This week's Lowdown: Foldable gadgets at MWC?

The latest news from mobile technology this week.
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This week's Lowdown: Foldable gadgets at MWC?

Folding wearables at MWC 2019

There’s a whole host of things to get excited about at MWC this year, and foldable devices seem to be drawing lots of attention. It’s mostly phones that are flexing this tech, but Chinese manufacturer Nubia has possibly got something a little more intriguing to unveil – a folding smartwatch.

Nubia folding smartwatch

A prototype of the smartwatch/phone hybrid was seen at IFA 2018, and it seemed to be a display that wraps around your entire wrist. It’s expected to be able to do everything a phone can, like making calls, sending texts and browsing the internet, and there’s even a camera – but with all that packed in, it looked quite chunky on the wrist. Hopefully, we’ll see a more refined version at the event in Barcelona.

Wireless charging needs a boost

Getting rid of cables is the aim of the game now, and wireless charging devices are popping up all over the place. One advantage is they don’t need much maintenance, unlike USB ports and cables which get a lot of wear and tear and are prone to breaking.

Ossia wireless power

But, they’re not quite ready to replace cables just yet, because proximity is a problem. You can’t use your phone and charge it at the same time because it needs to be touching the wireless charging pad. The good news is it’s being worked on, and advances are being made all the time to extend the range.

Working demonstrations have been seen from the likes of Ossia, and they recently partnered with phone case makers Spigen to try and bring this technology to every-day use. They hope to have something on the market by 2020.

Check out our wireless chargers

How Virtual Reality could transform education

When you think education, you probably start thinking of the kids and what they get out of it. But what about the teachers? Hands-on experience is one of the best ways to learn new skills, so the next best thing could be a realistic simulation.

Walmart certainly seems to think so – in 2018 they installed VR training in 5,000 stores, and over a million employees gave it a try. The military and law enforcement are also looking into what it could do for them, helping to train people for more dangerous and risky situations.

Walmart VR training

But what about classroom application? Unfortunately, it’s a bit gimmicky in its current state. There isn’t much beyond giving students an interactive tour of ancient historical sites or maybe an in-depth look at the human body, so it’s only a slight step up from wheeling out the TV and putting on an educational film. But we’re soon likely to see major advances in this application and start seeing it used more in classrooms.

Browse our VR tech

Promoting workplace wellness with wearables

Most work environments have been transformed over the years by technology, but what about your health on the job? Apart from subsidising gym memberships and encouraging staff to swap chips at lunch for a salad, businesses are starting to look more into what technology can do for employees’ physical health.

Wearable tech is being adopted by more and more companies because healthy employees are more likely to be productive and engaged in their job, which means less sick days, better quality work and higher job satisfaction. And let’s face it, it’s more fun to play with new tech than plumping for an apple a day and hoping the doctor stays away.

Take a look at our wearable gadget

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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