Mobile apps, Google Android and new handsets rumoured
Mobile World Congress 2010 kicks off in Barcelona on Monday. Natasha Lomas sets out her predictions for what is likely to be big at this year's show.
MWC is the mobile industry's flagship annual conference - the CES for handset junkies and network addicts. Pretty much anyone who's anyone in mobile (with the notable exception of Apple) will be making as much noise as possible, along with countless mobile minnows hoping for their big break.
Mobile World Congress has been taking place in Europe since 1995 but in recent years it has undergone a name tweak and relocated to Barcelona from Cannes. You'll still hear plenty of industry professionals refer to the event by its old name, 3GSM - rest assured they mean MWC.
Congress' current home is the Fira de Barcelona - the city's sprawling trade show exhibition space, consisting of multiple halls and labyrinthine corridors, offering 365,000 square metres of floor space for the mobile industry to converge upon, colonise, strut their stuff and show their wares. This year more than 1,500 exhibitors are expected to be taking the wraps off their booths. It's big, it's busy, and headache-free navigation is all but impossible.
This year MWC takes place on 15 to 18 February - 3.5 days fully focused on the world of mobile with around 50,000 attendees expected this year.
But that doesn't mean all the fun is restricted to Fira: for those few days it's impossible to avoid the hoards of mobile-wielding, lanyard-wearing pilgrims around the city, while the grandest boulevards are plastered with mobile-related adverts.
This year will be my third trip to MWC and - casting an eye over the keynotes, press conferences, events and exhibitors - here's my round-up of some of the highlights and big themes to look out for this year...
Mobile applications might themselves be small morsels of software but there's nothing small about the impact apps are having on the mobile space this year. The 'apps-plosion' has not gone unnoticed by MWC's organisers - the GSMA - and apps are on the MWC map in a big way. They're getting their own event-within-the-main-event - grandly dubbed App Planet, with hyperbole - and random capitalisation - to match: "We will make App Planet the new Centre of the Apps Universe for the four days of Mobile World Congress."