Feb. 28, 2011
by Mark Ollig
Barcelona, Spain played host to more than 50,000 people from more than 200 countries, attending the 2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC).
This year’s gathering of some of the largest players in the mobile industry took place Feb. 14 - 17.
The number of companies showcasing their mobile technology throughout eight exhibition halls inside the Fira Barcelona venue was nearly 1,500.
The MWC provides a setting for mobile industry networking, new business opportunities, and technical presentations.
In conjunction with MWC, more than 12,000 mobile application (app) software developers, content providers, and mobile device manufacturers participated in the App Planet conferences.
More than 200 exhibitors, about 45,000 visitors, and 11 App Developer conferences took place.
The App Planet exhibit areas and forums focused on four mobile area themes:
• Embedded Mobile - This theme focused on increasing wireless connectivity in more consumer electronic devices.
• Green Tech - In an effort to motivate the decision-makers, this forum presented alternatives using green technology to conserve energy usage and costs.
• Mobile Money - More people are using mobile apps for their bank account activities. This forum discussed technology standardization among mobile financial institution apps.
• Mobile Health - Showcasing creative solutions for remote healthcare using mobile services, this forum talked about how mobile health is able to reduce costs and increase the accessibility of healthcare’s reach on a global scale. Indeed, mobile healthcare is now meeting up wirelessly with the Internet cloud.
Get ready for CloudCare, coming soon to a mobile device near you.
App Planet says, it “will continue to bring together the many critical elements of the broad mobile app ecosystem in one location.”
Many of the mobile devices at MWC included computing tablets, smart phones, new apps, and other mobile adjunct technologies.
What about Apple iPhones? Well, Apple no longer attends these kinds of events so the focus was not on Apple, but you can bet Apple’s competitors at MWC were doing their best to shift some of the spotlight onto their own wares.
Not all mobile tablets have 9.7-inch display screens like the Apple iPad. Many of the mobile venders and manufacturers at MWC presented a variety of screen-sized tablets ranging from 4 to 10 inches.
The MWC was not just about showing off mobile devices either.
Some of the leading names in technology were in Barcelona, and presented keynote “thought leadership” conferences and participated in discussion panels.
Company CEOs and presidents speaking at MWC included those of Twitter, AT&T, Intel, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, HTC, Nokia, and 12 others.
According to AT&T’s Chief Technology Officer John Donovan, stored information will continue to migrate from our devices to the Internet cloud.
Donovan (and your humble columnist) feels the move to cloud-based computing will continue to grow to the point where we will be able to access all of our personal information and data content from any device connected to the cloud.
Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, spoke at length about his company’s vision of the mobile future.
He talked about the quickened pace of innovation and provided some interesting statistics.
Today, there are about 700 million pubic servers connected to the Internet and half of all new connections to the Internet, are from mobile devices.
By 2013, mobile data traffic will increase 66 times from what is used today, and mobile smartphones will surpass global personal computers in total sales.
Using the abundant memory storage available across cloud computing data servers, an SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) memory card will eventually no longer be needed. Instead of having a SIM to retain information in a mobile phone, the subscriber information will be accessible from the cloud.
He also stressed, there is much more memory and processing power available using the cloud, allowing newer voice recognition apps to work more efficiently.
Schmidt says to think of cloud information storage as being “replicated,” not simply “copied.”
Google’s own voice language translation apps are almost to the point of allowing a two-way conversation on the phone, while each person’s unique language is translated instantly into the other’s language.
This triggered my recollection of the Tower of Babel story.
Google’s Search by Voice app uses powerful audio recognition engines and understands English, Mandarin, Japanese and German.,
Google’s Goggles app, which yours truly wrote a full column about Dec. 14, 2009, is a mobile phone visual search app.
The following is an example of their newly advanced Goggles mobile visual search app.
Say you were on a European vacation and find yourself looking down at a menu written in German.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to read German.
Just hold your mobile phone over the German text and take a picture. This new app instantly translates (onto your phone’s screen) the German menu text into your language preference, using the power of cloud computing. A successful demonstration of this was shown at MWC.
Google also spoke of its Android open platform software for mobile devices as a merger of computing, connectivity, and the cloud.
The complete Google MWC presentation can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/yg7nc3v.
The Mobile World Congress website is: http://www.mobileworldcongress.com.