It's that time of year again. The Mobile World Congress is off and running in Barcelona, Spain, and tens of thousands of global mobile executives are talking up their phones, tablets, and other hyper-connected technology.
Of course, everyone wants to get their news out early when attendees are buzzing with excitement, and the press is chasing down rumors. Here's a quick overview of some of the news.
EE Times, an EBN sister publication, reported Sunday on HTC talking up its One Series of smartphones. One device features a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, and another uses Qualcomm's dual-core Snapdragon S4. Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. showed off what it calls the world's fastest handsets and tablets. Huawei said the devices use a new quad-core applications processor designed by its chip division.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) executives took the stage bright and early Monday morning and surprised people with its new 808 PureView camera phone. The wow factor comes in the form of a 41-megapixel sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology. To put this in perspective, Apple's iPhone 4S uses an eight-megapixel sensor.
Even if it's being built on the Symbian platform (which Nokia said it would support until 2016) and is not immediately available on Windows, it's good to hear Nokia executives talking about something that, at least on the surface, sounds innovative. This is especially true when you consider how much Nokia has been floundering these last few years -- something EBN has covered in-depth. (See: Nokia Cuts More, But Is It Enough?)
Additionally, Nokia unveiled the Lumia 610, which is aimed at a younger audience, and said its recently launched Lumia 900 will be available in markets beyond the US, including Canada and China. It also launched three Asha products (the 202, 203, and 302), expanding the reach and capabilities on its lower-end Series 40 feature phones.
The news wasn't limited to handset makers. Manufacturers now want everyone to believe the need for a fully connected mobile life touches every device in your personal space, including the grandaddy of them all: your car.
Ford Motor Co. used the mobile event to debut a car, and executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. delivered what conference organizers called his first keynote technology speech in Europe. He talked Monday evening about the "global gridlock" issue that comes with increased "urban mobility" and the possibility of having 4 billion cars on the road globally by the mid-century.
He called on the auto and mobile industries and governments to collaborate more closely on how vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and vehicle-to-cloud communications can be standardized across different platforms and autos. The goal is to connect mountains of data to increase public safety, address traffic congestion, and give consumers more hands-free technology options while reducing distractions. Ford Motor has started taking several steps in that direction, he said.
"We have cut our product cycle times dramatically. In your world, we're still dinosaurs, but we've gone from lifecycles of five to seven years to two to three years. We're building in inflection points into our platforms, so we can improve them without having to build a new car," the executive chairman said. "Before, technology was seen as an add-on and done by someone outside the company. Now technology is the differentiator and drives our business. Now there is a generation of executives in auto companies that get it. We need your help, and we're no longer going to keep you at arm's length and tell you, 'Come back in a few years.'"
Wondering what else will happen here? I'll have another on-the-ground update this week.