A record number of visitors descended on Barcelona this week to enjoy all that the Mobile World Congress 2013 had to offer.
Attendance was up 8% on last year as 72,000 industry professionals from over 200 different countries came to experience the new releases in the world of mobile, from wacky and wonderful concept tech, to big mobile releases. And of course some serious networking was involved too. There were over 4,300 CEOs present, while 3,400 of the visitors were from the media or industry analysts reporting on the event.
According to an independent economic analysis the MWC will have contributed €320 million to the local economy – that is an increase of €19 million on last year. Dayam.
We hope you have enjoyed our MWC blog series. Here are some highlights from the Congress which we haven’t included so far:
‘The Connected City’ is a reconstruction of a complete urban environment including a town hall, a department store, an apartment, an electrical shop, a hotel, a café, an office, a car show room and a street. ‘The Connected City’ showcased new products and experiences illustrating how our futures in all areas will be more connected – through mobile – making our lives easier. Pretty cool eh, just a shame we plebs couldn’t get to see it ourselves!
There was a noticeable absence of flagship smartphone launches; Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Apple all held independent events, while Samsung have set the launch of their Galaxy S4 for the 14th March. Instead there were some noticeable lower-end launches, from Nokia and Samsung in particular while there were some wonderfully innovative and exciting concepts exhibited.
The Japanese technology giant Fujitsu’s walking stick was perhaps the most unusual and prominent. The ‘Next Generation Cane’ monitors things such as heart rate and temperature while the location can be followed online as it has various connection technologies such as GPS, 3G Wi-Fi and an LED display. If the user takes a fall; an automatic email will be sent to their carer, while if the stick detects an irregularity in the user’s heartbeat then it will automatically call the emergency services. Safe as ‘ouses.
Fujitsu, like many other companies in the region, are looking at new ways to keep the older generation connected. They have also developed a smartphone for this market. The Stylistic runs on Android and has been modified to aid people who are not used to smartphones; there are question marks attached to various features (excuse the pun) which will help the user explore their handset. The phone will be available in Europe from June.
Automotive giants Ford announced the arrival of Spotify for Ford Sync, which plays music wirelessly through your car’s stereo. Controlled by voice commands ensuring driver distraction is a minimum, you can chose and compile playlists, skip tracks and select artists just by telling the system to do so. If you get lost or confused then the ‘Help’ service is always on call. If you find this uncomfortable then you can plot out your playlists/track list before driving. This seemed like an inevitable advancement but we won’t take anything away from the release; it’s pretty darn groovy.
Another fascinating concept exhibited was Qualcomm's Wi-Fi coffee machine which is merely at the concept design stage. They fitted a standard machine with one of their Atheros 4100 chips and a control screen where you can chose the size, strength and brewing time of your cuppa. It will also give you alerts when the black stuff has brewed. If it ever progresses past the concept stage, it’ll be like having a specially assigned coffee maid. Hurrah!
So, the MWC 2013 has offered up some seriously innovative mobile technologies for its record breaking number of visitors to experience. But what does the next year of mobile technology hold in store?
I’m sure we’ll all hear a lot more from the new operating systems, like Firefox, Ubuntu Touch and Tizen, who have all promised new handsets in the coming year. This OS system shake up is representative of what is set to happen in the smartphone market, too. It looks like we will see a lot of activity in the budget end of the market, as the higher end sits saturated for a while. Of the higher end models that are released in the year we might see slightly more affordable price tags as the budget market has a knock on effect. Let's hope so anyway!
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