Live from #MWC2013

The new venue is the NEC of Barcelona, a soulless collection of large sheds. Last year, the venue at least had some outdoor space and majestic fountains. This is just grim –  Cannes and SXSW without a doubt win in the atmosphere and location categories.

However, I’m not here for sights. I’m here for innovation, insight and inspiration. And that is bountiful.

My new favourite subject is connected cars. Ford have set up shop at #MWC2013 and have announced a revolutionary partnership with Spotify that allows drivers to stream music in their Ford  vehicles. This is the future starting. The designers at Ford may want to work on condensing the hardware though, it’s pretty big right now for a four-for-saloon. Maybe they’re simply building for the American market?

Handsets are a mixed bag on Day One.

Nokia has dropped their prices  in an attempt to regain market share with the launch of the Lumia 520 (€139) and 720 (€249). While highlighting just how far their once-mighty stock has fallen, the handsets actually do look quite good for the money. Samsung has announced the Galaxy Note 8 – in what appears to be an attempt to capture market share from Apple’s iPad Mini in the fiercely competitive tablet space. It’s a great looking device with fantastic build spec, complete with razor sharp multi-screen display.

Huawei, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer are here again. They had a huge stand last year and now they practically have a whole hall to themselves. They have launched the Ascend P2, which they claim can download at speeds of 150MB. A nifty feature but one that’s pretty useless as I can’t think of many networks in the established markets that get close to those speeds. Still, they mean business and if I was LG, HTC, Sony or Motorola I’d be nervously watching over my shoulder.

Asus, depressingly, have hired the worst magician in Barcelona to ‘entertain’ people on their stand. I could even see his hands go into his pockets during one ‘trick’!  But they have also revealed the Fonepad, a cheap 7-inch Android Jelly Bean tablet that also lets you make calls for all of £170, so it’s not all bad. But, oh, wait they’ve also just announced the launch of the Padfone. Try and unpack that one.

Stay tuned and follow me on Twitter for live updates throughout the event.Dan Beasely, Head of Mobile at Jam, is representing Engine at MWC 2013. MWC runs from 25 to 28 February.

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