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Barcelona prepares for Mobile World Congress (photos)

CNET is back in Barcelona for another Mobile World Congress. The show doesn't open till Monday, but preparations are in full swing at the exhibition center and across town.

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Kent German

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Welcome to Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain--CNET has landed in Barcelona for another Mobile World Congress. In between trying to recover from jet lag on Saturday, we traveled over to the Fira de Montjuic, where the show takes place. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed inside the grounds early this year, but we were able to catch glimpses of the massive wireless show coming together. Though the main entrance gates are quiet now, thousands of attendees will begin swarming through when the show opens on Monday.
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Twin towers

The Fira (aka exhibition center) is at the foot of Montjuic, a large hill on the edge of town with museums, parks, a historic castle, and the stadium for the 1992 Olympic Games. Just opposite the twin towers that look like they were transplanted from Venice is Placa Espanya, one of Barcelona's main transit hubs.
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Big place

With eight halls, a central avenue, and several pavilions, the Fira is a big place, and Mobile World Congress fills every bit of it. The show has become so large, in fact, that it will move next year to the Fira Europa, a new and much larger complex a few miles west between Barcelona and the airport.
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Down the avenue

A look down the avenue from the opposite end shows the various halls and temporary structures that house exhibits and meeting rooms.
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Hall 8

At the entrance to Hall 8, where most of the handset manufacturers have their stands, Huawei is using a Pegasus to promise that something incredibly fast is about to take off. It's a new Ascend model, obviously, but what exactly will it bring?
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Phoney horse

Nearby you'll find a sculpture of Huawei's winged horse mascot made entirely out of cell phones.
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Sony's domain

As in previous years, Hall 6 is the exclusive domain of Sony. Though preshow leaks have been few, the company should unveil at least two new Xperia smartphones. We'll find out more at the company's press conference on Sunday evening.
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Hall 7

Across from Sony is Hall 7. Not only will it hold the Mobile World Congress App Planet but it will also be Nokia's home in Barcelona.
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Nokia flags

Nokia has a string of flags fluttering on top of the building.
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The Font Magica

As you continue to climb Montuic to the Catalan Museum of Art, you can see the full expanse of the venue. The "Font Magica" in the foreground puts on a pretty awesome water and light show a few times throughout the day.
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Galaxy Note advertisement

Though Samsung isn't hosting a press conference this year, the company isn't shy about showing its face around town. This huge poster for the Galaxy Note hangs above Placa Catalunya, the city's central square at the top of La Rambla.
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Exhibit center for the Note

In Placa Catalunya, Samsung set up a temporary exhibit center for the Note, where you can experience the phablet for yourself.
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Portrait time

Or if you like, you can have an artist draw your portrait on the Note.
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Banners

Banners along the Passieg de Gracia welcome the world to Barcelona and Mobile World Congress.

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