BARCELONA- With the MWC only a few weeks away, the questions that are on the minds of those following the congress are:
-Who will be at the MWC?
-Who will not be there?
-What will be the buzz of the show this year?
This year I will be attending the congress for the fifth (or is it sixth?) time and the biggest insight I get of what is happening in mobile is to see the variations at the MWC year on year.
Last year, I summarised the show and stated how innovation was not top of the agenda. This year, I can see that expectations are pretty high about new device releases. These miss the point. MWC is NOT a gadget show. Until 3 years ago, it really was all about operators and infrastructure (and the penning of mega-size deals at the show).
Then content became king, and what used to be a minnow within the mobile ecosystem came to have a voice. This year, developers and content owners really will rule the show -just one developer conference, WipJam, had over 3000 attendees registering.
So, who will be at the MWC?
-Most big names you'd expect -Samsung is expected to have a giant stand again this year, Microsoft will be touting its wares prominently as well and ZTE and Huawei are expected to be present en masse as well.
Who will not be there?
-Blackberry is rumoured to not have a stand this year, Apple will be absent again and Google´s Eric Schmidt will not be there either (though presumably Android will still have a large exhibition space like last year).
What will be the buzz be?
-Overall tablets should draw more attention than smartphones (but this is not a gadget show!), Mozilla will launch its own Firefox OS and Windows 8 will get the corporate market excited if some good devices are on show (consumers may not drool over Windows 8 just yet due to the lack of appealing apps in Marketplace).
Apart from all this, I am really hoping that cool apps and services will get lots of attention at the show by showcasing inspirational innovation -I'd like to see more about contextual search (visual search and voice search) and hybrid solutions (for example, car apps that connect, M2M style, to the car´s onboard computer).