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MWC 2024: Everything announced so far, including HTC's VR headset and Motorola's foldable phone

MWC 2024: Everything announced so far, including HTC's VR headset and Motorola's foldable phone

Image credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

The TechCrunch team is in Barcelona this week to bring you all the current events Mobile World Congress 2024. You already know what to expect, so sit back, relax, and tune in all week long as we bring you the products, announcements, and startup news from MWC you need to know.

So far we've seen some big announcements from companies, including new Android features from Google, a new laptop concept from Lenovo and a foldable phone concept and a robotic dog from Xiaomi. As the MWC progresses, here's how to follow our team's coverage.

Tuesday 27 February

HTC Vive has become a business

Vive XR headphone

Image credits: htc

HTC spun off its mixed reality division about a decade ago. During that time, the Vive's Magic Leap headset has transitioned from a mostly consumer toy to a more enterprise tool. Brian Heater sat down with Dan O'Brien, General Manager of HTC Vive, and John Dabell, Head of Product Operations at the brand, to discuss Vision Pro, Magic Leap, and generative AI.

eQub is digitizing peer-to-peer lending in Africa

eQub application

Image credits: eQub

Meet eQub, the Ethiopian startup and winner of the FinTech Competition at 4YFN 2024, Mobile World Conference's startup event. Nahum Michael, the company's head of business development, explained that the company's name is an Amharic word that refers to a local form of peer-to-peer credit. An Equb is a group of people who come together to save money, similar to a tanda, which is then distributed on a rotating basis. eQub is digitizing the experience, starting with the app, to target users among the growing number of Ethiopians who have bank accounts and mobile phones, but limited access to credit.

SynFlora treats acne

Co-Founders of SynFlora

Image credits: Natasha Lomas/TechCrunch

The skin is our largest organ, and we don't always treat it right. This is where biotech startup SynFlora comes in with a new type of skin treatment technology. The company is initially focusing on acne and is working on finding a way to deliver treatment deeper than topically applied creams and also to design and engineer a wide range of treatments using biotechnological approaches to harness bacteria to deliver targeted treatments.

Lizcore Sports Tracking System


Image credits: Natasha Lomas/TechCrunch

Lizcore has done what Natasha Lomas thought was impossible: digitizing and improving the indoor climbing experience. With Lizcore's progress tracking system, climbers don't need to climb with their phone or wear a smartwatch. All they need is a lightweight NFC wearable device, which the company calls the Lizy bracelet, that pairs with the startup's app.

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“The Black Box of Your Life” by Jola

Joola Mind2 Demo

Image credits: Natasha Lomas/TechCrunch

Jolla, a maker of mobile operating systems, is designing a way for users to gain the superpower of advanced artificial intelligence without having to let data-hungry third parties take over their privacy. It offers a private cloud-like device and an AI router in one, putting user data at hand to power AI queries. It's like having a personal butler “reshaped for the age of generative AI,” says Natasha Lomas.

Wireless TV offset

Offset MiniTV

Image credits: Offset MiniTV

Mike Butcher caught up with Displace founder and CEO Balaji Krishna, who discussed the company's 55-inch Display Flex product. It's a $3,000 “wireless” 4K OLED TV that sticks to your walls without a traditional installation. It was launched in January at CES. Krishna says more screen versions and new features are coming. One of the things we can talk about now is the “Display Mini” which will be a smaller 27-inch TV designed for a kitchen or bathroom space. Krishna also hinted at a future feature based on an “AI-powered shopping engine” that would allow consumers to purchase products from ads, and a contactless payment reader.

Motorola foldable phone

Image credits:

What is the maximum size of device you will wear on your wrist? If “bigger is better” is your answer, Lenovo has something for you. The company has designed what it calls a “foldable concept phone” for Motorola that folds around your wrist. The key word is “concept,” because there is no evidence that it can become a product. Regardless, it's fun to see.

Monday 26 February

Doublepoint's WowMouse gesture touch feature has been updated

DoublePoint Wowmouse app

DoublePoint WowMouse app. Image credits: Double Point

Android smartwatch users can now get their own version of Doublepoint's WowMouse touch control app. Pinch away!

Microsoft AI Accessibility Principles

The entrance to the Microsoft Store bears the company logo

Image credits: Nicola Economou/Norphoto/Getty Images

Brad Smith, president and vice president of Microsoft, today announced a framework called the “AI Access Principles,” an 11-point plan that Smith said “will govern how we operate our AI data center infrastructure and other AI assets.” mission around the world.” Scientist.” Although the implication here is that Microsoft is open to dialogue and conversation with stakeholders, Smith ironically delivered the news in a keynote speech, with no room for follow-up questions.

