Catalan app ‘Sharing Academy’ wins Mobile Premier Awards

Sharing Academy connects students with other peer tutors at different universities. Through the app, students can sort through a marketplace of tutors that can help them in various course subjects. According to Jordi Llonch, the CEO and creator of Sharing Academy, the idea for the app came from a personal struggle with one of his classes. After struggling to pass a course in university, Llonch sought the help of a friend studying the same course at a different school. Since the largest Mobile World Congress (MWC) to date opened its doors on Monday, much of the presenters at the event have focused on a few key topics. By 2020, industry leaders hope lead their users into a new generation of technology that can connect more devices at once, allowing for more advancement in other industry sectors outside of mobile such as health, automotive, and telecommunications technology.

One of the stands at Mobile World Congress (by ACN)
One of the stands at Mobile World Congress (by ACN) / ACN


February 24, 2016 10:09 AM

Just one year after the app’s founders say it was launched, Sharing Academy was awarded the prize for best application at the event’s Mobile Premier Awards at Mobile World Congress (MWC). According to Jordi Llonch, the CEO and creator of Sharing Academy, the idea for the app came from a personal struggle with one of his classes. After struggling to pass a course in university, Llonch sought the help of a friend studying the same course at a different school. While many were excited to see what new gadgets were unveiled at MWC, from new tablets and smartphones to virtual reality goggles, discussion has widely centered around how to best connect user’s devices, and users themselves. By 2020, GSMA and other tech leaders at the conference hope to see the implementation of 5G technology and messaging systems like RCS take hold in a new generation.

“There is no one better to help you than someone who's been in the same situation as you,” Llonch said. "And thus Sharing Academy was born.” Each tutor working for the app has been previously vetted by the application’s security system, which evaluates the student’s prior performance in the course before allowing him or her to tutor others.

5G to revolutionize a new generation of the technology sector

One of the main focuses of all discussion at the MWC this year has been about 5G technology, or rather mobile technology of the fifth generation. 5G is supposed to allow for up to 100 devices to be connected per square metre. With this amount of density supported by the connection, users support connections in medical, transportation, and communication technology alongside their mobile devices. Although the power of 5G technology sounds like the stuff of science fiction, companies like Ericsson, Nokia, and China Mobile have all since given presentations citing their commitment to implement 5G in their products hopefully by 2020.

“Making 5G a reality in Europe by 2020 will be essential for the success of industrial sectors such as the automotive, health and digital industries", said the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettingger in a press conference on Tuesday.

Although 5G technology may revolutionize the tech industry in more developed countries, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized its proponents, saying that the industry shouldn’t solely focus on providing better connectivity to those who already have it, but to the two-thirds of the world that does not have access to the Internet.

“Everyone deserves access to the Internet. I don’t know how in 2016 we can still be like this,” Zuckerberg said on the opening day of the Mobile World Conference.

GSMA, Google to rival WhatsApp messaging services with RCS

While 5G technology may help users connect more devices, Google, GSMA, and numerous telephone operators announced on Tuesday their plans to adopt a new messaging service called RCS, or Rich Communications Services, that will better connect users across the globe. Unlike SMS, RCS does not require an Internet connection to allow users to text, and gives users a cohesive system to use for all their communication needs. From texting to calling to file sharing, GSMA assured audiences in a statement that this initiative could allow operators from around the world to offer their clients a more open and consistent messaging service across Android devices around the world.

Although RCS technology has been in production for years, with a final push from Google is could help users go from using dozens of apps to communicate to using only one integrated phone system.

"Today is a step forward very important to improve the experience of users of Android's worldwide messaging," said vice president of communications for Google products, Nick Fox.

Virtual reality technology the hottest item for mobile accessories

Although the MWC says that mobile is everything for this conference, much of the latest technology being unveiled to the public at company presentations includes virtual reality or VR technology. From headsets to stronger microchip processors, numerous big names in the industry are looking to give their users a virtual reality experience with every new device they unveil.

At the congress, Samsung, LG, HTC and more have released and given those in attendance the opportunity to test out their new VR headsets. Qualcomm, a large microchip producer in the industry, also announced that its new Snapdragon 820 chip will help power a greater VR experience for users. While other accessories like 360-degree cameras have gained some attention, even Zuckerberg assured that it all leads back to the possibility of 360-degree, 3D virtual reality video becoming a key part of how we live and communicate.

“Years ago it was the text, not long ago it was photos and now it is video. But the next thing is 360-degree cameras, which allows you to upload video that makes it feel like the viewer is actually there. There is already a million hours of surrounding video in Facebook and there will be increasingly more content like that. The future will be to share ‘scenes‘ and not only small videos,” Zuckerberg said.

New tablets, smartphones unveiled by leading phone companies

Huawei, the third largest selling phone company, kicked off the MWC a day early by announcing its entrance into the detachable tablet market of the mobile sector. Although Huawei previously only offered tablets powered by Android, the new MateBook tablet makes the company an independent competitor in the sector. The new Huawei MateBook rivals the popular Microsoft Surface Pro 4, both with its lower price and a 20% lighter and thinner build thanks to its use of a USB-C port.

On Monday, Samsung presented the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge models. Both phones will feature the same flat screen model with curved edges seen in the S6 series. But, the new model has improved its construction and refined its style while still incorporating some new functions and features. The two new models are both more durable to water and dust resistant, and feature a more powerful camera and a faster microprocessor in addition to new shortcuts adding onto the S7’s Edge’s curved sides.

That same day, LG showed off its new LG G5 phone, which features a modular design that allows users to add on more accessories like virtual reality goggles, drone controllers, ad more. The design leaves a lot of room to grow, with the potential for extra batteries and other eventual gadgets to be used alongside the phone. The new model also boasts a strong dual lens camera system, giving the user 360 degrees of a visual range to capture photos in.

Although the past two days of the event have focused on these topics, with two days left there’s more to be discussed and discovered at the MWC. Keynote speeches from Apple Computer, Inc. veteran Samir Arora and Wikipedia co-founder and promoter Jimmy Wales are scheduled for Wednesday before the 4YFN Awards will be presented. Later in the week, presentations on mobile banking, gaming, commerce and more still fill the 2016 MWC agenda.