Mobile World Congress 2014 – what to expect

Sunday 23 February 2014 14.24

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By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

It’s that time of the year again. When the world’s mobile moguls congregate in Barcelona, for one of (if not) the biggest mobile phone extravaganza – Mobile World Congress (MWC). For five days hardware manufacturers, telecoms operators, app and software developers, journalists and other interested onlookers, will discuss and showcase the latest developments in mobile, and the trends for the future.

So what can we expect from this year’s show?

First of all it is fair to assume there will be much noise about new smartphone devices. All eyes will be on Samsung, which is expected to announce the Galaxy S5, a successor to its flagship handset, the S4, which it’s rumoured will have an overhauled user interface, a curved screen and may follow Apple down the road of introducing a finger print scanner. It’s also expected that there will be new smartphones from LG and from Sony, which is rumoured to be preparing to unveil a successor to its Xperia Z1, that may feature a 4k video camera, according to reports. And don’t forget Nokia, which may announce a new phone running the….wait for it…. Android operating system.

We can also expect a plethora of new wearable devices. Samsung got the ball rolling today, unveiling two new smart watches to replace the Galaxy Gear. Rumours abound that Sony may have a fresh version of its smart watches in the pipeline. While other manufacturers like Huawei, for example, are rumoured to be on the cusp of entering the wearable fray.

But some, like analysts Gartner, reckon that while last year’s MWC was dominated by wearables, this year it will be more about enhancements to the mobile ecosystem, like apps, software and services. And the connection between wearable devices and the smartphone as a hub. They also predict that like at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, there will be much focus on mobile connectivity in cars and in the home.

This year could also be notable for the keynotes, particularly the speech on Monday night by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. It will be one of the first times he will be out speaking in a public forum since closing the $19bn deal to buy WhatsApp. Many will be interested to hear what he has to say about that. Also speaking on Wednesday is IBM Chairperson, CEO and President, Ginni Rometty.

People travel to MWC from all over the world. So it is perhaps no surprise that more than 50 companies from Ireland will be showcasing their wares there this year. 18 of those will be on the Enterprise Ireland stand, which once again will be trying to help match them with potential customers and partners visiting the show.

This year RTÉ will be bringing you the very latest from the show, on TV, radio, web and social media. We’ll bring you news of the latest product announcements, analysis of the new trends, quick peaks at the quirkier side of MWC and of course we’ll be talking to Irish exhibitors as they try to woo other visitors to the show.

So keep a close eye on our special page on the RTÉ website over the course of the week to stay up to date with the news, views, images and video coming from MWC 2014 and keep an eye on my Twitter account @willgoodbody, and @RTEScienceTech for quick updates on the very latest news.

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