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Mobile World Congress returns, focusing on 'The Next Element'

The show floor will also include a number of exhibits focusing on specific technology areas

Image Credit: REUTERS
People are seen near the main entrance during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Gulf News

Barcelona: The Mobile World Congress is back for the 12th year in Barcelona to woo the world with the latest in mobile technology.

More than 2,200 companies are displaying their latest products and technologies, each with hopes of defining the future of mobile industry.

“Over the past three decades, mobile has evolved from an emerging communications technology to a phenomenon that is now at the foundation of everything we do,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer at GSMA, a trade group that represents the interests of around 800 mobile operators worldwide.

“It has inextricably changed how we communicate, interact, work and play as individuals, and it’s transforming entire industries, bringing new levels of productivity and efficiency to enterprises,” he said.

While last year’s theme was “Mobile is Everything”, the focus this year is on mobile as “The Next Element”.

Major brands participating this year include AOL, Cisco Systems, Ford, Google, HTC, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Lenovo, LG, and Microsoft. Taking part for the first time is automaker BMW, which will be showcasing its driverless technology.

Brands that have previously attended — and dominated coverage — like Samsung, HTC and Xiaomi are scaling back entirely.

Samsung usually launches its Galaxy S series at MWC, but this year, the company is holding the S8 event in New York next month.

Data traffic

Operators at the show will also be looking for technologies that help them ensure their networks can handle the ever-increasing volumes of data traffic generated by video content, including live streaming video content.

While 5G, the next evolution of mobile technology after 4G or LTE, is expected to be high on the agenda as a solution, its commercialisation is still years away, said Edward Lin, a senior analyst with.

The GSMA has confirmed more than a dozen new keynote speakers for the four-day conference programme, including Eric Xu (Xu Zhijun), Deputy Chairman of the Board, Rotating CEO of Huawei; Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai; Masayoshi Son, Founder, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank; and Reed Hastings, CEO and Founder of Netflix.

The show floor will also include a number of exhibits focusing on specific technology areas, including the App Planet Exhibition, Graphene Pavilion, Green Pavilion, IoT Pavilion, Mobile Money Pavilion, NEXTech, and Wearables Pavilion.

A Women4Tech Summit will be held on Thursday. Senior-level speakers from companies such as Accenture, Bharti Airtel, Facebook, IFC (Worldbank), SAP, Turner, Google and others, will discuss integrating gender equality into mainstream work environments and share strategic advice on how to empower gender diversity in mobile and related industries.

The four-day event will run from February 27 to March 2, 2017.


What to expect:

• Samsung, instead of Galaxy S8, will launch 9/7-inch Galaxy Tab S3 with keyboard.

• Sony may unveil five new smartphones, including a new flagship with a 5.5-inch 4K display, optimised for virtual reality.

• Huawei will unveil P10, p10 Plus, MateBook and Huawei Watch 2.

• LG will unveil G6, mid-range GX Power 2 and smartwatch watch with latest Android Wear 2.0.

• Nokia will unveil five new phones — Nokia P1, 3, 5, 6 and the iconic 3310

• ZTE will show off one of the first gigabit LTE smartphones.

• Lenovo will show off its Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus.

• Alcatel is expected to unveil five new smartphones.

• BlackBerry will its last QWERTY keyboard Mercury