Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mobile World Congress 2014 -Summary & Conclusions

BARCELONA- Yes, it has been almost a month now since the end of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona so this post rationalizes a great deal on my thoughts about the event. As an exhibitor at the show this year, it takes that long to digest all the information and business leads!

As this is a short post, I will provide bit-sized thoughts only:

BEST DEVICE: No doubt, the device that impressed me the most was the LG Flex mobile phone with an ergonomic curved screen that maintains a great resolution and is an indication of things to come. We will eventually all want our tech to blend in unobtrusively with our environment and life, and being able to curve displays so as to fit our "round" world makes a great deal of sense to me. I hope we see more of this type of device and screen tech soon...

KEY TREND: This is not so much news, but more of a confirmation. It is here. "Connected everywhere" is no longer just a marketing slogan, but the presence of a whole range of companies that are not actually "mobile" is proof that connectivity is coming to a "thing" near you very soon (and this thing may include your iRoomba vacuum cleaner). This year, car manufacturers and connected cars on display have mushroomed at the show. This makes sense- the more expensive the "thing", the more justified is the investment in connectivity. Hacker attacks on Smart Fridges aside, this trend will continue and the MWC is likely to horizontally integrate more with a wide range of industries and products that will have nothing to do with the traditional mobile phone.

PRODUCT LAUNCHES: I was disappointed by Samsung's launch of the Galaxy S5 for two key reasons. One -we are at a Mobile show so please do not restrict access to your new device exclusively for the press. 74,000 other visitors wanted to get their grubby mitts on the device and couldn't. Annoying at best. Second- I'm not against natural evolutions of devices and agree that it is not necessary to re-invent the wheel at every product launch. However, do not make such a big song-and-dance over a product launch when in reality there are only gradual enhancements in the new product. This is just a way to raise expectations and then disappoint. And copying Apple is not an excuse to repeat this error.