Mobile World Congress wrapup

I spent the week at MWC in Barcelona this past week.  I made my way to a bunch of booths and companies.  It was a huge show.


Here are some thoughts:

  • Phone Operating Systems
    • There were many new phones released at the show.  LG announced 50 phones, Samsung had 22 more, Sony/Ericcson announced a new suite of walkman phones, and even Acer announced new phones.  Which each new announcement, you saw that they are all using Windows Mobile.  Windows mobile is EVERYWHERE.  Regardless what you think about it, you can’t deny its traction in the marketplace.  It seems again that Apple will be the better device but Windows will be on more.
    • Windows Mobile is not a good OS for the phone.  It’s bloated and has way too many menus but there aren’t alot of options.  For this reason, i’m hopeful for Android.  Even the new 6.5 still uses 8-bit graphics.
    • There were barely any Android phones at the show and almost no coverage about it – if it’s the new phone of the future, you wouldn’t know it by this show. It seems that very few handset manufacturers are planning on using it. I was surprised
    • Nobody wanted to say it, but the iPhone still kicks the crap out of almost every phone at the show.  Only Blackberry is close. Nokia is getting there too.
  • Microsoft – I went to their booth to check out Live, Windows Mobile 6.5 and My Phone:
    • Microsoft Live – i aksked their expert to give me the demo and explain to me why i should care.  He showed me MSN messenger, Hotmail, their photo tool and i kept asking, “why should i care?” and he could never give me an answer.  There is nothing special here.  I think this suite is a good metaphor for the company itself.  Internet 1.0
    • Windows 6.5 – It is an improvement over 6.1 but it’s still worse than iPhone. They tried hard to make it like the iPhone but worked just as hard to make it not exactly like it.   Instead of a grid of applications, it’s a honeycomb layout.  My big disappointment is that 6.5 isn’t released until mid 2009.  That’s exactly 2 years after the iPhone launch and it’s still inferior.  I don’t think they’ll ever get it together.
    • The App Store – i was equally excited about this but the big problem is that this isn’t even scheduled to be ready untl late 2009.  They didn’t even have screenshots of it.  Even the MS rep joked that it was typical Microsoft vaporware.
    • My Phone – this is the one thing that i liked from Miscrosoft. It sends all your information from your phone up to the cloud.  You can access it online (numbers, calendar, messages).  You can even search your text messages online.  That’s cool. Of course it’s not tied into Live (see above) because that would make too much sense.
  • Yahoo!
    • they have an app for Blackberry and iPhone.   The app has a “Pulse” which can connect to other social networks and list your friends’ status and activity.  Very much like Plaxo Pulse – even the same name (although nobody in the Yahoo booth had heard of Plaxo).   it’s pretty cool but nothing revolutionary.
    • Remember the days when Yahoo was competing with Google? They are now so far behind that it’s not even funny – especially on mobile. Google has an mobile OS, location-aware apps, Maps on every device, and mobile sites for mail, docs, and tasks.  Yahoo! on the other hand has a huge booth to announce that they now have an application that displays news, mail and RSS feeds.  I’m not impressed.
  • Some other companies i saw:
    • ARM – this is a British company that makes processors.  They compete with Intel but on small devices like cell phones and mp3 players.  Among their typical devices, they also looking to get the chips into laptops.  Not as a replacement processor but as an addition.  The idea is that if you are only going to be surfing the web, you can switch to the ARM processor and get around 19 hours of power.  Whoa
    • Omnifone – this is a Rhapsody type service specifically for mobile phones. They have worldwide liceses from the labels and is working on all Sony/Ericcson phones.  They claim to have a US service at the end of ’09.  I was also amazed how uninformed they were about Rhapsody.
    • TruPhone – a great skype-like app.  It’s an app that that lets you make international calls from your  phone over the internet to get low rates.  It’s a good integration in that if you call someone’s TruPhone app, it rings your regular phone and if both people have the app, it’s completely free.  It’s like Skype but made specifically for phones rather than desktops.
    • Samsung.  They have a Blue Earth phone which is a very cool environment friendly phone.  It has solar panels on its back and is made out of recyleable materials.  I was excited to see it but was pretty disappointed to find that it was only a prototype and they haven’t actually made any of these phones.

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