Inevitably, I met a booth babe with a t-shirt that read, “Call Me Maybe.”
I’m at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - home of fine food, football and phones with the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year.
Why am I here? Our world is changing fast. We are at a critical inflection point as desktop computing shifts to mobile, and smart mobile devices become more and more ubiquitous. We are ushering in a new digital era where everyone will be on the move and always connected.
The change is happening so fast, blink and you may miss it. It’s already challenging the authority of established computing giants like Microsoft and pre-smartphone era stalwarts like Nokia.
Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE are chipping away at the authority of BlackBerry. Open-source operating systems are emerging as players in the race for mobile OS supremacy. Messaging apps like WhatsApp are stealing revenues away from network providers.
So I’m here to determine what’s happening and try to anticipate what’s next before reality slams me in the face.
So, here goes. These are the three top emerging mobile trends I’ve picked up here in Barcelona:
Most top tech brand showcase their latest products at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Of course, one big name is missing. Apple never attends shows like this.
And it feels like other companies are starting to follow suit.
The Verge's David Pierce says it feels like Samsung is starting to pull away. He notes that the Galaxy S4 will come out in two weeks in New York, though it did announce the Galaxy Note 8 in Barcelona. HTC unveiled its flagship phone last week. Google executives are in attendance, but the company does not have booth and announced its new Chromebook last week. And Pierce feels Nokia fell flat, failing to announce anything big.
So is the Mobile World Congress going the way of Las Vegas's Consumer Electronics Show?
Pierce says, ""There's a lot here but it seems like a show like this, and even CES, they're becoming traditional trade shows again where it's industry people coming to getting to know each other and make deals. There's a putting green upstairs just for making deals. It seems like, in a sense of big consumer show where we see the really exciting stuff, it's starting to slow or at least lull."
And there are many movers-and-shakers at MWC. Check out our Day 3 highlights below:
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley
PayPal President David Marcus
BlackBerry's Vivek Bhardwaj, the man behind BB10 OS
Plus, a fun look at how FC Barcelona reaches its fans through apps!
As you might imagine, mobile phones are front and center at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. We've already highlighted Nokia's big push with cheaper phones.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop also hinted the company is looking to launch a tablet. He told Kristie Lu Stout, "We're considering what's the right way to enter, if we were to enter. How do we differentiate in that market. How do we as confidently stand up with a tablet as we do with the Lumia smartphones. We want to make sure we understand all of that."
Three of the biggest new products at the show this year are tablets. They are the latest offerings from Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Sony.
HP is back in the tablet market with the 7-inch Slate 7. But CNNMoney's Adrian Covert says, "(It) is not a premium-grade tablet, nor a remarkably cheap device."
Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 takes aim at Apple's iPad Mini. Covert calls the Galaxy Note 8 "fast and speedy." But he notes that while 8 inches is small for a tablet, it's huge for a phone. It is still unclear if the phone-enabled version will be sold in the U.S.
Covert says Sony's Xperia Tablet Z could be the best tablet at the Mobile World Congress. And at 10.1 inches, it is also one of the biggest.
Among our other Day 2 highlights:
Discussing the rise of Chinese smartphones
Nvidia's Project SHIELD and its new vision for gaming on the go
Sitting down with Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's Senior Marketing Manager
News Stream is at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It's the mobile industry's biggest event of the year.
In the coming days, we will speak to the biggest names in the business, as we look for the software and gadgets that will dominate our lives in the years ahead.
On Day 1, we talked to Google's Matias Duarte. He's the Director of Android User Experience. And his description of the latest OS is both awesome and slightly scary.
Duarte says, "We've been rolling out amazing, powerful new features that are almost like a superpower. Like Google now with Jellybean. Your phone is actually your companion. It knows what you want to search for before you do and can offer that information."
A new report claims China's army is behind some of the world's most prolific computer hackers.
U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, says it tracked hacking activity to an area near Shanghai. Specifically, to a building used by a secret division of the Chinese military.
Mandiant calls the hacking group APT1. The report includes details about the methods used by APT1 to target its victims. It concludes the group operates with support from the Chinese government.
The company's vice president Grady Summers welcomed other researchers to scrutinize the data in the report. He said, "These accusations are not at all baseless. They are very well-rooted in fact, and very prudent actually."
China has questioned the evidence in the report. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei also denied allegations of hacking. He argues that China is a frequent victim of cyberattacks originating from the United States.
Summers concedes that hacking happens from all corners of the Internet. But he says, "We're stating very clearly that this is asymmetric, that China is attacking the U.S. on a scale like we've never seen before."
Mandiant counted 141 victims of APT1 over six years. Of those, 115 were based in the United States.
Usually when you hear about drones, it's in reference to an air strike on suspected militants.
But they've also been used by a filmmaker to capture incredible views of mountains in Pakistan.
In Kenya, conservationists hope drones can protect endangered rhinos from poachers.
And some drones are just fun toys. Even if they are difficult to fly.