After last year`s decrease in attendance, the record was again broken this year at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow: 49.000 visitors from 200 countries passed through Fire de Barcelona pavilions, witnessing world premieres of many smartphones, as well as the operating systems these devices will be equipped with.
Over the years, the largest global gathering of the telecommunications elite has scaled up from a technology congress to a commercial tradeshow, with those who deal with the engineering side of the industry no longer having the central role. The limelight is now on the manufacturers of smartphones and the software intended for these devices.
Multiple New Operating Systems
The biggest surprise of this year was that Nokia did not unveiled a single new smartphone — the Finnish manufacturer was not even have a booth on the tradeshow floor. It did announce the MeeGo, its new operating system for mobile phones based on Linux, created as Maemo (Nokia`s previous platform) and Moblin (Intel`s similar product) are merging together.
Since Nokia did not even reveal what MeeGo will actually look like, Microsoft’s announcement of the Windows Phone 7 Series operating system resounded with much more force. The system was unveiled on the first day of the tradeshow by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose presence confirmed the seriousness this company will be showing during the upcoming months to the mobile communications market.
On the night before the show in Barcelona kicked off, Samsung revealed its bada operating system — this company’s first attempt at creating its own smartphone operating system.
Google Talks Cloud Computing
Before the end of the show, another significant moment occurred – the keynote of Google CEO Erick Schmidt, who announced that Google`s top programmers will now be focusing on mobile platforms, adding that the company’s new mantra is “Mobile First”. As three key technological segments — computing power, interconnectivity and cloud computing — converge into the world of mobile phones, he emphasized that companies which want to be successful would have to focus on the mobile industry, which is what Google will do.
Schmidt pointed out that Google’s search engine is now used more on mobile phones than on desktops in many markets, while over 60.000 new Internet-oriented Android OS mobile phones are sold daily all over the world.
The presence of Google’s and Microsoft’s heads in Barcelona is a symbolic indicator of a trend in which the Internet has moved from desktops to mobile phones to such extent that profits will be greater from mobile Internet services in the future, compared to the services intended for desktop use.
One of key events of the MWC was on that note, as wireless operators from around the world announced they had formed an alliance regarding the construction of an open platform for distributing applications for users of all mobile operating systems.
New Smartphones from HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson
In addition to new operating systems, there were also new smartphones. HTC unveiled two Android OS models, the Legend and Desire with its Sense user interface, as well as the HD mini with the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, a shrunk-down version of HD2.
Motorola demonstrated its MotoBlur on the Quench, a new smartphone with Google’s operating system. This device will be released by T-Mobile USA at the Motorola Cliq XT.
Sony Ericsson revealed three novelties: the Xperia X10 mini and X10 mini pro models, reduced-size versions of the Xperia X10, both with the Android OS and their own user interface designed to facilitate the use of Google’s OS on small screens. This company also showed off the Vivaz pro, which includes the Symbian OS — this will be a version of the Vivaz with a QWERTY keyboard.
Still, it seems that the Samsung Wave drew the most attention from attendees among new smartphones, not because it will use the new bada OS, but because it is going to feature an exceptionally bright screen, equipped with Super AM-OLED technology, and displaying high-fidelity colors.
Developing Hardware and Standards
In the spirit of expansion of powerful operating systems, advanced user interfaces, and mass smartphone app production, it is logical that hardware specifications are also on the rise — two of the mobile phones unveiled this week will include a 1 GHz processor: Samsung`s Wave and HTC’s Desire. It is clear to see from this year`s MWC that processor power will become one of the most important competitive features on the smartphone market.
With all of this, 4G technology was pushed in the background of the Barcelona tradeshow and problems of implementing the LTE technology were not discussed to the same extent as the year before. Another reason for this is that operators have managed to find common ground with regulators regarding the so-called digital dividend, i.e. band part allocation, which is provided while crossing over from analog television broadcast to digital streaming for the implementation of the LTE technology based networks.