Thursday, February 14, 2008
A gadget addict's playground
CNN's Adrian Finighan (left), Neil Bennet (center-left) and Alysen Miller (right) meet Robert Redford at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The stands are being dismantled. The delegates are drifting away to prepare for the journey home. Relationships have been strengthened and new ones begun. And so, after four frenetic days, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is over for another year.
I sincerely hope to be back. As trade fairs go this one is pretty special. Wherever you are and whatever you do, if you use mobile technology in any way, shape, or form what happened here in Barcelona this week will impact your life.
From the phone that you’ll upgrade to, to the software you’ll use. From the applications and content you’ll download to the network infrastructure innovations you’ll use without even knowing it. It all debuted right here at this show.
But while it’s all so very exciting, the journalist in me is frustrated. I could have filled hours of airtime with coverage of what went on here. Being the premier industry showcase, the big fish in mobile technology are all here and freely available to those of us here to cover it.
And while our reporting told you everything you need to know about the main issues of the day, the constraints of TV and the Web mean that I was only able to scratch the surface!
And I haven’t even mentioned the little guys. There are so many smaller companies with fascinating stories to tell and exciting products to push that I’d have needed a whole year of airtime to give you a true flavor of the show. Such is the life of a TV reporter!
So, what did I enjoy most? Well, meeting and interviewing Robert Redford, urbane and articulate as always, was a high point. And chatting with industry big-wigs and CEOs like Sunil Mittal of Bharti, Jim Balsillie of RIM, Samsung’s Geesung Choi. And with Dan Harple of GyPSii, a mobile social networking platform which, I’m willing to bet, will soon be as big a phenomenon as Facebook. Bigger, perhaps.
And of course there were the phones, the new "iPhone killers." My Palm Treo 650 is looking a little tired and if Apple doesn’t release a 3G version of its iPhone anytime soon I’ll be choosing Samsung’s gorgeous new "Soul." Or one of Nokia’s new GPS-equipped beauties. And if I can hang on just a little longer I could take possession of the sublime new Garmin GPS phone which will ship later this year.
I loved the mobile software company that was marketing an application that offered real-time translations of both SMS and voice calls, just like the babel fish in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
But, for me at least, the most exciting innovation on show was the Femtocell, the small white box that may sound the death knell for fixed line telephony. Remember where you read about it first.
Time for me to head back to London. So, until February 2009 and next year’s Mobile World Congress, it’s adios Barcelona!
Watch my report on the Femtocell here.
-- From CNN Anchor Adrian Finighan in Barcelona
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