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Barcelona braces for Mobile World Congress (pictures)

The massive trade show devoted to mobile phones and networks doesn't officially start until Monday, but preparations are under way as the tech world descends on this Catalonian city.

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Stephen Shankland
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1 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Samsung flags at Mobile World Congress

With the rising importance of smartphones, the Mobile World Congress show has become an important event on the annual trade show circuit. It's mostly devoted to mobile phones and the networks that support them, but it's expanded to include tablets, connected cars, the Internet of things, and wearable computing. Samsung bought advertising space around the entrance to the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, where Mobile World Congress takes place.
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2 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Mobile World Congress registration line

Mobile World Congress, a big show with tens of thousands of attendees, has barriers set up to channel attendees toward the registration area.
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3 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Huawei entertainment at Mobile World Congress

Chinese phone and network gear manufacturer Huawei entertained Barcelona residents and visitors at the Placa Catalunya with music on Saturday, two days before Mobile World Congress officially began.
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4 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S5 billboard

Samsung is expected to unveil its new flagship Android phone, the Galaxy S5, during Mobile World Congress on Monday at one of its "Unpacked" events. The company also likely will show new smartwatches.
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5 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sony promo at Mobile World Congress

Sony purchased much of the advertising space between the train station and the Fira Gran Via, where Mobile World Congress takes place. Here, it shows off its wearable computing device, the Core.
The Mobile World Congress show moved to Barcelonaâ??s Fira Gran Via in 2013, a more spacious venue than the earlier site downtown.
6 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Newer digs for Mobile World Congress

The Mobile World Congress show moved to Barcelona's Fira Gran Via in 2013, a more spacious venue than the earlier site downtown.
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7 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Airport ad during Mobile World Congress

For travelers coming to Mobile World Congress, the show begins at the airport with plenty of advertising -- in this case for Samsung's Knox security technology for Android.
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8 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Mobile World Congress cyclist

A cyclist rides past the Mobile World Congress entrance, still empty before the throngs of attendees arrive Monday.
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9 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Barcelona braggadocio

Barcelona in 2012 had to bid against other European cities to keep Mobile World Congress. It won, and now brags that it's the "mobile world capital."
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10 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Fira Gran Via at Mobile World Congress

The Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, home of Mobile World Congress, features a vast building clad with curvaceous concrete.
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11 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Hard hats, please

Mobile World Congress already has hundreds of people on site -- but they're mostly wearing hard hats and fluorescent safety vests.
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12 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Mobile World Congress entrance

The Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, home of Mobile World Congress.

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