Perhaps the only thing more bewildering about yet another “major” technology conference is a major technology conference on another continent. But Mondays start of the Mobile World Congress is worth watching from a newspaper perspective.
Which, of course, is why I’ll be there.
News desks always see a flurry of wire reports on new gizmos and dire prediction when techies gather for CES, Apple’s WWDC or TED. Of course, we have to surreptitiously check Wikipedia to make sure those initials don’t just identify alien-worshipping cults. The aliens at the MWC, however, will be Americans like me because the huge gathering in Barcelona focuses on a technology sector in which our country has minority voice.
Minority voice, but a huge stake. Our unique system that gave cell phone service providers almost absolute control of what handsets were available left the United States way behind the rest of the world in mobile technology. Now, however, American consumers are demanding what others have had for years. And they want it now.
Starting Monday we should see a flood of new smartphones (even “super smartphones”), yet another operating system, screens you can read in sunlight, mobile banking systems, ranks of Androids and all sorts of mobile television. I hope that among the thousands of booths, experts and demonstrations that I can get a better handle on how soon even Average Joe will be surfing the Web one-handed. I’ll also look for the less-sexy technology that can help us deliver news to the nearly 80% of American’s with app-less “dumbphones” while we are waiting for the whizz-bang technology to become dominant.
If the snow lets up enough for me to make my flight connections, I’ll be blogging from MWC several times daily. I’ve set up a Flickr photo gallery, linked at the right side of the blog. And our MobileNews discussion list is active even if the text below the list archive widget says it isn’t.
Let me know if I can dig up answers for you in Barcelona. Opportunity is calling. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).