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The first electric car from Xiaomi

Image credits: Brian Heater

Xiaomi's first EV product – the upcoming Xiaomi SU7 – is light on details. We know it's a “full-size, high-performance eco-technology sedan” with plans to arrive in China sometime next year. In addition to design, Xiaomi has developed five core electric vehicle technologies: E-Motor, Built-in CTB Battery, Xiaomi Die Casting, Xiaomi Pilot Autonomous Driving, and Smart Cabin. As we mentioned before, it will contain the “HyperOS” operating system.

Samsung's first smart ring

Image credits: Brian Heater

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but if you're a girl who can't sleep, Samsung's new Galaxy Ring may become your new favorite. Some features include built-in sensors to measure heart rate, movement, and breathing to create a cross-section of the wearer's health and sleep patterns. Questions about pricing and battery life remain unanswered at the moment.

Extended battery life for your OnePlus device

Image credits: OnePlus

OnePlus' upcoming Watch 2 promises a staggering 100 watches “in full smart mode.” This claim comes after the company spent three years developing the battery technology. Brian Heater spoke with Tuomas Lampén, Head of Strategy at OnePlus Europe, about why the company took so long and how it managed to squeeze 100 hours out of the new watch.

Last week, Brian mentioned that “the battery is exactly the thing OnePlus needs to rely on,” since the first-gen product only had around 25 hours of battery life. This was with the GPS turned off.

Xiaomi CyberDog

Image credits: Brian Heater

After years of reporting on Xiaomi's CyberDog, Brian Heater finally got to see the robotic dog up close at MWC. He got to see the tame little dog doing a little dance, which he wrote reminded him of “a miniature version of Boston Dynamics' familiar robot.” Since Brian's story in 2021, Xiaomi has made some changes to its dog, including a more realistic version of the head to replace the previous flat version. The CyberDog 2 can currently be purchased online for $3,000, which is nearly double its predecessor's $1,600 price.

Lenovo laptop concept

Image credits: Brian Heater

If you've always wanted to look at the back of your desk while working, Lenovo's new transparent laptop is sure to give you that pleasure. This is if it reaches the production stage. It looks like your standard laptop with a few exceptions — the screen has a transparent portion, and it and the keyboard portion are reminiscent of an augmented reality experience, meaning graphics are overlaid on whatever's behind it. Right now, Lenovo is enjoying showing off its creativity.

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Google brings artificial intelligence to new features

YouTube sticker

Today, Google is bringing AI into more of its services, including a new set of features for phones, cars, and wearables. These apps use Gemini to draft messages, AI-generated photo captions, and text summarization through Android Auto's AI, along with accessing passes on Wear OS. Additionally, Google Messages will get a feature that allows you to access Gemini in the app. The feature is currently in beta and supports English only. The mobile giant is also launching some accessibility-related features as well. One is the Lookout app, which helps visually impaired people with things like food labels and documents, and will now generate AI-powered captions for images that have missing or inaccurate captions or alternative text.

Also at MWC, DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis spoke on a panel with Wired's Steven Levy to talk about Google's ability to “unpause” the ability of its multimodal generative AI tool, Gemini, to photograph people. He said the ability to respond to requests for images of humans should be back online in the “next few weeks.” “Google suspended Gemini's ability last week after users pointed out that the tool was producing historically disproportionate images, such as portraying the Founding Fathers of the United States as a diverse group of people, not just white men,” Natasha Lomas reported.

Desk lamp to improve your mood

Image credits: Brian Heater

The Dutch company Seaboro displayed small devices designed to replace large phototherapy lamps that mimic the effect of the sun on serotonin production in the brain. One is located next to the computer and the other clips are shown above, and looks a lot like an external webcam. Both are connected to a USB port for power. However, you will have to wait a bit, as the lamp is still in proof-of-concept mode.

Infinix wants to run the back of your phone

Image credits: Brian Heater

The Infinix E-Color Shift system improves on the e-ink display that YotaPhone started doing years ago. What's new here is the addition of color and what Brian Heater describes as “a fun aesthetic addition to the part of your device that's almost always covered by a case, in your hand, or otherwise face down on the table.”

Read more about MWC 2024 on TechCrunch