Mark Bridge writes:
Some companies have saved their big announcements for the week of Mobile World Congress. Samsung and Nokia, for example. Others have issued a press release in advance.
It would be easy to assume that the companies making pre-show announcements were worried their news might not get noticed. I don’t think this was the case for Facebook, which is spending £9.6 billion on instant messaging app WhatsApp. Much of that value was in Facebook shares but there’s plenty of real money changing hands as well. It’ll be interesting to hear what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says during his keynote speech at MWC tonight.
Also making a splash before the show was Huawei, with a multi-product announcement yesterday afternoon. There was a mobile WiFi hotspot, two tablets, a smartphone with a 5 megapixel self-portrait camera and a wearable ‘TalkBand’, which combines fitness tracking with Bluetooth calling.
Microsoft had a Sunday announcement, too. It’s now working with nine new hardware partners for Windows Phone, which is likely to mean lower-priced devices targeting developing markets.
Other manufacturer news included new smartphones from Acer, Alcatel and Kazam (and a 3D-mapping prototype from Google), plus Jolla’s Sailfish OS was being readied for Android phones and Apple iOS needed a security update.
In the world of apps, both Visa and MasterCard talked about Host Card Emulation; a cloud-based security process for mobile payments that avoids the need for account details to be uploaded to a SIM card. And mobile payment/advertising partnership Weve announced Pouch, a mobile-based ‘loyalty card’ application.
Right, it’s time for me to head to the airport and join the crowds in Barcelona. Instead of our regular podcast this week there’ll be a series of interviews from MWC; you can keep up to date with all our programmes by bookmarking our website, subscribing free on iTunes, using our RSS feed or downloading the Stitcher.com mobile app.
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