Software, Components Upstage Hardware at MWC

This week, two EBN bloggers, Marc Herman and Jennifer Baljko, who, respectively, write the Asia Time and Logical Link blogs, are on the ground at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Asia Time will be bringing you multimedia coverage from the conference while Logical Link will focus on the supply chain stories coming out of the mobile industry's biggest yearly event.

In this first installment, we focus on expectations from the industry and how many players in the sector see continuing growth and expansion for the immediate future. This is the fifth year that Barcelona will be hosting the conference, and organizers are expecting thousands of visitors from OEMs, components manufacturers, and software developers. Leaders in mobile technology, including {complink 3847|Nokia Corp.}, {complink 4751|Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.}, and {complink 12925|Motorola Mobility Inc.}, are expected to attend.

Although the focus of the industry is on new mobile platforms, many analysts expect participants will be particularly interested in the components that go into devices such as tablet computers and the supply chain that supports these products. Software vendors are also in focus due to the growing role user interfaces play in consumer buying decisions.

This represents a major change from five years ago when the conference was first hosted in Barcelona. The attention at the time was mainly directed at hardware design, and the theme centered on look and feel rather than on performance and software interface. Companies like {complink 379|Apple Inc.} helped change the tone completely, and, whereas everyone understands hardware is still the foundation of mobile products, differentiation is now accepted to be based on software.

However, for supply chain professionals, components remain at the core of their interest in the Mobile World Congress. They continue to seek parts that offer design speed, ensure smooth manufacturing, and guarantee production speed to help them gain time-to-market advantage. See our first video report from the conference below.

3 comments on “Software, Components Upstage Hardware at MWC

  1. AnalyzeThis
    February 14, 2011

    You know, while I do agree with you that there's a far bigger focus on the software and interface design than in the past… and that the importance of the hardware has decreased somewhat now that the hardware has “caught up.”

    But despite software upstaging hardware, there are still some interesting hardware happenings! For example, I've been reading about Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors over on PCMag… it's quite exciting to read about mobile processors that can do 3D video playback/capture and playback 1080p.

    So while it's true that everyone is talking about software since that's the “cool” thing right now and lowering supply costs isn't “sexy,” there's still plenty of innovation and R&D going down in the mobile hardware space. But we've certainly reached the point where everyone realizes that it's not the technical specs which matter as much as the software you're able to use on that hardware.

  2. eemom
    February 15, 2011

    Software is what the users see so it is natural that it would get more attention.  Its the hardware though that enables all the cool features that developers are able to implement.  There are plenty of advancements happening in hardware but are probably dwarfed by the “sexiness” of the software advances.



  3. t.alex
    February 17, 2011

    Some software advances really require major hardware breakthroughs. Many years ago, who would have thought of touch screen or gyroscope for handphone?

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