Brave new world: First look at the Mobile World Congress' new venue

David Phelan explores the biggest mobile phone trade show in the world and checks out Samsung's latest offerings

The roads in central Barcelona, busy at the best of times, were jammed this morning as thousands of exhibitors, retailers and developers in the mobile phone world scrambled across town to the Gran Via exhibition centre.

After years at the Fira Barcelona venue in Montjuic, the show has switched to a new, much bigger location. And it feels re-energised as a result.

After all, many companies hadn't waited to get to Spain before revealing their new products. LG talked up its phones a few days ago and HTC launched its spiffy new One handset at a huge London event last week. Even Samsung announced its new tablet by press release the day before the show began.

So it could have been an excitement-free event. But the new, much bigger, brighter showgrounds have improved things in lots of ways. Easier to navigate, with fewer long queues for the toilets and more restaurants for when you've just had enough of yet more mobile phone apps, the Fira Gran Via is clean and efficient.

And where exhibitors previously had to make do with the same space and locations year after year, now there's a new playing field. That's useful because even a few years ago the major players were different. Suddenly Huawei, ZTE and even Samsung have bigger, more central displays for their wares.

Speaking of which, Samsung had several new products - the ones it talked about a few hours ahead of time – that will turn heads. It also made an announcement: the company will host a big launch in New York in three weeks' time. It's expected to be the Galaxy S IV, sequel to the all-conquering Galaxy S III mobile phone.

For now, though, there's the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. That's a new tablet with 8in display, clearly aiming to directly take on the Apple iPad mini. The screen is roughly the same size, give or take a tenth of an inch, it's a fraction heavier and just over 1mm wider.

It feels bright, appealing and highly accessible. The screen is higher resolution than the iPad mini, though not hugely. Nonetheless, this is a bright, vivid, colourful screen. Like Apple's tablet, this has a fast, powerful processor which keeps it moving at a great lick, even when multi-tasking.

The Note 8.0 is good at running several programs at a time, not least because you can divide the display to have two apps on screen at once. This is a trick Samsung has shown before but it's unique to the company's products.

Also unique is the S Pen, a stylus which slots into the body of the tablet. As you withdraw it the compatible software leaps into view. It's great for writing and drawing apps, or for annotating documents with notes.

Samsung also launched Homesync, a cloud-in-your-living-room (with no rain) that we'll come back to next time. But before the show has properly opened in Barcelona, Samsung is stealing it.

Follow @David Phelan2009
Sport
formula oneLive lap-by-lap coverage of championship decider
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

    Ashdown Group: Junior SQL DBA - London - £39,000

    £37000 - £39000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: SQL Database Administrato...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Expanding creative studio requi...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin