MWC 2009: A Preview of Barcelona's Mobile Phone Fiesta
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:
Palm: Palm's Pre was the darling of CES, and I'm hoping to get some hands-on time in Barcelona with Palm and Sprint's hope for salvation. Word is we may see a GSM version of the new smartphone at MWC, though such a device most certainly wouldn't include US-capable 3G banding.
Garmin-Asus: Garmin has joined forces with PC maker Asus to launch their long-awaited Nuvifone ... and it's apparently a line of phones, not just one. I'll be getting a first-look at the range of navigation-focused devices in a private briefing on Sunday, though some photos and specs have already hit the Web.
Other: Look for Modu's long-delayed modular phone concept to be shown off in its final production form (or so I'm being told). We should also see some new smartphones from Acer and Asus, and I'm hopeful for at least one surprise new Android device to be on display, though likely not from Australian upstart Kogan, whose Agora Pro phone was scrapped/delayed at the 11th hour just last month.
Beyond devices, I'm sure we'll see lots of demos of "4G" WiMax and LTE technology, plenty of Android and other smartphone OS apps, and lots of "solutions" for sending multimedia and social networking updates around mobile networks.
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.