I'm getting that pre-travel adrenaline rush as I prepare to spend 13 or so hours on a plane tomorrow en route from San Franciso, CA USA to Barcelona, Spain to hit up this year's Mobile World Congress show. MWC begins on Monday, but pre-show press events start Sunday afternoon, and I'll be in Barcelona starting Saturday morning local time, so I can recover from the trip and get my bearings in preparation for covering the world's largest and most important mobile industry event.
Of course when I say "get my bearings" I mean check out some of Gaudi's architecture and find myself some killer tapas and a glass or two of a Catalan wine on Saturday night.
Getting back to business, I'm expecting to see a bevy of new mobile phones at MWC from nearly every major player in the mobile space ... except, of course, Apple. While the show focuses on European and international releases, and not US-carrier branded phones, hot international devices are finding their way to US shores faster and faster these days. So anything we see next week from HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia and the other big players may be launched in a North American-friendly version sooner than later.
Here's a quick rundown of what I'll be looking out for in Barcelona starting on Sunday:
HTC: The Taiwanese smartphone giant's 2009 product roadmap was recently leaked - or so we think - on the Web. HTC's throwing a press conference on Monday morning, and I'm expecting to see new Windows Mobile devices with sleeker styling and more media-friendly features. I'm also holding out hope for a new Android-powered phone, though that's a big of a longshot. Look for whatever HTC unveils to include some phones soon to be launched by Sprint and the other three major US carriers.
Samsung: Samsung's already pre-announced a handful of new WIndows Mobile and Symbian devices, and I know they've got a few more tricks up their sleeve for next week, as well. While the company recently announced that their first Android-powered phone won't be ready until later this year, we should see a new build of the TouchWiz operating system shown off on multiple new touchscreen phones in Barcelona along with some high-spec cameraphones and another music phone developed with Bang & Olufsen. Sammy's also said to be launching their new Symbian app store at the show. And, oh yeah, that T-Mobile bound 8 megapixel cameraphone, the "Memoir," may be on hand, as well.