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
Monday 25 February 2013
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
Life & Style blogs
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
'Game-changing' new way to fight cancer discovered
The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive - it's where the CIA gets its coffee fix
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£30000 - £36000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# Developer A highly s...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading software...