Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mobile World Congress 2012 –Summary, Conclusions, Trends

MWC12 has come and gone –with attendance ballooning to approximately 67,000 visitors, the event is becoming as much a test of stamina and personal fitness as much as being a showcase of new devices, infrastructure and mobile lobbying (mostly by the GSMA).

Each yearly edition comes with its own unique flavor -3 years ago saw the rise in prominence of content providers (and the App Planet) ,2 years ago the industry was in crisis-mode and the mood was gloomy at the show. Last year, the Chinese manufacturers staked their claim on the mobile sector with force. This year, the ambition and determination of Chinese manufacturers ZTE and especially Huawei was made even clearer.

Of all the devices, the Huawei Ascend series with their quad-core processors, clear displays and crisp Dolby sound impressed, though HTC were not far behind with their line-up (even though it had less marketing pzazz).

Nokia made an astonishing comeback at the show, with a very large area in Hall 7 dedicated to showcasing their new 808 PureView 41MP award-winning Symbian phone and the new Lumia line-up that was created with a grassroots approach to design and has plenty of appeal to that key 25-35 socio-demographic with its stylish casing and colour combinations. It is clear that WindowsPhone has all the cards in place to become a serious Number 3 OS player, and it is now down to executing on strategy.

Perhaps disappointing was the lack of true innovation in devices at the show (I was showcased a 2005-style GPS app by NTTDoCoMo this year , which was a very bizarre experience). I was amused by the waterproof handsets and tablets by Fujitsu ( a good idea) and by NFC-enabled advertising billboards by SK Telecom, but overall, the term  “innovative “ was not the order of the day.

My personal best marketing award goes to Android/Google for captivating the imagination of congress delegates with different styled Android figures, a touch wall, an Android robot capable of making customized device cases and, of course, the Ice Cream sandwich ice-cream. Mobile is about having fun in a personalized way as much as it is about communication, and Google gets this, so hats off.

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