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The Buzz from Barcelona – Mobile World Congress 2016 so far…

100,000 people are expected to visit MWC over the next week. The hype has been building for weeks and it’s the perfect time for the big names to launch their new products, for start-ups to showcase what they’re about, and for showcasing all the latest advances in technology to reveal what we can expect over the coming year.

Sunday saw the eagerly anticipated new smartphone launches with Samsung’s flagships – Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge, Sony’s flagship smartphones – Xperia X and XA as well as the Asia-only X Performance.Samsung Galaxy S7LG launched the G5 smartphone together with a host of ‘Friends’ that plug into the phone describing it as an “adventure theme park in your pocket.”

ZTE announced its mid-range phones – Blade V7 & V7 Lite with attractive metal design as well as some decent specs for the mid-range market.

In line with their commitment to expand into other areas of technology, Samsung have also launched their Gear 360 VR camera which films and takes photos in 360 degrees.

Monday saw partnerships galore with Honda and Visa working together to make cars into mobile payment platforms. The concept design tells you when you’re low on fuel, navigates you to the nearest fuel station and pays for fuel via the dashboard. Paypal and Vodfone teamed up to support NFC payment technology. Ericsson and AT&T paired up to show off their Connected Water initiative in Atlanta as a way of constantly monitoring water quality.

In fact, improvements for the benefit of society was the general theme of most of Monday’s keynote speeches. Mark Zuckerberg talked about his plans to connect the unconnected with Free Basics, despite the recent setback in India.

Vodafone’s CEO discussed the ‘Gigabit Society’ – very high speed, low latency and high coverage – creating a more sustainable and fair society for all. AT&T and Ericsson’s partnership goes further than clean water, they discussed how their partnership will deliver the technology to boost the Internet of Things to make vast improvements to society including everything from smart homes to healthcare.

We also saw some more exciting product launches on Monday. Sony launched ‘Xperia Ear’ – the in-ear “smartphone” that provides useful information such as your schedule, weather and latest news. It also responds to voice commands enabling you to make calls, search the internet, dictate a message and navigate to a certain location.Xperia EarThought smart glasses were dead? Epson’s BT-300 is bringing them back, opening it up to Android and smart glass specific app development.

Huawei launched MateBook – a 2-in-1 device combining the power and productivity of a laptop with the mobility of a smartphone, competing with the likes of the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface.

Nokia reassured us of their future progress following the swift acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

FlexEnable demonstrated their prototype flexible OLCD screen that wraps around the user’s wrist. Promising even more flexibility in their screens with OLED technology not far behind.FlexEnableAll this excitement and we’re only two days in to MWC. What can we expect for the rest of the week? Which new product is top of your shopping list?