Feeds

MWC: The good, the bad ... and the Galaxy S5

Six things we learned at global mobile show

Boost IT visibility and business value

MWC 2014 Well, we're back from Barcelona - in various states of disrepair. Here's my highlights of MWC 2014 ahead of our web chat later this week.

1. Innovation is alive and well. You only have to look beyond the shiny

Youtube Video

It's a shame that some pundits who declared MWC a low-"innovation" event couldn't see past the phones. For the most exciting exhibitor created quite a stir.

This was Kumu Networks, a spin-off created by a Stanford professor and his PhD students. Kumu promises to do full duplex radio, something that has defied radio engineers for over a century. The trick is to cancel the interference generated by transmissions, so the receiver can work simultaneously. From clever use of white space, to better Wi-Fi in dense areas, to more efficient backhaul, this has all kinds of practical uses, and more we haven't thought of yet. This is the kind of boffinry that's difficult, and puts the media luvvie's idea of technology (a teenager in jeans writing HTML) into perspective.

For more on Kumu, see our report here - and some must-read comments from readers on similar European research. I don't think Mark Zuckerberg paid Kumu a visit - but then why would he have to?

2. It's half a show without Apple and Google

Steve Jobs saved the new shiny things for an audience closer to home.
So does Tim Cook

A decade ago the mantra was "the smartphones are coming!" and "the services are coming!" Now both have arrived, the market leaders needn't show up. The richest and most influential phone manufacturer (Apple) and the biggest and most influential services company (Google) were nowhere to be found. For this, operators only have themselves to blame. It the networks who insisted the first wave of smartphones were gradually dumbed down - so by 2006 we were asking (only slightly tongue-in-cheek) "Whatever happened to the smartphone?".

Operators refused to make data services more attractive to us punters by bundling, unless it was with BlackBerry, until Apple made this a non-negotiable part of selling an iPhone.

Who can blame Apple or Google for not showing up? Even Microsoft, with a large hospitality area this year, didn't launch any products or services at MWC - even though many important announcements are five weeks a way. Why not bring them forward? It doesn't have to. It's a reminder that the industry marches to an American beat now.

3. Signal dropped in your dead zone? Better call WhatsApp!

It's probably just a tree

How much network infrastructure does $19bn buy you? Perhaps a complete network in a small, topographically friendly country? Almost certainly enough to raise the size of your data bundle wherever you are, by a little bit. The figure repeatedly cropped up this week as operators grumbled about the showbiz star of the show, Mark Zuckerberg. (Zuckerberg's interview on MWC TV screens around the venue drew the biggest crowds).

$19bn is what Facebook paid for a tiny derivative OTT company, that's essentially parasitic on networks' infrastructure. Zuckerberg's willingness to whip out the chequebook to splurge on WhatsApp contrasts with his unwillingness to invest in the infrastructure that runs WhatsApp. And he even went further - networks should give away their services, so that in developing countries the first hit of Facebook is free.

The GSMA, seemingly worried about looking fuddy-duddy, fobbed him off with an Official Initiative. What do you think the GSMA got out of that? What was less apparent was any evidence that the networks want to do much more than grumble about Zuckerberg. The GSMA's own answer to OTT services, RCS, didn't even roll up in corpse form. We didn't even get to see dinosaurs mating: AT&T's rumoured acquisition/merger with Vodafone wasn't announced.

The telcos may have a point: Europe is stiflingly over-regulated. But it is hard to make the case convincingly to the public: regulators love regulating (it's going to get worse, not better) and telcos have enjoyed this cosy relationship for years.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.