New location, new tech and new ideas at the mobile show
When the lorries arrived in Barcelona, we knew things would be a little different. It was still Mobile World Congress, but 2013 marked the year that the mobile trade show moved to its new home, Fira Gran Via, located just down the road from the old spot at MontjuÃ¯c. MWC kicked off on Monday 25 February with over 1500 exhibitors and (a whopping) 72000 attendees from over 200 countries across the world. And boy was it different!
We immediately noticed the lack of historical features which surrounded the old location, and replacing this instead was a state-of-the-art space secured by the organisers to, no doubt about it, handle the growing number of attendees showing up year on year. Walking round the show was a task in itself as the individual halls were spread out further, but the MWC organisers had that covered as the venue boasted moving walkways to help the pressure off the legs.
Mobile players were as always, out to showcase what they had on offer, and this year it was no different:
Nokia was meant to be launching a tablet device, or so the rumours said, but a few days before the show started, stories appeared suggesting that it fact it would not be gracing MWC with the presence of a â€˜smallerâ€™ and the â€˜thinnest-everâ€™ tablet device. It did however unveil the Nokia 101, its new ultra-affordable model, at a nice price of just Â£13. Yes, Â£13. It was somewhat unexpected, especially given all the competition there is to provide the ultimate smartphone, but it seemed to go down a treat and Nokiaâ€™s stand was buzzing with people wanting a glimpse of this dual-sim device as well as its other products like the Lumia 520 and 720.
Around its stand in hall 3, Samsung had a mass of people itching to see its latest devices including the Galaxy Note 8. It had already unveiled its Galaxy S4 smartphone in New York on the 14, but even so it still had loads more for you to look at and have a go on.
Over in hall 7, HTCâ€™s black and green stand stood out and although they didnâ€™t have rows of devices laid out like Samsung, they grabbed your attention with a team of acrobats ready to entertain as you took a look at its new offering, the HTC One. The new mobile was a very slinky smartphone indeed but it seemed to pack a lot in.
By the end of day two though, it was software and systems provider Comverse that stole the show luring wandering attendees to its stand because they had followed the strumming sound of a guitar as a flamenco dancer swayed over the stage as part of their happy hour.
Other interesting devices, gadgets and things to highlight included LGâ€™s Optimus G and Vu series of smartphones, the CAT B15 smartphone made for none other than Caterpillar (CAT to you and I), and we shouldnâ€™t forget Sonyâ€™s wall of Xperia ZL smartphones. That had people talking!
Lastly, it wouldnâ€™t be a Mobile World Congress without one; the Android man was out and about trying to talk to the passing crowdâ€¦but sometimes it just didnâ€™t work.
The organisers did a great job in helping us rest our tired feet by provided plenty of relaxing spots, and if you were feeling in anyway competitive after trekking from hall to hall, one networking area even had a mini, mini Golf setup too.
All in all, with key themes such as 4G, machine-to-machine and mobile payments, and areas like the GSMAâ€™s Connected City and the NFC interactive experience, not to mention the product launches, ample networking opps and great devices on show, it was a cool event and definitely had something for everyone.
As always us lorries love heading over to Barcelona for the mobile show of the year and weâ€™re already looking forward to the next. See you there!