Memeburn’s MWC 2012 wrap up

If you don’t care much for geo-social, NFC enabled, HTML5, mcommerce-ready, open API, LTE, quad core devices you may have not enjoyed it as much as this cloud-based, always on, roaming, multi-tasking, networker. Either way the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was a blast.

With the final day now over here are a few things that caught our attention:

There are thousands of exhibitors but only a handful of megastands: the mobile world players whose moves signal the direction for so many other companies. The Android, Samsung and Nokia displays are the most consistently populated while the BlackBerry stand, despite being an impressive one, was pretty sparse. And then of course Apple continued its MWC tradition of not pitching. No doubt it is outthinking the whole conference from the blue ocean comfort of 1 Infinite Loop on the eve of the iPad 3 launch while the rest of the mobile planet thrashes it out in crimson waters.

Android probably does the best job of engaging delegates, with mini app stands hosted by the actual developer of the app on display. With around 250 Googlers and app developers in the Android room we could confidently say that we were contributing negatively to the average IQ. And in an Eric Schmidt world the trend towards US$20 smartphones will almost certainly see this Android army swelling in ranks.

There is still a lot of evidence of applications becoming more location sensitive with everything from exercise assistants like Endomondo which tracks and rewards your personal best to taxi hailing software. These types of apps have been around for a few years now but seem to be getting more sophisticated as they gain a higher quantity of more demanding users.

On the auxiliary iPhone hardware side we found plug-in breathalysers and an iPhone device which tells you how dry your skin is (apparently I am at 30%).

Kiip, the in-game rewards platform had a presence via its EMEA regional director, Eamon Carey, who was also a speaker here. Eamon and team go a step beyond in-game advertising by offering brands the ability to reward consumers at key points in a game via a variety of means. With Kiip a brand can, for example, open up levels of a game which users would otherwise have to pay for, they can send the player a coupon for completing a certain amount of levels and even reward mega multi-player gamers with high ticket items.

Both Nokia and Samsung are following Apple’s lead by taking education a lot more seriously, with Samsung showing off its full ecosystem of electronic devices like flat screens, tablets and phones. In Samsung’s case, students can have a mobile social profile, get material delivered to their tablet, be tutored from a large touch screen and complete tests and tutorials on the platform remotely. The teacher becomes more of a facilitator and coach instead of a delivery portal.

From WindowsPhone promising to “smoke” everyone’s phone to Huawei launching the fastest smartphone ever (the Ascend), speed was a strong theme at this years conference. The other bit of handset muscle came in the form of Nokia’s 808, a ridiculous 41 megapixels in a phone.

With all of the genuine innovation and complex engineering around it was incredible to see how something as mindless as Angry Birds is still one if the most dominant ‘apps’ around. While others are trying to use mobile to move the human race forward, Rovio, the games house behind the phenomenon, are driving a huge amount of revenue around the act of launching birds at stuff.

So it’s been three days of hearing about more speed, more monetisation, more transactions, more resolution and of course more apps. We have traversed around 40 acres of exhibition space, seen that there is indeed an app for everything and heard the phrase “cloud-based” roll off everyone’s tongues at least once.



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