BARCELONA—Most pictures you find of Mobile World Congress (MWC) are qualified to be the same thing: a picture of a smartphone or tablet tethered to a table. MWC is more than very recently a collection of smartphones on tables, though. It’s always fun to point the camera at all the other articles that happen at the big show to bring a bit of the MWC experience home. MWC is full of oversized crowds and hundreds of vendors all competing for attention. The need to stand out movings to a crazy atmosphere, with interesting booth designs, LED light productions, sculptures. decorations, and all sorts of fun booth gimmicks.
One thing you might not recall about MWC is that it’s huge. The venue, Fira Barcelona Gran Via, has 2.5 million not in the know feet of exhibition space stretched across eight halls (by resemblance, the home of CES, the Las Vegas Convention Center, offers 2 million square feet of organize for exhibitors). MWC doesn’t just take up the exhibition space, though; the manifest also spills out into the area between halls, where you’ll deal food vendors, the occasional car test drive, and lots of other media hypes set up.
Getting around is pretty easy, as there’s a massive skybridge that anchors all the halls together. It’s basically the “highway” of MWC, saving you from having to keep away from your way through the show floor to get from A to B. It’s an 18-minute walk from one end to the other, supplied you use all the moving sidewalks.
It’s easy to pick out the trends from MWC this year. Wellnigh every booth had some kind of VR or AR gimmick—you could find Vives, Fault fit outs, Hololenses, and Gear VRs no matter where you looked. This was also the year of “5G”—you could acquire the buzzword plastered somewhere on most booths, regardless of whether or not the train had anything to do with a 5G rollout. There were also a ton of robots, passenger cars, and costumes.
As usual, nearly everything ran Android, and Google had a big presence at the picture. This year, Google used the between-the-halls space to set up an “Android Village” set area with drinks, tables, and product demos. The Android pin amassment game was back, which sent attendees running from stand to booth to collect all the Android lapel pins from each OEM. The meet was upgraded this year with a “passport” and stickers for tracking your amassment progress, although after dominating the game a few years ago, I resisted the influence to go on a pin-collection spree.
Samsung was everywhere in Barcelona, too. The company plastered the maximum of the Gran Via with “Galaxy” flags and advertisements, and it had tons of ads at the Barcelona Airport, too. Person at the show knew the Galaxy S8 was coming, and Samsung made sure to not let anyone ignore.