinds of technologies.

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How about this to feed our ever-hungry mobile phones?

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A graphene-powered charger pack.

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This will recharge in five minutes.

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It doesn't mean you can charge your phone in five minutes,

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but you can then plug your phone into it on the go.

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This is the first prototype and will only charge a large phone

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like this by about a third.

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Next year they hope to have the third prototype

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out which will be able to fully charge it.

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Here's the secret.

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Inside the battery pack is layers, about 25 layers of

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graphene ink-coated oil.

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graphene ink-coated foil.

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That allows this battery pack to charge super fast.

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You can then pop it in your bag and take it with you.

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Another possible solution is a hydrogen fuel cell battery.

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With something this size, think of it like a mini power

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station using hydrogen to make power.

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So it's not refillable or rechargeable, you would buy

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replacement batteries like this and this could last up to a week

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alongside your typical lithium-ion battery in here.

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The great thing about these is it could be powered completely off

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the grid and it's a green energy source.

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Another possibility for your mobile phone power management,

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a battery that will actually charge inside the phone

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in under 15 minutes.

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The manufacturers can't tell us what the material

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is inside the phone at the moment.

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It's all super-secret, and it's not out just yet.

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But when it is they say it's going to be the safest and fastest

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way of charging your phone in all of the world.

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SPEAKS SPANISH.

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Mobile World Congress, the only place in the world

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where there is a press scrum for a phone charging.

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But wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to charge your

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phone quite so often?

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This handset has a photovoltaic layer in the screen,

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which feeds a trickle charge from solar power into the battery.

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This is the photovoltaic crystal layer that is embedded

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in that phone.

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And as you can see it's completely transparent so it isn't

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going to interfere with your view.

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I don't know about you, though, that I keep my smartphone

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I don't know about you, though, but I keep my smartphone

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in my pocket or my bag, where there isn't an

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awful lot of sunshine.

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So perhaps a better place for this would be in a smart watch

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like this one.

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As you can see, come September, this material is going to be made

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for smart watches just like this.

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5G, the fifth generation of mobile connectivity promises to be fast.

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New estimates say it will be here in 2018 rather than 2020.

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Easy access to all that tasty bandwidth on the move will change

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how we do everything.

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So how about getting up close and personal with your favourite pop

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in virtual reality.

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Could this be the future of broadcasting?

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What I'm wearing here is a simple GoPro camera that could be connected

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to 5G that would allow for real-time streaming.

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Yes, you could be walking around this trade show.

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More bandwidth can mean more connections at once,

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opening up new ways to provide mobile access.

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For example, a drone like this could float a 5G signal over

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a massive ten kilometre radius for around two hours.

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It could potentially revolutionise communications in areas where mobile

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signal is weak, for example after a natural disaster

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or in a temporary setup.

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5G also means lower latency, that is it will take less time

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for instructions to go from a human to a machine and back again.

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With me is Cristian from Ericsson Research,

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who has added a dimension

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to flying a drone, where you can actually feel it.

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Yes, indeed I have.

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Inspecting infrastructure such as wind turbines, power lines,

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agriculture and stuff like that is actually something

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that is estimated to become a pretty big business in the coming years.

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We think that doing this over 5G could actually benefit

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from all the great stuff we are thinking about developing

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as technologies right now.

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Ultralow latency, we are talking about high-resolution video,

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we are talking about Internet of Things, and cloud solutions.

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A virtual barrier where the quadcopter should not be

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is programmed into the system.

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If a quadcopter gets too close to, in this case the wind turbine

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blades, the programme sends a signal to the controller making it harder

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to move in that direction.

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The remote human operator finds it more difficult to push the drone

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into the structure because they feel pressure as a warning.

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Is this controlling the forward and backward and this is controlling

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up and down?

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Yes. And you have sideways as well.

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It's called telehaptics and it's surprisingly intuitive and responds

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to a very light touch.

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When I try to fly too close I feel the controller pushing back,

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giving the impression of a force field.

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Aligning the quadcopter roughly with the blade with two stripes

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unlocks a bonus mode.

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I feel a slight kick back and the drone is now

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following the turbine by itself.

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It can now inspect the structure, or take pictures and readings,

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all without a human putting themselves in danger.

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What we are doing here is simulating what 5G could actually be about.

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This is no fantasy.

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All of these things we are talking about are actually in the pipes.

