Mobile World Congress Will Fix Its Target on the Touchscreen, LG Suggests

Are touchscreen-only devices a thing of the past?

We’re well past the beginning of the end of the traditional touch-screen. Everyone’s trying to figure out what’s next. One emerging tech trend that could take the spotlight at next month’s 2019 Mobile World Developer’s Conference? Expect a lot of gesture-related interfaces, if the first big MWDC 2019 teaser is any indication.

On Wednesday, the Korean hardware giant LG teased what it has in store with a 13-second video titled “MWC 2019 LG Premiere.” The clear takeaway was that LG wants to be early to gesture-based interfaces: The clip features a hand beckoning in note cards with waving or swiping motions. This strongly hints that a gesture-controlled “LG Premiere” device could be launched as early as February 24, a day before the electronics event in Barcelona is scheduled to begin.

It’s unclear exactly what the “LG Premiere” will look like, as a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, or even a TV are all on the table. Back in 2013 the company release a motion-sensing smart TV and it has mentioned gesture controls in a recent phone patents filed to the World Intellectual Property Organization. Given the conference’s mobile emphasis, a smartphone or wearable would seem to make the most sense. It also already looks like they won’t be the only company introducing a gesture based interface.

LG's 2013 motion-controlled TV could be evidence of similar devices to come.

Gesture Based Interfaces in the Works

While LG was the first big name to fire shots in the MWC 2019 hype cycle by teasing their potential launch plans, numerous other companies have have gesture based interfaces in the works.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has already granted Google permission to test its motion-sensing system, Project Soli. The venture makes use of a tiny radar array inside of a quarter-sized chip to precisely detect hand gestures so users could, say, control the brightness of their smartwatch by rubbing their fingers together.

Apple has also filed patents for gesture controls for the Apple Watch and Apple TV in the past. The applications ranged from allowing users to scroll through quick text responses with wrist motions to more highly complex eye-sensing controls for the Apple TV.

However, LG seems to be ready to debut a device that might have the potential to change how reliant we are on touchscreens to interact with our tech. The company will announce something a day before MWC 2019 kicks off, but it’ll likely show off more of the tech at its booth during the event. Those of us with sticky fingers will be watching.

Mobile World Congress 2019 Dates

The yearly electronics conference will be live streamed in part on Mobile World Live TV. LG doesn’t have a keynote or speech scheduled for the event but it’ll most likely live stream the LG Premiere launch on its YouTube channel.