Looking Ahead To Mobile World Congress 2011 - InformationWeek

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07:45 PM

Looking Ahead To Mobile World Congress 2011

The year's biggest mobile event kicks off Sunday in Barcelona. Here's what InformationWeek expects to see at MWC this year.

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Mobile World Congress is when all the players -- handset makers, network operators, software developers, service providers -- gather in Europe to show off their latest technology and set the stage for the mobile industry as we head into 2011. Do any of them have any major surprises in store?

To be sure, the week is packed with keynotes and press conferences from some of the leading executives and companies in mobility, including Microsoft, RIM, Google, Samsung, LG, HTC, T-Mobile, ZTE, and many, many more. Hardware makers will reveal their latest handsets; network operators will pitch their fastest mobile broadband networks; applications and services will continue their migration to the cloud; and the battle for both enterprise and consumer dollars will wage on.

InformationWeek doesn't believe anything wildly new and exciting is going to happen at this year's show, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a boring confab. There are two things you can expect to hear a lot of: Android and 4G. Everything else will just be filler.

No Sign Of Android Slow-Down

Android's momentum will be on full display at Mobile World Congress (MWC), with new handsets on tap from companies such as LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, ZTE, HTC, Motorola, and Dell. Many of these new smartphones -- especially hardware from Samsung and HTC -- will be at the super phone end of the scale, with good looks and killer spec sheets.

Samsung has promised big things for its press conference, which takes place on Sunday. Expect executive J.K. Shin to take the stage and talk about nothing but Android, Android, Android. Not only will Samsung show off its latest Android handsets, but it is also prepared to announce a new version of the Galaxy Tab.

HTC, too, will have big things for us at its press conference, scheduled for Tuesday. CEO Peter Chou will show us the company's latest Android smartphones, and possibly even an Android-based tablet.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone if, by the time MWC 2011 shuts its doors, there are a dozen new Android smartphones in the pipeline for release later this spring.

Noteworthy Keynotes

Trade shows aren't trade shows without giving executives a chance to get on stage and preach their vision. MWC 2011 offers a range of keynotes from executives from around the globe.

Be sure to pay attention to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, who is speaking Monday afternoon. Ballmer may share details on Windows Phone 7's initial success as well as what the market can expect of Microsoft and WP7 as the year progresses. If we're really lucky, he'll talk about Microsoft's tablet strategy. And, depending on what Nokia announces at its capital markets day on Friday, Ballmer may invite a special guest to share the stage with him.

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