As to be expected there were quite a lot fewer visitors attending the MWC 2009 in Barcelona. The – surprisingly – positive about it was that the organizer had to cut things that were quite redundant anyway:
- no more hall entrance checkers equipped with scanners that were quite annoying because they delayed entrance to each hall
- no more congress daily news magazines; during times where things move online it made no sense to print tens of thousands of daily news magazines that mostly landed in the dustbin anyway
- no more free subway tickets for exhibitors (this one I thought was wrong as public transport usage should be encouraged)
The show itself did not have many new things, some of the ones that we saw (we also made a few short interview videos about them) are:
- Nokia was showing its new music store that offers free songs for one year and a more local song collection, its maps solution looks very strong and its Ovi platform, where all is coming together and being synchronized is at the core of it all, overall Nokia seems to be best positioned to fight off Apple
- Samsung was showing OLED equipped touch screen smart phones and also a new widget store with about 50 applications so far, it got still obvious that they will have a steep learning curve ahead from being an excellent electronics manufacturer with the slimmest and lightest phones to a vendor who can offer a total solution and user experience with applications as well
- HTC’s Android phone looked quite boring compared with what Nokia and Samsung were showing, the public domain community so far has not delivered what one might have expected, but maybe that is still coming
- LG was showing an interesting netbook with two OSs pre-installed, one button launched within eight seconds a Linux OS with some basic software apps and another one lead into Windows OS, nice idea, also the wireless 3G connectivity was built-in
- LG also show cased its LTE chipset with base stations from Alcatel-Lucent and Nortel and claimed that they had implemented most of the Dec. 2008 standard features, also LG had the by far best interactive terminals with touch sensitive displays, what I was missing though were some competent people standing by and explaining the use, Nokia is doing this one the by far best having product managers at each demo
- T-Mobile was showing a very nice LTE demo (details in the video), surprisingly they only plan to launch LTE in 2011/12, reasons mentioned made little sense though (no terminals available until then)
- On the 4G front LTE seems to have won the “battle” now as more and more operators announce that they will go with LTE rather than WiMAX. Motorola had some girls standing at the entrance area with a sign around their neck saying “WiMAX: 4G NOW!” While the message is correct, I felt sorry for the girls as they looked quite lonely and a bit ridiculous in light of the market reality. But of course they were simply paid to do that and did not care or even understand what the sign was saying
- Huawei had this time a huge area on their own. It reflects how much money they make in China but I think it is a totally wrong thing to do for them as they separate themself with that even more and I had the impression that not many people found their way to their facility. In contrast to T-Mobile’s pavilion who once again sponsored free Wifi access, drinks and snacks plus did some very well prepared demos such as the LTE one.
Why this event still does not offer free Wifi access across the exhibition area is beyond me and does not reflect well in my opinion on the organizers. Money is clearly saved on the wrong end here. But maybe someone reads these lines this year and makes some smart move next year. We will see.