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Mobile World Congress rings the changes

  • Story Highlights
  • This year's Mobile World Congress, the biggest yet, is being held in Barcelona
  • All major players attend to see the latest technology, network and cut deals
  • Names include Robbie Bach, Geesung Choi, presidents of Microsoft and Samsung
  • Also there: Nokia's Niklas Savander and Research In Motion's co-CEO Jim Balsillie
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By CNN anchor Adrian Finighan
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BARCELONA, Spain (CNN) -- Greetings from Barcelona!

Samsung president Geesung Choi shows reporters a new phone at Mobile World Congress.

It could so easily have been "Greetings from Paris." The team and I made an unscheduled stop there after our flight from London was diverted when a fellow Mobile World Congress delegate fell ill somewhere over the English Channel. In all my years of flying it's the first time I've heard the ominous "Ladies and Gentlemen, is there a doctor aboard?" announcement from the flight deck.

The poor chap was wheeled onto an ambulance at Charles de Gaulle and, eventually, we resumed our journey to the Catalan capital arriving several hours later than scheduled. While I wish the patient a speedy return to good health I sincerely hope that he's not reading this in his sick bed for fear that the realization he's missing such an amazing experience might trigger a relapse.

The thing about the Mobile World Congress is that it's big. Very big. I am so glad that we elected to register for our press passes straight from the airport because on Monday morning the queue of journalists here to cover the event snaked right across one side of the Placa Espana, the enormous traffic island right outside the exhibition centre. For the duration of the Congress the buildings surrounding it are decked out in giant hoardings for companies like Samsung and Microsoft.

There is simply too much to see and do here. Four days just won't be enough. And the place is packed with people from all over the world, from the big fish right down to the minnows of the mobile industry, from the chief execs to the tech geeks. They're here to see the latest technology, to network, cut deals and meet old friends.

We're only two days in and already we've interviewed Robbie Bach, the president of Microsoft, Geesung Choi, the president of Samsung, Nokia's Niklas Savander and several of the industry's lesser-known but no less important players.

A special mention too for Research In Motion's co-CEO Jim Balsillie, someone I've interviewed several times "down the line" but until yesterday had never met. He's the most un-CEO-like CEO I've ever come across. He had us all roaring with laughter and was so generous with his time and expertise.

And, fingers crossed, look out for an exclusive CNN interview with Robert Redford. He's here at the Congress and I'm due to be speaking to him late Tuesday. I'll let you know how it goes when I blog again later in the week. And I'll tell you about some of the sleek new gadgets I've seen and exciting technologies on show.


I can't emphasise enough just how mind boggling the Mobile World Congress is in terms of its scale and the range of products, services and innovations on show. It's a reflection of the success and rapid growth enjoyed by this particular industry.

But, while you'll find most of the major players bullish about their prospects and ability to weather any economic slowdown, I would love to be able to fast forward 12 months to see just how many of the smaller players have made it through what promises to be a pretty tough year. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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