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If we are ever going to start seeing flexible devices then some of these

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slots are going to have to start disappearing.

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There is already rumours that Apple are thinking about dropping

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the headphone jack slot in their upcoming models.

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One of the other things that is likely to go

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is the Sim card slot.

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As you can see here this device actually replaces the Sim card

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with a case and instead of having a Sim card inside the phone

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what you end up with is a virtual Sim card that lives on the cloud.

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The case allows the phone to talk to the cloud,

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which means eventually with a virtual Sim you could end up

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completely changing your service contract provider every five minutes

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if you wanted to.

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And in fact, as he walked across the countryside you could hop

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from one service provider to another depending on who has got

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the better connection.

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Cheaper roaming? Yes, please.

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But a virtual Sim also has huge implications for Internet of Things,

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as Jean-Christophe Tisseuil from GSMA explained when we caught

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up at the show.

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So, today products are getting smaller.

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There are a lot of companions coming.

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You can have dog collars, a watch, Fitbits, whatever.

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Those products want to be connected independently from the phone

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to the network.

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So today if you take the Sim and the reader that you put

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in the device to put the Sim, this is going to be reduced in size

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by 90% and more.

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Meaning that you can use this extra space for a battery, for example.

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So, in a watch the size for a battery matters

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because if you need to reload your watch two or three times a day

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because the space is taken by the physical Sim and its reader

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if doesn't work for the user.

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it doesn't work for the user.

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Does it mean that users can switch providers more easily without having

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to wait for another card to be delivered?

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In the first studies we have done it is just to download one profile.

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In future releases of the specification we will do,

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you will be able to have multiple profiles in your Sim indeed.

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However, you will be, as a user, in charge of using one operator

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at a time.

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I can imagine a lot of the people here at this event

0:18:470:18:50

are travelling a lot.

0:18:500:18:52

Does that mean that their Sim could travel with them and change

0:18:520:18:54

location with them in the same way?

0:18:540:18:57

We call that plastic roaming, meaning that you play with cards.

0:18:570:19:00

You can probably do the same thing with this new technology.

0:19:000:19:03

Except that you will download another subscription.

0:19:030:19:05

I arrive in India, for example, and at the airport

0:19:050:19:07

I can buy a Sim card.

0:19:070:19:10

I will buy a subscription and this subscription will be downloaded

0:19:100:19:13

to my device.

0:19:130:19:14

With this ability to give more devices their own Sim card,

0:19:140:19:18

what kind of benefits will everyday people experience?

0:19:180:19:21

Let's take the watch as an example.

0:19:210:19:26

If I'm going today running with my watch I need

0:19:260:19:29

to carry my phone because the connection to the cellular

0:19:290:19:31

network is over Bluetooth with my device in my pocket.

0:19:310:19:34

Tomorrow with the Samsung Gear S2, for example, I will be able to go

0:19:340:19:40

out, run without carrying my iPhone or my Samsung S7, or whatever device

0:19:400:19:43

I have and independently connect to the network my watch,

0:19:430:19:47

meaning that I can make calls, access to my e-mails.

0:19:470:19:52

Going running maybe not, but I will have this independence

0:19:520:19:54

of the connectivity without the main device.

0:19:540:19:56

There are some independent providers of virtual Sim solutions.

0:19:560:20:06

They're talking about this like roaming technology.

0:20:060:20:08

How is that going to fit with what you guys are doing and how

0:20:080:20:11

are the operators going to respond to that?

0:20:110:20:13

It will change things. It will go slow.

0:20:130:20:15

I think it will take time.

0:20:150:20:19

It's not like the Sim card is going to disappear overnight,

0:20:190:20:22

it's going to take a long time.

0:20:220:20:24

But it's the first bricks in the wall.

0:20:240:20:27

Another interesting find, these are no ordinary headphones.

0:20:270:20:30

Swivel the top down and you have a retinal imaging

0:20:300:20:35

display, which beams low powered LEDs off 2 million microscopic

0:20:350:20:38

mirrors shaping the light into an image inside your eye.

0:20:380:20:41

The picture is pretty good, but they aren't half heavy

0:20:410:20:44

on your nose.

0:20:440:20:45

Wow, that's really kind of cool.

0:20:450:20:50

It feels like you have a big screen in front of you, and I was kind

0:20:500:20:53

of surprised to find you sitting there.

