SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Business in Barcelona

Posted by Admin on February 26, 2009

I know that I’ve been back nearly a week now, but I’m just getting my head around Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. I’m not going to attempt to do a full round-up of every announcement or even really talk about what the big boys had to say. You can see all of that elsewhere. For example:

– We brought you a couple of round ups of the big announcements here and here
– The team at Mobile Industry Review did some great videos at the show – definitely worth watching
– Rory Cellan-Jones of the BBC does his round up here
– While Fierce Wireless talks about the winners and losers in Barcelona

I am going to give a little bit of my perspective of the show though.

Every year after the event people try to pick it apart and decide what the ‘theme’ was and what Mobile World Congress tells us about how the mobile industry will change (if at all) over the next 12 months. Well, this year is no different and I don’t claim to be original either.

One of the themes was the lack of a strong theme. For the last few years the show (and the industry) has become too big to allow for a single theme to dominate completely. In many ways that’s a good thing, it shows the maturity of the market and the fact that we are not just blowing in the wind. However, it can make it less fun and feel less like we’re driving the industry forward for a week in Barcelona.

In terms of handsets, although many new handsets were announced there wasn’t one that stood out. HTC announced the new Vodafone Android handset – the Magic, but there weren’t any other major Android announcements. In fact in terms of the people at the show the one manufacturer that did dominate wasn’t even attending – Apple. Nearly everyone sported an iPhone and I saw very few G1s at all.

Unfortunately I didn’t see too much at the show that was targeted at the average consumer either. Of course there was the odd thing and of course all the major players would claim that they incorporate the average consumer, but … well, my mum wouldn’t haven’t seen much she could understand, yet alone get excited about. I still think this is an area the industry is ignoring at its peril. Where products and services are introduced that require less in-built geekiness they are mainly aimed at the emerging markets.

The biggest theme however was getting work done. The economic situation hasn’t hit this industry too hard, but it has made people focus. Despite what the GSMA says the numbers at the show were clearly down, yet those that did attend it seemed they were here for business – the people left behind were those who in previous years have treated the show like a mini-holiday. Nearly all the booths were full (literally only one or two blank spaces), but I can imagine nearly everyone was assessing whether they will be there next year – to make sure they will be, they got busy with business meetings and that should be a good sign.

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One Response to “Business in Barcelona”

  1. Nice perspective! I was planning something and somebody asked me: what’s the main theme? I just answered “the crisis”. Seems like everything was about it, but still a good meeting.

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