Feeds

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

Six things we learned at global mobile show

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.