Like every February the wireless community is gathering at the 3GSMWorldCongress (3GSM), now renamed to Mobile World Congress (MWC), to meet, exchange ideas and to see new stuff. For the 7th time in a row I couldn’t resist the call and will join the frenzy.
The picture on the left shows my blogging equipment for this year. As in the past I will keep you up to date before, during and after the show on my blog, so make sure to check regularly. The Bluetooth keyboard works with both the Nokia N93 and the N800 and I will put both devices to good use. The N93 is ideal for real time blogging, for uploading pictures to Flickr and videos to YouTube. The N800 with the bigger screen is ideal to fine tune the blog entries and to make sure my videos posted to YouTube end up on the blog as well.
It’s not only the congress and exhibition itself but also the many things that are happening around it that make this week so unique. I’ll be at the Mobile Sunday on Sunday evening, at the Mobile Monday Global Peer Awards on Monday afternoon and the Mobile Jam session on Tuesday afternoon. All events are organized by Rudy de Waele and I wonder if the man will sleep in the next 10 days… You can find an overview of side events here.
Despite being organized by the GSM Association the congress has been officially opened this year to other (non 3GPP) wireless technologies, hence the somewhat awkward name change to Mobile World Congress. Last year some first WiMAX demos were seen here and there but nothing really impressive. This year I expect that things have changed and I am looking forward to a couple of WiMAX demos with real networks and real devices.
I am also looking forward to see the latest mobile device chipset hardware. Intel has decided it wants a place on mobile devices and it will be interesting to see if they have more to show than just a couple of nice whitepapers and prototypes. ARM, the incumbent processor design house for mobile devices has also not slept and I am looking forward to talk with them about their latest mobile device processor, the ARM Cortex.
One layer above there’s Symbian with Nokia’s S60 and Sony Ericsson’s UIQ on top of it, Windows mobile and a number of promising Linux initiatives such as Android and Maemo. Apple’s probably not there but they wouldn’t get the same applause at such a show compared to an Apple only event anyway. And while their OS is closed I don’t really mind, either.
While a couple of years ago the exhibition was mostly around network infrastructure and mobile phones, application developers have become much more important in recent years. I expect the trend to continue this year and can’t wait to discover cool new startups. In this respect the name change from 3GSM to MWC also makes sense because applications don’t really care about the network below.
Network wise I was pretty happy with the public 3G network performance on the exhibition ground in previous years. With 30.000+ people being at the exhibition simultaneously, most with the latest gear, I am looking forward to see if the infrastructure can cope. It is as always the ultimate capacity test despite the fact that most exhibitors have a fixed line Internet connection in addition.