Posted & filed under Industry Insights.

Mobile World Congress 2015 may be in the rear-view mirror, but the news from Barcelona left plenty to talk about in the future, from 5G to virtual reality. Mobile developers even got their own space, aptly titled App Planet, where companies could showcase the latest apps and platforms. If you weren’t among the 900,000 technophiles who made the annual pilgrimage to MWC, here are five takeaways that mobile developers should take note of:

Smartphones did NOT steal the show.

Despite the usual lineup of new smartphones with better screens and faster processors, this year people were watching… watches. Wearable technology, particularly stylish smartwatches, stole the spotlight from smartphones this year. That said, you couldn’t help but notice the affordable new smartphones from Sony and Microsoft, which look to make smartphones (impossibly!) even more ubiquitous by keeping the price just north of $100.

Virtual gaming is a reality now.

It’ll still be years before virtual headsets overtake the Wii or Xbox 360 Kinect, but that it will be the future of gaming—and a lot more—was clear from the interest generated at MWC. There is already talk about using virtual headsets for movies, advertising, and training, prompting developers to build more apps for VR applications.

What’s the future of Windows Mobile?

Although Microsoft is moving forward with its Mobile platform (and virtually giving it away on the new Lumia), the OS still has a small market share; less than 10 percent of smartphones and tablets run it today. In what could be a sign of things to come, Microsoft announced that its popular Office suite would now run on Android systems.

New standards for enterprise apps.

A consortium of companies including virtualization gurus VMware announced a new standards body for enterprise apps, App Configuration for Enterprise (ACE). The goal of ACE is to create a single set of standards for mobile enterprise apps, with an eye toward reducing cluttered app stores that today feature multiple platform versions of the same app.

Smartphone is the new payphone.

People have been talking about using mobile payment apps on their smartphone for years, but this year it was clear at MWC that more people are actually doing it. The security and the technology have matured to the point where smartphones might actually shrink our wallet size in a good way by replacing credit cards. And, of course, a stronger payment system will be a boon to e-commerce app developers.

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