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MWC Barcelona 2019: the quality question

5G again dominated the headlines at MWC Barcelona for good reason – the race between the big vendors to be first has given way to the race to be best. Sam Fenwick has the details

With 5G networks in the early stages of roll-out (with the possible exception of South Korea), user equipment not yet in consumers’ hands and the elements that are aimed at supporting vertical industries undergoing standardisation in 3GPP Release 16, this year’s Mobile World Congress Barcelona was always going to feel ever so slightly anticlimactic.

That said, it was pleasing to see that after such collective effort across the industry, 5G is a tangible reality, as most graphically demonstrated by the launch of the first 5G smartphones, including Huawei’s Mate X and Samsung’s S10 5G.

There was also a great deal of innovation on show. For instance, cloud-gaming platforms were present on several stands and I got to see a display on the Huawei stand that uses eye-tracking technology to give the illusion of 3D objects without the need for tinted glasses or a VR helmet.

Two demos stuck out. The first was a live remote driving demo on Ericsson's stand, where it was possible to drive one of Einride’s T-Pod cabless vehicles in Sweden. The intention is for fleets of these vehicles to operate autonomously, with the initial use-case being transporting goods between warehouses.

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