First Thoughts from Mobile World Congress (MWC)

After 48 hours of the show it’s possible to draw some early conclusions.

Undoubtedly devices still remain a huge draw – people always love to look at the new gadgets. Highlights include new products from Samsung, LG, Nokia and Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson’s X1 Windows Mobile phone can be regarded as one of the biggest news items at the show. Not only is the X1 an interesting piece of hardware (albeit a bit niche) but it marks a new direction for Sony Ericsson. The decision to work with Microsoft immediately raises questions about SE’s own platform – Symbian / UIQ.

Despite attendees’ love of hardware the show is definitely taking on a growing software theme. It started to emerge last year; it’s got bigger this year and will be even more prominent next year. An increasing proportion of devices are based on open platforms and everyone is lining up new strategies in this area. Operators Vodafone and Orange talked about their device platform programmes while the web players are busy delivering mobile versions of their web offerings.

As for services, music has been a big theme – this reflects the current crisis in the music industry and its desperate need to find new business models – a market where over a billion new connected devices get sold annually is too attractive to ignore and all you can eat music services are the latest trend.