In my defense, GMIC is kind of a big deal. It’s Asia’s largest mobile conference, the keynotes are punctuated with snappy musical interludes by eastern European jazz ensembles, and they have free Oreos at the Pingan booth.
1. Gold is the New Silver (and Huawei has a new phone)
Screams of joy from the audience as George Zhao told everyone how much the new Huawei Honor 4C is gonna cost: soon you’ll be able to pick one up for between 799rmb – 999rmb, a sweet-ass price point clearly geared to compete with the Xiaomi domestically.
People were super into it. There was like, whooping in the aisles. Not even the heal-the-world intensity of the opening ceremony got that kind of crowd response, and that was some Into the Wilds, my-life-for-Sparta music set to stock footage of athletes sweating in slow motion and Indian kids playing soccer. And then you know what happened while I was watching tiny sprouts unfurl and pregnant women lovingly cradling their own stomachs? You know what I goddamn did? I teared up. I teared up like somebody dug a finger into my Disney princess gland.
Anyway, interesting bit: the Honor 4C, Zhao tells us, will further facilitate the sending and receiving of mobile payments, presumably for both Huawei phone users (phone-to-phone hongbaos were lightly insinuated) and regular ol' meatverse shopping. And it will have a gold version.
Some specs on the Honor 4C:
And in the expo hall, the real deal, available at your local Beijing telecommery in very short order:
2. Chicks on Sticks
Oh, man. Booth babes in the Expo Hall. Asia does a phalanx of Sailor Moon booth babes like no other place on earth. Booth babes in sexy nurse outfits handing out caffeinated beverages. Booth babes dressed like poker bunnies. Booth babes wearing wedding dresses and riding giant wobbly flagpoles in the sky, because hey, Jingdong Finance.
3. Qualcomm and Snapdragon are all up in the Singularity (and so is everyone else)
Americans: we always gotta do it bigger. We gotta do it more and bigger and louder. All the China execs settled for like, one bomb-drop per keynote, but Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob was all like, “let me tell you about how we plan to aid intelligent machinery in the consumption and excretion of our species, LAWLZ”.
He talked about Snapdragon Sense, the world’s first-ever ultrasound 3D fingerprint scanner that, and I quote, “captures all the ridges and sweat pores”. He talked about how we don’t yet have the global bandwidth to support the “Internet of Things” (IoT), all the appliances and fitness wristbands and speaker systems that aren’t exactly computers but will support net connectivity -- an estimated 50 billion devices by the year 2020. He talked about device-to-device proximity sensors, so that your cellphone can tell other people’s cars not to run you over, and auto-industry AI platforms so that other people’s cars can tell your cellphone to go fuck itself.
“I’d like to show you a video about how that works,” said Grob, cuing more orchestral violins.
I dunno about this Grob guy. He seems pretty relaxed about robots in general. The whole expo area was awash in machinery trying to self-actualize and everyone was like, standing around watching tiny next-gen cyborg soldiers suffer from PTSD:
And then there was all this casual terror:
4. No one can shut up about “O2O”
I don’t care if you’re not in tech, you’re a Beijinger, and you already know what O2O is. It stands for “Online-to-offline”, and it’s when you do some shit on the internet that causes shit to happen not on the internet. Like when an app dispatches someone to your house to get your laundry (www.edaixi.com). Or when Sherpa’s brings you dinner, or Uber brings you a car. Chinese O2O start-ups are where all the investor money’s going right now, and everyone’s got their panties in a dither about riding that wave while it’s rising.
5. People keep talking about “wearables” but all I see is a bunch of smart watches
WHERE’S MY COMBADGE?
That is all.