Big News, Cool Gadgets at Mobile Technology Show

Stuart Miles, founder of, has been scouring the world’s biggest mobile technology show in Barcelona for the latest gadgets and innovations. Here are the gadgets that caught his eye:

A cinema experience on your phone: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 7.1 surround demo, by DTS

There was a time when a mobile phone speaker was a joke. But things are changing, and phones and tablets due out in the second half of 2013 will pack a number of features designed to give them enough power to become your home entertainment hub. The new Qualcomm Snapdragon processor comes with the ability to replicate a 7.1 surround sound speaker system — even through a pair of standard headphones. Dubbed Headphone:X, the technology is very clever, especially when you add in the processor’s ability to play 4k video.


Better photography: Nvidia Tegra 4i HDR camera demo

Nvidia is Qualcomm’s biggest challenger in the mobile processor space. Aside from games — the company is due to launch its own Tegra 4-powered Android console called Project Shield later this year — it has been showing off real-time High Dynamic Range photography capabilities that automatically adjust a picture for light and dark areas on the fly. It’s something that today’s cameras struggle to do, and certainly something where you need lots of power under the hood.

A superior tablet: Sony Xperia Tablet Z

There are many tablets on show at Mobile World Congress this year, including ones that are also trying to be a phone. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z caught my eye for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s a real change in product design from Sony — in a good way — but secondly the tablet, like the company’s new Xperia Z phone, is waterproof, making it ideal for the bath, or those that find themselves working out and about in tough conditions.

Safer shopping with a Paddle

Paddle is a shopping system that tries to make shopping online easier and safer. The idea is that e-commerce sites add a “buy with Paddle” button at the checkout, simplifying the payment process. It does this by generating a QR code for you to read with a dedicated app on your phone. Once you scan the code, all the merchant details are ready for you to check, and because the app has all your payment details, all that’s left is for you to press “buy.” The fact that you have to scan a QR code on the screen also means there is an extra level of security. It’s currently being internally tested by Marks & Spencer in the UK.

Streaming music in cars: Ford Spotify AppLink

Ford has teamed up with Spotify to bring the music-streaming service to its Ford Sync AppLink cars in Europe, starting with the EcoSport later in the year. Ford Sync AppLink allows drivers to control smartphone apps from the driver’s seat, using voice control. Understanding voice in the car is going to be one of the key battlegrounds for cars in the near future. Ford says it has spent a lot of time making sure the EcoSport has a good microphone and the capacity to actually hear the instructions you give, meaning you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel…

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