For four days, the streets of Barcelona were flooded with mobile enthusiasts from every corner of the globe, looking to see what ground-breaking announcements would be coming out of Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC). Held from February 25th to February 28th, more than 72,000 attendees from 200 countries passed through the MWC entrance doors to see the future of mobile technology and rub elbows with like-minded mobile nerds and well-known keynote speakers. This year, MWC was a record-breaking event, as over 1,500 exhibitors displayed their latest innovations in the great halls of the new Fira location, which housed a wealth of seminars, showcases, big names and even bigger innovations.
But do record-breaking numbers mean that the show was a success? Here’s a quick overview of the top trends coming out of what’s arguably the most important mobile show of the year. We’ll let you judge whether MWC was a success this year…
The Flashy Trendsetters:
Mozilla announces Firefox OS– Mozilla took everyone by surprise by launching its Firefox operating system as a viable alternative to heavyweights Android and iOS, by breaking down the barriers between apps and Web pages as well as between developers and users. Mozilla chairman, Mitchell Baker, puts it best by saying: “We’re not trying to create a new platform. We have the platform; it’s the web.”
Samsung’s first “phablet” – The leading Android manufacturer stole the show with its new Galaxy Note 8.0, a tablet with phone capabilities, hence the portmanteau “phablet.” The new device has the media in a frenzy and we think consumers are sure to follow suit. The new device allows you to text, video chat, download a book, and surf the web, all at the same time, but most importantly, on a bigger screen. With the case of the new phablet, “bigger is better,” and Samsung is certainly ahead of the game.
Microsoft redefines with OS Windows Phone 8 – Windows Phone 8 creates the ultimate phone experience by allowing users to set up their own Microsoft ecosystem, and is also programmed to be upgradeable, unlike its Windows 7 counterpart. Touted to be the most personalized mobile gadget on the market, Windows Phone 8 is undoubtedly breaking into the Android and iOS scene, although only time will tell us whether it’s here to last.
Behind the Scenes Innovation:
While the gadgets and toys of MWC are never sparse, this year we definitely saw a dedicated focus on software innovations – and this is where the importance of security surfaced as a key concern in the mobile industry.
Big data, and protecting it, is an exponentially growing industry topic, and MWC brought in thought leaders to discuss the latest in privacy and data security. Attendees were given richer insights into how big data is influencing business patterns, starting trends, and helping increase efficiencies across all areas and platforms.
While mobile payments have been around for some time, no one has yet dominated the industry, until now – Visa and MasterCard revealed their new mobile payment platforms for business. Samsung will now manufacture devices that will come pre-installed with Visa’s payWave app. MasterCard released MasterPass, which will support checkout services for a variety of merchants through the use of NFC and QR codes.
Another focus of the event was brands showcasing how mobile can improve every aspect of our daily lives. GSMA unveiled its Connected City, where brands were invited to join in recreating a city street that showcased how machine-to-machine technology can increase the efficiency of daily life. AT&T showcased its energy consumption and home security management systems, while IBM demoed how mobile can create better public transportation. Lastly, Vodafone demonstrated how they can remotely control street lighting for maximum energy efficiency.
By the looks of the overwhelming display of innovation at this year’s Mobile World Congress, mobile users everywhere–720 million smartphones alone were sold last year–can be excited about where the industry is headed. Although, as our mobile lives become more and more advanced, it’s going to be up to each of us to take the protection of our data and online identities into our own hands. As the innovation within the industry improves so will the minds of cybercriminals so make sure that you protect each device you own with a comprehensive security solution–whether it’s an Android Phablet or in the next wave of flashy new mobile devices!
Listen to McAfee’s Lianne Caetano discuss security for your mobile device on Intel’s Chip Chat.