Mobile World Congress Preview: All About Android
Mobile World Congress -- the global annual gathering of mobile mavericks -- kicks off in Barcelona, Spain on Feb. 15 but is already being anointed as an All-About-Android affair. Though new smartphones, mobile devices and mobile applications of all kinds are sure to surface at the conference, industry watchers say Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) open source platform Android will grab the lion's share of headlines. Given the worldwide scope of the conference, many of the mobile devices unveiled at MWC won't arrive on U.S. shores for some time, but the show still offers a preview of what the industry can expect to see in the next generation of smartphones and wireless technology trends.
"We expect Android to dominate this year's event with a plethora of device announcements and more than 50 devices on the show floor in a variety of designs from a diverse range of manufacturers. In particular, we expect device launches from Alcatel, Dell, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and ZTE," the mobile research and consulting firm staff CCS Insights stated in a MWC preview note.
BlackBerry OS: RIM to Unveil New Mobile Internet Browser?Despite the anticipated Android buzz, Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) may make a splash at the event, with CSS Insights noting that CEO Mike Lazaridis, in a break from tradition, is attending. There's a chance that RIM will show off a new mobile browser -- RIM acquired Torch Mobile in August of 2009 to improve its mobile Internet experience. Since then, reports surfaced saying that the company would trot out a new mobile browser in "early 2010."
In addition to a slew of new Android-powered devices and the increased participation of RIM, CCS Insights is also predicting that vendors will be giving mobile app developers a lot more attention than in years past. This is evidenced by a new forum dedicated to mobile apps, dubbed App Planet, that will host presentations from Vodafone, RIM, Google and the Wireless Industry Partnership. "An acute awareness that any store or platform is only as strong as the developers who support it will see a broad range of players, from operators and manufacturers to platform providers and content distributors, courting the developer community," says the CCS Insight preview note. "This year's Mobile World Congress will mark the start of a shake-up of the fragmented software store landscape. Most developers have limited financial and work force resources, so prioritizing which platforms and distributors to support will be a hot topic." Other hot trends expected at MWC include multimode input developments, such as voice search and enhanced touchscreen technology; location-based and context-aware apps and services with mobile augmented reality leading the pack; and alternative infrastructure solutions for handling wireless network capacity, such as femtocells and LTE. On the smartphone OS front, Microsoft is expected to debut Windows Mobile 7. The stakes are high: Redmond needs to wow the wireless industry as the resurgence of its mobile division relies on the success of the updated OS and related smartphones.