Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona on Monday, with tens of thousands of visitors packing the halls to spot the latest in mobile tech. LIRON SEGEV will be one of them. He tells us what to expect.
The end of February is like Christmas for techies, mobile freaks, geeks and the world tech media as everyone descends on Barcelona, Spain, for the annual Mobile Wold Congress. MWC, as it is known, is an event that brings together the big names in the mobile industry from around the world to reveal their latest products, services and concepts. This year it will have 1700 exhibitors, along with networking sessions, a Mobile Apps Universe for innovative apps, and world class keynote speakers.
In 2013, the event saw over 72 000 visitors from 250 countries. Bearing in mind that the price of tickets starts at Eu749 and goes up to Eu4999, this is not cheap. But, clearly, if you pay these prices, there is massive value in attending.
For the fist time this year, I will be one of those moths-to-a-flame-techies drawn to the event and I will join the masses to see what secrets are unveiled at MWC.
Along with finding various gems, there are several high-profile ‚”must see‚” events that I am looking forward to:
Key Note Speaker: Mark Zuckerberg
Yes, da man who gave the world Facebook will be addressing the congress on the 24th February at 18:00 local time. With Facebook’s focus on mobile, Zuckerberg’s speaking engagement is no coincidence and highlights the importance of MWC and just how seriously Facebook wants to be seen as taking the mobile platform. While no big announcements are expected from Facebook (but anything is possible), I assume Zuckerberg would be focusing more on the connected world and his latest project to connect 5 billion people to the Internet. I wonder if he will walk the floor looking to buy a company or two on the way to the coffee room?
The keynotes will be screened live at Mobile World Live
What is Ford Up To?
Of course Ford is a motor vehicle company, but they are no stranger to being at tech events to showcase some of the best in-car connectivity. At last year’s event Ford had their vehicles at the Ford Experience Zone for people to try them and they announced that the Spotify app (music steaming app) will be able to be used though its Sync AppLink. This is Ford’s software that allows you to control your phone with your voice. Got a new SMS? the app simply reads it to you. Just say ‚”Music On‚” and you will be tapping your fingers to your music and if you don’t like what you selected just say ‚”Next Track‚” and Sync will change your music for you without you taking your eyes off the road.
I wonder what else Ford has up their sleeves at this year’s event? Stephen T. Odell, President of Europe, Middle East and Africa of Ford Motor Company will be a keynote speaker too.
The now not-so-secret invitation to Samsung’s unpacked event has been sent and at 20:00 on the 24th Samsung will be revealing the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. While Samsung has in the past opted for their own events to reveal major devices, it seems that this year MWC is where it is all happening. The Galaxy S5 is expected to be Samsung’s new flagship device, taking the lead over the popular S4. There are many rumours of what it could possibly look like with every feature possible, even a retina scanner. One thing is for sure, all eyes will be on the unpacking event.
Samsung has many other devices up its sleeve which will be showcased at MWC. Once such device announced is the Galaxy Tab 3 Lite. This is a 7″ tablet aimed at the entry level of the market with its 1024 x 600 WSVGA screen, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Running Android 4.2 (Jelly bean), a 3600 mAh battery, a 2 Megapixel rear camera and 1GB of RAM with 8GB of built in storage. Depending on the price, this could be a real African tablet supported by the brand name.
Samsung is also due to reveal their latest wearable tech – mainly the Galaxy Gear 2, which is expected to be slimmer, faster, and hotter than its predecessor. Wearable tech was all the rage at CES 2014 and I predict even more wearable gear from Samsung.
Android Nokia Phone?
Could this a reality? Could Microsoft, who now almost owns Nokia agree on an Android phone? Rumours are that yes, this is not only a possibility but highly likely. Nokia Normandy (as it is known) is said to be a highly skinned and customised version of Android running on a Nokia device. Besides this press invite that appeared on The Verge, no more details are available.
Bear in mind that the BlackBerry 10.2.1 update allows for Android apps to be run directly on BlackBerry 10 devices and this has instantly filled the not-enough-apps gap that both BlackBerry and Windows Phone suffer from.
Nokia has recently showed their new Asha range and the new 1520 phablet at an event in Johannesburg, so clearly the Nokia team has been busy.
Even More Phones
Other companies due to make announcements are:
HTC is rumoured to be launching the HTC M8 a 5‚”” Android 4.4 device with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 4MP cameras and a HTC One like speaker system.
Sony has the Xperia Z1 as its flagship device and so perhaps an Xperia Z2 is in the making.
Huawei’s Ascend P6 has been very successful for the company and they have always said to be ready for the next evolution of the P6. Perhaps a P7 or maybe the P6S.
LG is also said to revlead their recently announced LG G Pro 2 which is going to compete with the likes of the the Samsung Note 3 in the phablet category. The LG G Pro 2 runs Android 4.4 (kitkat) and has a 5.9-inch IPS Display (1920 x 1080), 13MP camera, 2.26 GHz Quad-Core processor, 3 GB RAM, 16GB / 32 GB storage with a microSD slot and a 3200 mAh battery.
* Follow Liron Segev, aka The Techie Guy, on his blog at thetechieguy.com, or on Twitter at @Liron_Segev