"Congress" usually isn't a word that inspires excitement, but the Mobile World Congress is anything but usual. Held every February in Barcelona, Spain, it is the the premier global event for the wireless industry. Think of a smaller CES, but pack it with only smartphones, tablets, and everything mobile, and you'll get the idea. Then, drop it all in one of the world's most seductive cities -- sorry, Las Vegas -- and you wind up with a most exciting tech show.
But there's another very good reason why Mobile World Congress (MWC) is worth your attention: You'll actually be able to buy many of the smartphones that show up here (well, not at the show, but definitely over the next few months). That's been true since the first time I attended the show in 2008 (see the slideshow below for proof), and it will be true this year, thanks to our friends from Korea, Finland, and elsewhere. Here's what we expect from them in just a few days.
When Samsung schedules one of its signature "Unpacked" events, the news is guaranteed be huge (trivia: one of Samsung's first "Unpacked" events was at the 2010 Mobile World Congress). Indeed, we expect to see the
Though Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's phone business has yet to close, Nokia has invited us to meet "under the tree" in Barcelona. I won't try to read the invitation's tree leaves to closely, but rumors predict that Nokia will show up with an (gasp) Android phone. Yes, you read that correctly, the company that gave
The company formerly known as Sony Ericsson skipped a formal presser in 2013, but it's back this year with a real event. The rumor mill hasn't been as noisy here, but I'd expect a new Xperia tablet running
LG is going into Mobile World Congress with five new phones that it revealed just this month alone: The G Pro 2, the G2 Mini, the L90, the L70, and the L40. Barcelona will give us the chance to see those handsets in person for the first time, plus anything else new that LG brings.
Who else will have toys...and who won't?
Huawei will have a press conference on Sunday where it could reveal a smartwatch, and Motorola will hold a presser Tuesday night. Moto promises only an "update on the business" (so, no new phones). Throughout the week, we'll also see new devices from ZTE, hear more about Mozilla's Firefox OS, and peruse the wares from
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg probably won't come to MWC bearing a new
So, what shouldn't I miss?
I know that's a lot to digest, and that's only what's to come from the major players (look also for plenty of news from startups working far on the mobile frontier). As we have for the past few years, CNET will be on the ground in Barcelona to bring you all the new gadgets in words, pictures, and video. In fact, MWC has grown so big and so important that we're sending our largest team ever (25 editors from four countries) including our first contingent from CNET en Espanol. Brace yourselves, smartphone fans, you're in for a ride.
If you're planning to follow along (and there's no reason why you shouldn't), here are the MWC press conferences CNET is live blogging. Though officially the show runs from Monday, Feb. 24, to Thursday, Feb. 27, the fun really begins this Sunday night.