OnQ Blog

The Three Hottest Startups at Mobile World Congress

Mar 7, 2013

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

The telecom industry’s biggest companies made plenty of news at the giant Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. Talk of new wireless technology, giant phones from China, and the Internet of Everything dominated headlines.  But there were also smaller players —tiny start-ups—getting notice and making noise. Among them:


A “mobile intrusion prevention system” sounds like something the Ghostbusters might build.  But it’s actually a product from Israel’s Zimperium that promises to keep corporate networks safe from a growing menace—BYOD (bring your own device).

The problem begins when employees plug their own phones, tablets, and laptops into a corporate network. If these devices are infected with malware, the malicious code can spread quickly through the network, infecting official and non-official devices alike.

The answer is a program called Zips, Zimperium says. The service allows IT departments to install Zips on BYOD products owned by employees, across multiple operating systems without resorting to problematic jailbreaking. Zips also vets apps, blocking suspicious ones.

The unique part of Zip is Z9, a classification engine that works with the behavioral analysis of the device’s OS.

The Zimperium site also features a smiling photo of notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick who is listed as a Zimperium analyst and quoted: “Most enterprises are being actively targeted through smartphones.” You can join the beta now. 


iMobMedia is at Mobile World Congress talking about its range of location-based mobile advertising solutions for mobile operators.  Its technology allows a cellphone operator to know when you walk into a retail store – and to send you related coupons or ads via SMS, MMS or push notifications.

iMobMedia white-label offerings Proximity Moments and Precision Moments work on any devices that can receive SMS messages, which is an advantage in developing markets. 

Yota Devices

Russian start-up Yota Devices showed off a smartphone with a difference at MWC. Originally displayed at CES, the YotaPhone has two screens. The one on the front uses e-ink technology, similar to that found in the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers.  The one on the back has a typical cellphone color screen.

Surprisingly, it’s slim.  And the e-ink side isn’t used solely for reading.  You could use it to check out maps in bright sunlight, for example.  The e-ink technology can also save battery life.  A simple downward swipe flips the color screen content to the e-ink screen.


Yes, there are other phones with black-and-white modes for better battery life, but the YotaPhone goes one step further. And at MWC, showgoers flocked to Yota’s booth, indicating that 2013 could be the year of the e-ink smartphone. The phone is a few months away from launch in Russia.

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Richard Melville