Until March 2nd, the mobile world will meet again in Barcelona for the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC). Although numerous new smartphones are always presented at the most important industry meeting in Europe, the focus is above all on a wide variety of topics that offer a glimpse of a possible future.

For example, Google has fresh functions for Android and Wear OS in its luggage that are intended to support users in terms of productivity, among other things. Among other things, Samsung is showing the recently introduced smartphone flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra, while Motorola is presenting a prototype of a device with a rollable display. Meanwhile, Xiaomi is trumping with the Xiaomi 13 Pro smartphone. The Chinese company is also presenting its Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition, a new pair of augmented reality glasses.

As in previous years, the 5G mobile communications standard, which enables faster data transmission with smartphones than its predecessors, is a key topic in the industry. 5G is now much more widespread here than it was a few years ago. “If I look in Germany, we have a range of 95 percent,” explains Abdurazak Mudezir, head of technology at Deutsche Telekom since January, according to a report by the “Tagesschau”. But the MWC is not just about how to proceed with 5G – 6G is also an issue. The 5G successor should only be launched in a few years.

In addition, the industry wants to push the boundaries of reality. On the one hand, artificial intelligence (AI), which is already being used in many areas, will probably play an even more important role in the future. On the other hand, immersive technologies such as augmented or virtual reality should continue to advance. Recently, for example, the term metaverse (Eng. “Metaversum”) was repeatedly used in the media. Until – and if – a digital or virtual world can ever approach sci-fi visions like those from books and films like “Ready Player One”, many years will probably pass.

Another key topic is “FinTech”. According to the Deutsche Bundesbank, the term describes “companies that offer innovative, technology-based application systems related to the topic of ‘finance'”. Here, for example, the question arises as to how money and finances in the Metaversum area could be regulated in the future. Numerous users are at least already using their mobile phones, for example to pay via Google Pay or Apple Pay – or for online banking. According to a representative survey by the industry association Bitkom from 2022, 67 percent of those surveyed are already using their smartphone for online banking.