0:20:530:20:55

But I'm not the only one wearing goggles,

0:20:550:20:57

I promise you.

0:20:570:20:58

This place is full of them.

0:20:580:20:59

VR bringing the wow factor everywhere you look.

0:20:590:21:01

From this hard-core VR makers, HTC revealed the final consumer

0:21:010:21:04

version of its headset.

0:21:040:21:06

So we looked at the Vibe back at CES and we already

0:21:060:21:15

So we looked at the Vive back at CES and we already

0:21:150:21:18

have the forward facing camera.

0:21:180:21:19

But now HTC have added the ability to send and receive text messages

0:21:190:21:22

whilst you are still in the virtual reality environment.

0:21:220:21:24

And don't worry, if you want them to go away because you're busy

0:21:240:21:27

playing games there is a standard message for that.

0:21:270:21:29

Now, the big news here at Mobile World Congress is that HTC

0:21:290:21:32

have announced they are going to be shipping these in April.

0:21:320:21:35

Retail price, $800.

0:21:350:21:36

Hairdressing appointments are extra, though.

0:21:360:21:40

One of the problems with VR is it's traditionally quite

0:21:440:21:46

a lonely experience.

0:21:460:21:48

Well, not any more.

0:21:480:21:50

Welcome along the starship.

0:21:500:21:53

Were about to go to Mars.

0:21:530:21:56

Before we do we are going to do some training so that you are accustomed

0:21:560:22:00

to the instruments.

0:22:000:22:01

LJ?

0:22:010:22:02

Yes? Are you going to be OK?

0:22:020:22:03

Copy, Gold Leader.

0:22:030:22:09

You've now been promoted to lieutenant.

0:22:090:22:11

CHUCKLES.

0:22:110:22:13

This is a space landing game where you read

0:22:130:22:15

instructions out loud.

0:22:150:22:16

Some of them might be for you, some for the other players.

0:22:160:22:19

Change escape system to one.

0:22:190:22:20

We interact together to land our rover.

0:22:200:22:22

Realign satellite uplink.

0:22:220:22:26

Looking at each panel activates it and moving the controllers in front

0:22:260:22:29

of me changes the value.

0:22:290:22:32

It's a bit like the collaborative gaming app Space Team.

0:22:320:22:35

Change printer cartridge.

0:22:350:22:39

OK, that last one was a joke.

0:22:390:22:41

This is the first demo that I've played with in VR that actually

0:22:410:22:44

is sharing the space with other people.

0:22:440:22:46

You can see them.

0:22:460:22:47

And I can see this becoming quite a thing.

0:22:470:22:49

I've always said that VR is lonely, not any more.

0:22:490:22:53

That's pretty much it

0:22:530:22:54

Congress.

0:22:540:22:57

for our coverage of the Mobile World Congress.

0:22:570:22:59

But just on that thought of virtual reality, you may have noticed

0:22:590:23:02

there is not that much content available for your VR goggles

0:23:020:23:05

at the moment.

0:23:050:23:06

This could be a solution.

0:23:060:23:07

Samsung has just announced the Gear 360 which is a 360 camera,

0:23:070:23:11

so you can record your surroundings and then watch it back

0:23:110:23:14

on some VR goggles.

0:23:140:23:17

It's two lenses, one pointing that way, one pointing that way.

0:23:170:23:19

They are both really fish-eye lenses, and so together they give

0:23:190:23:22

you a 360 picture, which you can see being streamed live over Wi-Fi

0:23:220:23:25

direct to this S7 Edge here.

0:23:250:23:27

This is one of a few 360 cameras around.

0:23:270:23:32

Another is LG's newly announced 360 Cam, which records video

0:23:320:23:34

and stitches it into a 360 sphere in the camera.

0:23:340:23:40

Users of Samsung's Gear 360 will have to transfer the recording

0:23:400:23:42

to the phone first.

0:23:420:23:48

That's what's doing the stitching of Talia filming some 360 footage

0:23:480:23:51

of Talia filming some 360 footage.

0:23:510:24:01

Wow, that was all rather meta wasn't it?

0:24:020:24:04

And who knows, this may be the thing that makes VR actually a thing.

0:24:040:24:08

Who knows, we'll have to see.

0:24:080:24:09

That's it from us, though. More on Twitter as usual @BBCClick.

0:24:090:24:12

And we'll see you soon.

0:24:120:24:20

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