[Posted by Thomas Husson]
Next Monday the mobile/telecom industry will gather in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress. With 60,000 delegates expected, the Fiera is the largest European Congress and a bigger event in importance than CTIA. There will obvioulsy be discussions about the impact of the crisis but no doubt that the flow of innovation will overcome skepticism. If you want a wrap up of the three previous conferences, you can have a look on my personal blog here (for 2008), here (for 2007) and even here (for 2006; when the Congress moved from Cannes to Barcelona).
As always, the focus will be on new devices to be announced (not only by the usual suspects but also by the likes of Acer, Toshiba, or Hyundai) and on technologies (such as LTE, NFC or Femtocells). As per last year, Apple won’t have a booth but the iPhone will probably be in most conversations. Most visitors will queue to have a demo of the G2 and other Android phones while stakeholders are waiting for Microsoft answer to Linux and the new Symbian Foundation.
My guess is that two of the hottest topics will be location-based services and mobile social networking. The convergence of these two trends will also attract lots of interest with the recent launch of Google Latitude or Nokia’s concept of social-location.
Forgetting the hype around Wimax or Mobile TV, the industry will probably focus this year more than ever on the user-experience. The buzzword this year will be around application stores, widgets and user-interfaces. Android Market (Google), Skymarket (Microsoft), Rim Application Center need to detail their environments while Nokia has no choice but to give an answer to the Apple AppStore. Many operators will also announce widgets and application stores, as well as extended partnerships with UI and on-device portal vendors.
This is all good news as usually the show is too technology-centric. This year, the word "convenience" will also emerge in the mobile industry. For more information on Forrester "convenience quotient" approach, see the post of my colleague James McQuivey here.
I will also be covering the event live on this blog and via twitter
My colleagues covering the mobile/telecom space will have a very close eye on announcements, whether from a consumer product and strategy perspective: Michelle de Lussanet, Julie Ask, Charles Golvin, Ian Fogg, Paul Jackson or from a technology / B2B / Enterprise perspective: Ellen Daley, Benjamin Gray, Phil Sayer, Brownlee Thomas, Mike Cansfield.
If you are press and would like more information before, during or after the event, please email PRESS AT FORRESTER DOT COM.
Otherwise, watch this space and share with us your thoughts and your expectations on the event in the comment section below.