MWC 2013 Day One Trends

After a day of meetings there are some strong takeaways from the first day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Interestingly devices played a large and yet small factor in my analysis. First off The Sony Xperia Z tablet was shown off here but crowds were lackluster. In examining the device I was amazed at how thin and light it was – it seemed like a larger iPad Mini in terms of weight and the feeling in the hands. Huawei introduced the Ascend P2 – the world’s fastest smartphone. No one seemed to care that much.

The takeaway here may be devices are less important as apps have moved to the cloud – or perhaps if you are using an Android-powered phone, best-in-class specs for thinness, lightness and speed aren’t so important. In discussing the issue with others at the event a common comment was “so what” if they introduced a thinner device. Ironically when Apple introduces a thinner gadget everyone seems to go crazy.

This tells us device makers have finally learned how to copy one part of the Apple success story – thinner, lighter and faster devices. Now they need to understand the importance of marketing holistically – meaning launching devices with fanfare and excitement. Samsung is certainly doing a great job of generating excitement around many of its devices. They do things very differently than Apple and yet are succesful. They certainly have a model worth emulating.

Other trends are a huge focus on small cells, WiFi offload, cloud, big data analytics and companies helping carriers make money through consulting and other services.

The most interesting pre-rumor I heard is a potential purchase of Juniper by Oracle allowing them to become a serious telco equipment competitor. After the announcement of the Acme Packet acquisition, the networking equipment vendor would makee sense as a buy. Finally, the time may be right for such a move as NSN and Alcatel-Lucent are struggling.

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