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:
LG: LG's new flagship multimedia phone, the KM900 "Arena" has already hit the Web in photos and videos showing off its fancy new "Cube" user interface. I'm expecting a few more goodies from LG at Monday's press conference, as they've made it clear that they're trying to buck the global recession by pushing forward with a robust product line for 2009. Meantime we're all waiting for that Dare successor, the "Versa" VX9600, to hit Verizon here in the States.
Nokia: Nokia's new E75 horizontal-slider Symbian smartphone was outed by Expansys last week, and two new touchscreen phones were just leaked in an N97 video: the ultra-high end "Ivalo" and the mid-range "Madeline" N97-look alike. I'm looking for those along with the E63, a lower-cost version of the E71 smartphone that was just launched here in the US. Hopefully Nokia will surprise us with another new device or two at Monday's press conference, but even if they don't I'm still looking forward to getting my paws on the XpressMusic 5800 and N97 touchscreen phones at long last.
Sony Ericsson: SE's in a world of hurt right now but their press conference invite promises "canapes and drinks," so I'm holding out hope for something cool from the one-time giant of the mobile world. The rumor mill's offered up some juice on an 8MP Walkman/Cyber-Shot hybrid along with the C903, C901, W705 and W395, so we'll just have to see what SE's got on tap for Sunday night's event.
Whatever I see at MWC, you'll see it too right here on PhoneDog. Get yourself ready by subscribing to our iTunes feed and YouTube channel to keep up with all of my video reports from the show.