eventThe 2010 GSMA Mobile World Congress is heading for sunny Spain next week, kicking off in Barcelona on Monday 15 February and running for four days. Last year’s show attracted some 47,000 visitors and if the pre-event buzz is anything to go by, this year’s “Vision in Action” themed Congress should top that figure. As is common with events such as this, some manufacturers just can’t wait for the event itself and announcements, rumors and speculation abound.

Korean electronics giant Samsung, for instance, has launched a teaser website which promises the announcement of a new mobile offering. Examination of the source code keywords reveals the word “AMOLED” so fingers crossed for a new bright touchscreen beauty when the announcement is made on Sunday 14 February.

The Gathering of the Mobile Tribe

The event itself will see some 1300 companies share their current and imminent product lines together with, no doubt, some visions of the future. All will be hoping that their technology will attract the attention and capture the imagination of the tech world’s press and public alike. Confirmed keynote speakers include Eric Schmidt (Google), Vittorio Colao (Vodaphone), Ben Verwaayen (Alcatel-Lucent) and Hans Vestberg (Ericsson) with news of more sure to follow.

app_planetAs if the Congress itself isn’t enough to satisfy the ravenous appetite we seem to have for mobile devices, there’ll also be “an event within an event” in the shape of  App Planet, which will focus solely on the apps market. Representatives from over 40 business interests, including Research In Motion (RIM), Wireless Industry Partnership (WIP) and the International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) will be in attendance and conferences discussing all aspects of application development on “the most influential mobile platforms” have been scheduled. Expect lots of discussion about application trends, presentations on the future of app development, and something called the “Apps Garage”, where cutting-edge initiatives will be showcased.

Environment-friendliness appears to be high on this year’s agenda, with efforts such as JIVO‘s Biodegradable iPhone case, Zephyr Wind Turbines and smart generator controller to help reduce power consumption by telecommunications base stations all being presented during the Congress.

The Mobile Oscars

80s pop sensation Duran Duran is set to headline the Congress Party & Awards Celebration on Tuesday 16 February at the National Palace. But before any party-going executives get the chance to “do their thing” in front of Simon Le Bon, there’s the small matter of the 15th Annual Global Mobile Awards hosted by British national treasure, self-confessed technophile and fully fledged member of the Twitter Royal Family, Stephen Fry.


Award nominees have been announced, including Speedhero, the Sims 3, Last City and Farm Frenzy battling it out for best mobile game; France putting in a good showing with both Orange and France 24 Live being nominated for Best Mobile TV or Video Service; my favorite browser Opera Mini is up against some stiff competition from the likes of Vodaphone and Microsoft for Best Mobile Internet Service; and LTE, Snapdragon and Mobile High Definition (HD) Voice (amongst other) fighting for the Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough prize. Oh, almost forgot – Blackberry Bold, Samsung Star, HTC Hero, Huawei U8220 (T-Mobile Pulse) and Samsung’s second showing I8910 HD or OMNIA HD are up for Best Mobile Handset or Device. The iPhone is so last decade!

What Else Is/Might Be Going On?

zuneOther Congress highlights may or may not include (depending on the accuracy of various reports in the media):

A keynote from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has been confirmed but the subject matter is, as always, open to speculation but bookmakers are showing some sort of Windows Mobile 7 news as a firm favorite. The signs are that the new OS could see the best of 6.5.3 being merged with features from the Redmond company’s Zune media player, perhaps even morphing into a Zune Phone.

Google’s Android OS is expected to have a strong showing at MWC from the likes of HTC and Motorola (both having new phones to show off), Sony Ericsson and perhaps even Samsung (although no doubt this company will be more keen to show off its own Bada OS).

Nokia has already said that it won’t be premiering any new devices this year but with Symbian recently being both enhanced (to version 3) and made open source and a recent lowering of device prices, it would be a very strange affair indeed if the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer didn’t take advantage of the media frenzy surrounding this gathering – one to watch I reckon.

In spite of Apple’s browsing exclusivity, Opera will be demonstrating a version of its successful mobile browser developed for the iPhone to a select band of journalists and company partners.

And not forgetting the likelihood of appearances by numerous “about to happen” technologies such as integrated projectors, mobile HD or even 3D video, augmented reality and touchscreen enhancements.

TechnoBuffalo will of course keep you posted on all the good bits but, in the meantime, what would you like to see announced at this year’s portable get together?