Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was subdued compared with previous outings.
A number of leaked roadmaps and innovations at the end of last year appeared to undermine the trade fair, the world’s biggest for mobile.
There was less excitement surrounding official releases. The desire to appear unshowy in the current economic climate meant fewer landmark announcements and (many) fewer press knees-ups – the GSM Association (GSMA) Global Mobile Awards, unlike the forthcoming Mobile News Awards, finished early, at midnight prompt.
In terms of devices, the biggest news from mainline manufacturers was the name of the new HTC Android phone (‘Magic’). Everything else had been hinted at already online.
The boldest announcement was by Taiwanese manufacturer Acer, which said it would take smartphone market share away from more established brands and would compete on price and specifications. Watch out UK market.
Despite the murky previews online, there was much to praise in the way of technological advancement – big-hitting cameraphones from all and sundry, plenty of application drives and a smattering of ‘green’ tech.
Personally, this was my first experience of Mobile World Congress. Did the experience live up to the hype? Yes, it did – in terms of the madness of meetings and the rush of activity. Even if glitter and glam and genuine surprises were in short supply.
The best announcement was from the GSMA itself, which declared a much-overdue moratorium on handset-specific mains chargers.
News of a universal charger to fit all handset makes and models by 2012 was rightly greeted with a loud cheer from the audience at the event. Which means either a genuine breakthrough for the industry or the deployment of Apple-style cheerleaders by the GSMA.
In this instance, we suspect the former.