Boku, Square, Ubuntu – these were some of the hot topics in Spain last week, as tech engineers and enthusiasts from all over the world flooded Barcelona to show off their new mobile toys and technologies.
Our mobile devices seem to have new capabilities every day, and our phones are beginning to resemble the fictional tricorders on Star Trek – all we have to do is tell them what we want, and they deliver. Your phone is now also your wallet, book, map, compass, and companion.
Companies such as Nokia, Intel, Verizon, Samsung, HTC, Sony, Visa, Google and many more flocked to the conference, which featured interviews with brainy CEOs, speeches, new product presentations and demonstrations, and lots of new gadgets for everyone to be amazed by – or not.
Let`s take a look at just a few of the most exciting techs that were featured in Barcelona:
We all know what Soduko is, but what is Boku? Not a number game to play on the bus, but rather an app that helps you track your credit-card spending right on your iPhone. When you use a Boku-enabled credit card, the transaction data is sent directly to your phone within minutes. Boku not only serves as a budgeting tool, helping you stay within your spending limits, but it also keeps track of your customer loyalty points and rewards, and alerts you to special offers from your credit card company and participating retailers.
Square is a free Apple iPad app brought to you by the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. First he revolutionized the social media scene by changing the way we share information with each other; now he plans to revolutionize the way payments are processed. It replaces the traditional cash register and allows small merchants to easily accept credit card and cash payments without using a traditional POS system, which are complicated to install and expensive to maintain. Square accepts payments and also allows merchants to track customer history, list menu items, and more. They make their profit from collecting small transaction fees, which may be negligible compared to the cost of operating a POS system – plus, Square allows merchants to easily collect payments on-the-go, making it ideal for mobile vendors like food trucks.
Even if you`ve heard of the Ubuntu operating system, which previewed its Android version in Barcelona, we bet you don`t know what the word Ubuntu means. It`s an African saying – Desmond Tutu explains: “Ubuntu speaks about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world.” What better name for an operating system that aims to make it easier for people to connect with each other wherever they go? Ubuntu for Android is a device that plugs into your desktop computer via an HDMI dock, and runs the Ubuntu OS from your phone, right on your desktop.That will mean if you are using personal finance apps on your phone, they can easily translate to your desktop computer, giving them increased functionality and user-friendliness.
Into the Future…
There are definitely lots of new mobile technology products on the horizon to be excited about. As the credit card industry finds new ways to take advantage of mobile technology, consumers and companies alike will find new options opening up. At the Mobile World Conference, Visa`s senior VP of innovation summed it up: “The payments industry is evolving faster today than ever before. The growth of e-commerce and mobile services, combined with the evolution of the mobile handset, present two of the most significant opportunities for the payments technology industry.”