Sunday, February 22, 2009

A review of MWC

I had hopes to be able to report from MWC in Barcelona, as I did in the last few years, but this year I just could not make it. Too many meetings, too many parties, too much business... I know, it sounds like a lame excuse, but it is true (and I am very glad about it).

On my way back to the Bay Area, in a nice hotel in London Heathrow, I started collecting some thoughts about MWC. It moves so fast when you are in it, that it is hard to capture everything. It is easier to do it a few days later.

  1. Attendance was not bad. Sure, it was slower, there were reasonable lines at the entrance, restrooms and taxi. You could even grab a table to eat. But it wasn't deserted by any means. Tons and tons of people. Everyone I expected to be there was there. Those that did not come were just the people that have no budget and browse around the show for gadgets. Those with checkbooks did not miss the show. Our booth was never empty. But we had to fix a lot less APNs for syncing from the guy who stops by saying "hey, I can't sync, can you fix it?"
  2. Android was a shocking no show. I was expecting a lot of Android devices, but they just were not there. The first day, HTC did not even have the G2. It showed up the second day (thankfully). The HTC Magic (G2) will be available this spring in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France and Italy. I have no idea if Android is just hard to put in a phone, or if there is something else. Last year was the year of Android announcements. This year was supposed the year of the phones actually showing up. It did not happen.
  3. LiMo, instead, was present and shouting "we are still alive!". Alive they are, and they are not threatening for mobile operators (Google is). I was invited to the LiMo Foundation meeting and, when I showed up, I noticed everyone had a suit and tie... Shocking for an open source initiative. Maybe not open source enough ;-)
  4. Steve Ballmer said "The time has come for us to bring the full Windows experience to mobile phones". Somehow, their brand is so screwed up that "the full Windows experience" sounds like they are bringing the blue screen of death also to phones... Anyway, they announced the App Store and Windows 6.5 with Flash (but no Silverlight... do they have a Product Management team left at Microsoft?)
  5. LG announced a Windows Mobile phone, everyone said OOOHHH, then the next day they announced a Symbian phone as well. Everyone said AAAAHHH.
  6. Adobe was pretty bold with Flash announcements and Sun did their part on Java FX Mobile (which I am keeping a special eye on)
  7. Yahoo unveiled a mobile portal that it hopes will become “your starting point to the Internet.” It is called Yahoo Mobile. I saw Marco Boerries show it on stage (he spoke right before I did) and it was impressive. Too bad their brand is so bad, because they are doing everything right in mobile. If Google had Yahoo Mobile, it would be considered a super innovation...
  8. Nokia confirmed the launch of its Ovi Store application storefront, but everyone was still talking about how they destroyed three weeks of address books in the Ovi Sync service. I am still amazed by it.
  9. Funambol showed its "MobileWe" portal and everyone was incredibly positive about it. I knew it was gorgious but the feedback we received was beyond my expectations. We are already negotiating with the first mobile operators for a launch shortly. If you want to be first, this is the time to give us a call (but we'll take you even if you are ok being second :-)
  10. Lists usually are made of 10 items, but I could not come up with one. Ohh, maybe it could be related to travel. It wasn't the best show when it came to travel, luggage, flights and so on for me. I am sure I will get some of my luck back in the future.