Highlights from GSMA event at Barcelona

The 2010 Mobile World Congress is being held 15-18 February, in Barcelona Spain. For next four days, this beautiful Mediterranean city will become the place for mobile leaders to gather, collaborate and conduct business. The event also includes an exhibition where over 1300 companies are displaying their cutting edge products.

Almost all telecom companies save up their best for the yearly mega event of GSMA at Barcelona. Day 1 at Barcelona today was full of announcements by leading companies. Many of these announcements will shape the future of the mobile industry in the years to come. A few new partnerships were announced while others decided to showcase their capabilities. Some of the key announcements with my 2 cents on them are as follows:

1. Wholesale Applications Community

24 of the world’s largest mobile carriers with a combines subscriber base of over 3 billion across the globe have come together to launch an open international applications platform, marking the largest unified move to date by the operator community into the mobile apps space.

My view on this initiative is that this is an attempt by operators to gain back the initiative on application store from the likes of Apple, Nokia and Microsoft. We have seen many initiatives from operators in the past like JIL (Vodafone, China Mobile, Softbank and Verizon) and it would be interesting to see if this initiative gets successful or meets the same fate as past attempts. This initiative includes JIL operators and the handset vendors that do not have application store so if successful, it can make the applications available over a wider range of devices could make the application market less fragmented for developers

2. Nokia & Intel merge their Linux Platforms – MeeGo

Nokia and Intel are to merge their respective Linux initiatives to form a new platform designed for high-end mobile computers. Known as ‘MeeGo,’ the platform will combine Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin. Meego will target multiple devices – mobiles, netbooks, TVs, etc.

I think this is a logical conclusion to the partnership announced between the two last year. It would be interesting to see how Nokia balances its portfolio between Symbian and MeeGo and if it would gain any traction amongst other handset vendors (MeeGo would be offered to other OEMs as well). This partnership should result in significant upside to sales of Intel. Will MeeGo replace Windows in Nokia’s Booklet?

3. Samsung Beam (Halo) Android projector phone launched

Samsung today launched pico projector phone which runs on Android 2.1 with a TouchWiz 3.0 skin. Beam features a nice pass through trick that allows it to project the image seen by the 5 megapixel camera through the TI pico.

I am not sure about the quality of projection or the use cases for the users for this phone

4. Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7 Series

Microsoft today announced its new operating system that it has built from scratch. Microsoft has already secured commitments from 11 operators and 8 phone makers including Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson. Phones would have a dedicated Bing key.

Microsoft mobile OS has almost been written off but this new OS interface is unlike any other interface. I think it is a class effort from Microsoft and it would be interesting see how it shapes up.

5. Acer announced 4 new phones based on Android 2.1

The new phones announced today were E110 which is an affordable touch phone, E400 which is a touch screen with “Cloud” sync, Liquid e and Ferrari Smartphone.

Acer is getting active in the mobile space and I wonder if it would be able to replicate its success in the PC industry in mobile phones industry

I have listed only a few announcements which I believe have the potential to change the industry in the coming years. There are still 3 more days to go so keep following Telecom Circle to get the latest update. In the meantime it would be great to get your views on the key announcements made today in the GSMA event. Leaving you with a video on first look of Windows Phone 7 series and Symbian^3.

Windows Phone 7 series – Video Demo

Symbian^3 – Video Demo

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