I didn’t make the annual trip to Mobile World Congress this year but from all reports, apart from the seeing snow in Barcelona and flight delays, I did not miss too much.
Samsung stole the handset headlines with its new S9 that, while nice and shiny with a new camera and processor, does not really present a compelling argument to upgrade from the previous model.
HMD, the company exploiting the Nokia brand, once again played on our feelings for the good old days by refining and updating classic models from the Nokia archive. The 8110 combines a fair bit of advanced functionality with banana shaped slider styling and standby time of 25 days! There were a few other hardware launches including two new flagship Sony Xperia phones and a new Huawei laptop but in general new device announcements were down on previous years.
The telcos, mobile operators and infrastructure companies also did not have a lot to announce. While 5G was billed as the big theme for this year’s MWC it is still largely a case of watch this space although Huawei launched the first 5G call with Vodafone. There was also more talk about seamless connectivity and innovative UK-company Ranplan demonstrated its latest suite of tools for designing indoor/outdoor wireless networks. And of course, there was a new crop of IoT devices and technologies. Who was it who promised 20 billion connected devices by 2020? Still someway to go over the next few years!
It never ceases to amaze me how the mobile ecosystem supports so many vendors. For all the ones that forked out to be at MWC there is a large handful of others. And I am sure that there were some truly innovative technologies that did not get the attention they deserved. But at MWC, size matters to get noticed. Maybe by next year there will be some step changes in the industry.