3GSM World Congress is over

So the 3GSM World Congress is over. Our 1 time meeting for 2007 is gone. Last time I visited was many years ago and it was still in Cannes. At that time I thought it was a huge Expo and that it was very crowded. I had heard that they moved from Cannes to Barcelona because it’s bigger, well now I understand.

I heard 60.000 people attended. Day 1 was already crowded, but days 2 and 3 were really unbelievable. Hall 8, the one with all the big manufacturers was inaccessible and even if you could get in, it was almost impossible to reach the devices available for testing or talking to anyone at the booth. You HAD to have an appointment and in most cases they only lasted 10-15 minutes. All the big manufacturers had separate rooms or upper floors for meetings, but anyway it was really full of people going back and forth, chatting, talking, exchanging business cards.
The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was clearly there to make business. I have visited other Expositions, of course, both as a normal visitor or to make business, but this one, it was clear to everyone that they were there to make business. Everyone was open to talk, ready to explain what they do and listen to what you do and see if there’s any chance to buy or sell something. It’s been really amazing. I’m not a sales guy, of course, but really anyone, even me, could have made business during this show.

There are already a lot of articles about the Congress, so I’ll go straight to the main points.

What did not surprise:

  • Motorola: was it 2007? 2006? 2000? It seems like it’s still the StarTac from the Nineties. Aren’t their phones all clones of the RAZR which is a slim version of the StarTac?
  • Nokia: same as above, where is the innovation?
  • mobileTV was everywhere
  • IMS was everywhere

What surprised me:

  • SonyEricsson W880: imagine the already very good W810i, imagine it thinner, lighter, nicer, faster. If the price is reasonable, this is going to be a BIG hit. A lot of people I spoke to really liked it, it’s really good!
  • LG KG800: we all know the phone, it’s not new, but the softkeys are really weird. You don’t feel when you click and you never really understand if anything is going to happen. Disappointing experience, sorry.
  • mobileTV hardware vendors, integrators, solution providers were everywhere, but where is the content? Where is that thing that makes everyone want it? Where is that bit that makes it go from the current low-satisfaction state to a big service for everyone?
  • Trolltech had a big booth with about 20 devices running their Linux-based Qtopia. I did not know so many devices use it.

What I liked:

  • Meeting in person with people I have talked via e-mail for years (including Mike, of course!).
  • LG Prada: I was skeptical, I thought it would just be a marketing invention, instead there’s a lot in it. It’s all screen, much like any Palm or subsequent PDA, but it’s made to be used with your fingers instead of the stylus. It’s reasonably responsive, nice graphics, nice features. It’s basically a smartphone with style. As per the KG800, the feedback on fingers is not good, it’s like clicking on my kitchen table.
  • Forum Nokia had a full floor above the normal Nokia booth. I had the pleasure of meeting Finn, was a great chat!
  • The general feeling of being part of this market that sometimes feels global and big and some other times you meet the same guys and feels like a small family.
  • Outside of the 3GSM (yes, sometimes I put my nose outside) the general feeling is of a very young city, full of energy, working hard, but also having fun at night. Nice bars, (thank you mystrands), nice restaurants, nice people walking around and having fun.

What I did not like:

  • WiMax: what is it? There were a good number of stands and booths about it, but how does it integrate with the existing networks? I talked to a Sprint representative, I asked why I should buy a WiMax card or phone instead of HSDPA, he said he could not help me as he doesn’t know about HSDPA. So is WiMax for those who don’t know HSDPA? WiMax is for mobile services as per HSDPA; it’s 1-2Mbit when HSDPA is already 3.6. So?
  • Once again Yahoo! Weather tricked me. It was WAAY hotter than expected!