Mobile World Congress 2015 – Photography Featured Prominently in New Smartphones

Carrie Sylvester
Mar 6, 2015

The 2015 Mobile World Congress was held the first week of March in Barcelona Spain. The show is hosted by The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) which is an association of mobile operators and related companies devoted to supporting the standardization, deployment and promotion of the GSM mobile telephone system. During this trade event there were many new products, services, and accessories introduced with a mobile play (phones, tablets, etc.) and included in those introductions were many new smartphone products. This blog focusses on the smartphones that featured photography prominently.

Lenovo VIBE Shot & A7000

Lenovo VIBE Shot

Although Lenovo isn’t as well known in the U.S. for smartphones as they are their laptops, they did make a splash at this year’s MWC with two new smartphones, the VIBE Shot and A7000. The VIBE Shot is a 5-inch handset that is touted as Lenovo’s first camera smartphone crossover running the Android OS. It boasts a 16 MP rear facing camera that features a six-piece modular lens, optical image stabilization, and a 16:9 capture format image sensor for improved photo results in dark settings or at night. It’s not all about the rear facing camera, there is also an 8 MP front facing camera. Where most smartphone cameras use a traditional LED flash, the VIBE Shot uses a tricolor LED flash for better color balance in in mixed light situations. The VIBE Shot features infrared focus which is said to be twice as fast as normal autofocus systems.

Lenovo A7000

Unlike most Android devices the VIBE Shot has a dedicated physical shutter button and doesn’t rely on touching the screen to take a photo. In terms of photo controls the phone has both Smart preset settings as well as advanced Pro settings which can be toggled between by switching a button on the handset. The VIBE Shot offers 32 GB of storage with a microSD option to extend the storage capacity up to 128 GB and features dual SIM capabilities. The Lenovo VIBE Shot will be available in June for $349.

The A7000 smartphone is an Android-based, has a 5.5-inch HD display, and supports Dual SIM capabilities. In terms of cameras the A7000 has an 8 MP auto-focus rear camera with an LED flash and a 5 MP fixed-focus front facing camera. The Lenovo A7000 will be available in March for $169.

Microsoft Lumia 640 & 640 XL

Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL (Photo credit The Verge)

Microsoft introduced the Windows-based Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL smartphones. Both phones will be running Windows 8.1 but will be upgradeable to Windows 10, which should be available later this year.The Lumia 640 has 5-inch display and the display on the Lumia 640 XL is 5.7 inches. The Lumia 640 has an 8MP camera and the 640 XL has a higher resolution, 13 MP, camera with ZEISS optics. Both smartphones feature LED flash, a front-facing camera and Lumia Camera software. Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL come with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, 1TB of OneDrive storage, and 60 free minutes of Skype Unlimited Worldwide calling per month.The Lumia 640 XL will be available worldwide in March and the Lumia 640 will be available in April and will be available in single-SIM and dual-SIM LTE and dual-SIM 3G versions.

Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Samsung introduced the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge Android-based smartphones. The Galaxy S6 Edge, features a curved display on both sides and the display is made from Gorilla Glass. Both smartphones have a 16 MP rear facing and a 5 MP front-facing cameras. The cameras features smart optical image stabilization (OIS) and IR detect white balance and are said to be good in low-light conditions. The camera uses Quick Launch technology that allows a user to engage the camera by double clicking the Home key button. The phones are equipped with embedded WPC and PMA certified wireless charging technology. The devices work with any wireless pad available in the market that supports WPC and PMA standards. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge will be available globally in April with 32/64/128GB storage options available.

InfoTrends Opinion

Although there were some interesting flagships and other mobile-related products introduced at MWC 2015, it did seem there weren’t many earth shattering announcements. In terms of smartphones photography continues to take center stage but dual-SIM capabilities also seems to be an increasingly popular capability on smartphones. Although dual-SIM isn’t all that popular in the U.S. perhaps we are seeing more feature influence coming from user demands outside the U.S. We were hoping to see some exciting product innovations during MWC but all in all the smartphone vendors seemed to take a more conservative and safe approach with their new models. Although the event’s tagline was “The Edge of Innovation” the 2015 MWC seemed to miss the mark on that front. Perhaps by 2016 phone manufacturers will be ready to demonstrate some truly exciting mobile innovation.

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