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
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst / Trainee Application Support Analyst - Essex

    £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before