3GSM 2007: Five reasons to be cheerful about Barcelona's mobile expo

3GSM 2007, Mobile phones

3gsm.jpgNext week is when the mobile industry decamps to Barcelona en masse, to launch their new products, talk shop, and send shamefaced flowers to their other halves (it clashes with Valentine’s Day, see).

3GSM 2007 looks like being the biggest yet, with all the big mobile firms getting set to show off their wares. Tech Digest will be there, roaming the exhibition nosing out the latest mobile phones, technology and content amid the hubbub. So what can we expect from this year’s show? Here’s our predictions for 3GSM 2007:

1. Shiny new handsets a-plenty
The likes of Nokia and Sony Ericsson release so many new phones a year now that they have launches throughout the year, but 3GSM is still a major event for every mobile manufacturer, so we’re guaranteed a bunch of new phones. Expect some slinky music handsets for starters, along with the next generation of camera phones. Plus someone’s bound to demonstrate their zeitgeisty credentials with a silly stylish fashion phone.

2. Web 2.0 goes mobile
This is an ongoing trend, but expect the mobile internet to be big news at 3GSM 2007, hopefully with announcements from some big web firms as well as the mobile industry itself. Social networking should make a splash, while Google, Yahoo and Microsoft may have something to say about how they’re mobilising their web services and communities. 3GSM is also a good place to find the small technology companies who’ll be driving the next wave of Mobile 2.0 services, before they’re bought up by bigger players.

3. Content is King
Admittedly, you could have used the above cliche about any 3GSM from the last few years, but in 2007 it could actually be true. We’ve got to do something on those powerful new “multimedia computers” after all. Every year, the number of content companies exhibiting at 3GSM grows, and 2007 will be no exception. Games, music, video/movies and gambling will all figure highly, while experienced 3GSMers will be keen to see if the mobile porn companies are still touting eye-poppingly gynecological photos on their stands.

4. VoIP on your phone
A dark horse, this one, considering the 78-odd companies claiming to be the future of mobile VoIP. But 3GSM 2007 will at least offer some clues as to who’s offering free calls from your mobile now, what the restrictions are – and perhaps more pertinently what the mobile operators are going to do about it.

5. Secret squirrel stuff
3GSM is about far more than the exhibition floor itself. It’s about suited execs getting together in Barcelona hotel rooms and cafes to sign deals and plot the future for the industry. For example, it’s been reported that at 3GSM 2007, mobile operators including Vodafone and O2’s owner Telefonica are getting together to discuss creating a joint mobile search engine to rival Google and Yahoo. We can’t promise to be the fly on the wall at that meeting (unless our bluebottle disguise comes through in time), but we will have our nose to the ground sniffing out stories at the show. Check back next week for live posts from Barcelona.

Stuart Dredge
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