Live from the World Mobile Phone Congress in Barcelona
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The GSMA Congress is the biggest mobile telecoms event in the world. Watch interviews with executives from Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, RIM and more.
special correspondents in Barcelona
Tuesday Feb. 17
12.30am - 'The love button'
Udo Szabo, head of product strategy for OVI, Nokia’s service platform, says he dreams of a “love button” on his mobile.
A green thumb – The auto industry isn’t the only one seeking to clad itself in an environment-friendly hue. Nokia and Co have also thrown their lot behind green marketing. Samsung is showing the way with a mobile phone equipped with a built-in mini solar panel. Korean rival LG has pledged to make all its handsets 100% recyclable by 2016, while Sony Ericsson says it wants to use maize to build its phones. With the global economy sinking ever deeper in the red, the green economy just might offer something of a breather.
Monday Feb. 16
7.00pm – In touch with consumers – Touch screen phones are nothing new. All brands have their own model and are now seeking ways to stand out of the pack. Samsung has opted for innovation and offers a fun interface on its phones. To play a song, the user has to drag and drop a small virtual disk into an equally virtual jukebox. LG has gambled on extending the 100% touch screens – already available on top-of-the-range phones – to cheaper models in a bid to woo clients in times of economic turmoil.
4.30pm – Watch out, who’s calling? – Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, has become the first guest star to address a conference via his watch. And not even for his own company.
Ballmer made a timely appearance for LG, the fourth largest manufacturer of mobile phones. A quick call on LG’s “watch” and “big Steve” as he is nicknamed appeared on its tiny screen. Skott Ahn, LG-mobile CEO, and the Microsoft boss spent a couple of minutes marveling over the new gadget like small children.
Later, the Korean company announced they were working on a new mobile phone with Google, Microsoft’s worst enemy these days. I’m not sure big Steve was laughing quite so much then.
11am – Phones are finished – out with mobile phones. Today the talk is of the “mobile computer”. Nokia already tried to impose this semantic switch for the launch of its flagship smartphone, the N95, three years ago.
In Barcelona, the industry leader has done it again. Kai Ostavo, CEO of the Finnish giant, didn’t mention the word “phone” once. The new N97 and E75 models do everything: e-mail, video, music, games…and phoning? Oh yes, that too.
Sunday Feb. 15
Geeky business - In Barcelona, everyone speaks Catalan but, at the world telecommunications conference, people speak the dialect of “mobile phone.” It’s a dialect of the technological world, and not a simple one at that. The acronyms and technical terms are enough to give one a migraine.
Even the official name of the convention, World GSMA, is offputting enough. It refers to the accepted term for mobile phone communications – Global System for Mobile Communication. The ‘A’ stands for Association.
Confused? It gets worse. HSUPA, G1, 3G (sometimes with a +), Symbian, Li-on. Everyone here speaks it. Do you?
HSUPA - 100% geekspeak. It refers to high-speed uploads, to allow mobile phones to send videos to YouTube at great speed.
G1 – Almighty Google in mobile phone format. It’s the first phone created by HTC with a system customized for Google usage.
3G – the Rolls Royce of mobile phone connectivity. You need a 3G (or 3G+) mobile phone. Useless for a simple phone call, though.
Symbian – the branch of Nokia devoted to smartphones. It refers to an operating system created by the Finnish company, analogous to Windows or Android, that runs smartphones.
Li-on – allows for extended phone use. It is a lithium and ion battery that allows one to use a mobile phone three times longer than a longer battery would permit.
You want more? It’s coming soon – live from Barcelona.
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