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Consumer Electronics

Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona

The big names in the mobile technology industry have flocked to Barcelona where the annual Mobile World Congress has opened. Visitors are expecting to see the next generation of high-tech devices.

Barcelona showcases mobile innovation

The four-day event will enable visitors to catch a glimpse of new mobile gadgets and devices that producers are already marketing as must-haves.

Germany's Deutsche Telekom for instance announced in Barcelona it would soon launch an app for smartphones that encrypted voice and text messages and would be available to all its users. The company said it expected huge consumer interest in the technology as privacy fears have sparked a greater awareness of people's need to shield against data spying.

Deutsche Telekom said the cloud-based app would encrypt any data exchange between two devices using a unique code. It added the service would first be available for Android smartphones, with a version for iOS devices to be launched later this year.

Everything needs to be smart

The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona also saw South Korea's LG Electronics join the battle for dominance in the relatively new market of computerized wristwatches. The company's Park Jong-seok maintained early smartwatch models failed to demonstrate why consumers should buy them.

A new smartphone from Finland

He said LG's strategy was not to release a half-baked product, but one that would convince consumers right away and would be paired with a smartphone like those already available from some competitors.

Sony on Monday demonstrated a SmartBand fitness accessory, working with a liefelog app on the phone to record your day. The company said you could see key moments of physical exercise on a timeline, including photos taken and messages sent and received. Sony said that as the day progressed on that timeline, you saw the number of steps made and calories burned to a given point.

The Barcelona fair is the biggest event for the mobile technology sector. But while there will be no lack of novelties, a major revolution in the industry is not in sight this time around.

hg/hc (AP, Reuters)

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