A GPS pet collar, mainstream virtual reality, and brighter tablets and bike helmets - consumer technology from Mobile World Congress and beyond.
Pebble Time/Time Steel
The new smartwatch from Pebble has already proven a massive smash on Kickstarter. The colour 'e-paper' display uses less battery than LCD or OLED, so the Time features a one-week battery, while the Steel stretches that to ten days. Like the original Pebble, it's still water-resistant, but as well as e-paper display, it's also slimmer, includes a microphone and redesigned OS - so you can see upcoming items in a simple chronological list, scrolling forwards or backwards. The new OS works with 6,500+ existing Pebble apps. Both watches also feature a 'smart accessory port' to add in extra functionality, sensors etc.
Haier SOS Connected Pet Collar
A connected pet-tracking collar button - you can use this on any physically-compatible pet collar, although it comes with a leather one. The collar button lets you track your pet via GPS on your smartphone, with multi-day location history and path retracing mapping. The system can even be set to alert you if your pet leaves their 'safe zone'. On top of tracking, an inbuilt mic lets you hear your pet, and a speaker lets you talk to anyone who has found them, plus a red 'SOS' button on the collar's side connects direct to you if someone finds your pet in distress.
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
"The world's lightest and slimmest 10" tablet", the Z4 Tablet is 6.1mm thick and weighs 389g (for the Wi-Fi-only version). But its dimensions are not the only impressive item on the spec list. It also boasts the "world's brightest" 10.1 2K (2,560x1,600) display, long battery life (6,000mAh for 17 hours video playback), and 2GHz, octo-core, 64-bit processor. Plus, like some of its Xperia predecessors, it's waterproof (IP68). On top of that list, throw 3GB RAM, microSD card slot and 8.1MP camera. Price is likely to be top-of-the-range to match, of course. The Z4 Tablet is set to release in Europe in June.
Virtual reality headsets are making a massive comeback, but how broad a take-up will they get? Vive is a tie-up between HTC and Valve - creators of the Half-Life and Portal games and curators of Steam, the dominant PC games distribution platform. Vive offers positional head tracking - so you can duck, lean and jump, rather than just tilt your head. It also comes with motion-sensing controllers to increase immersion. The combination, according to Valve's boss, eliminates motion sickness - a problem for VR adoption in the past. With clever hardware and Valve backing, the Vive could well be the key rival to Facebook's Oculus Rift.
Cycle helmet T1 features ten LED lights, five each front and rear, for all-round visibility. The lights are built-in, behind two protective polycarbonate lenses, and run for up to 12 hours, powered by a rechargeable battery. The result is a bike helmet that either doubles as the lights you need to get you home, or adds serious visibility for cyclists in the dark. The casing adds weather resistance also. The T1 was initially launched as a Kickstarter in Los Angeles, but is now available to regular purchasers - and next up from the company is a water-resistant courier backpack with fibre-optic light panel.
BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition
The first ever Linux Ubuntu OS smartphone, arrives with perhaps less of a bang than it should. What seems to be missing? When a Ubuntu smartphone was first mooted, the idea was that docking the phone to a keyboard and screen would turn it into a full Ubuntu desktop machine, but that doesn't seem to be in evidence yet. Instead, what is new in this budget smartphone (540x960 4.5" screen, quad-core processor, 1GB RAM) is "Scopes" - essentially themed pages app developers can suggest content for, including "NearBy", "News", "Music" and "Today". Looks good - but surely this is something an Android app could do easily also?