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New Phones Make Debut at Day 1 of Mobile World Congress

The first day of Mobile World Congress (MWC 2017) in Barcelona today saw a slew of new phone announcements from BlackBerry, Huawei, LG, Nokia and Sony, including a retro reboot of the classic Nokia 3310 that first came out in 2000.

Running this week from Feb. 27-March 2, MWC is the largest annual conference and expo for the mobile industry. Organized by the GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association), this year's event features more than 2,200 exhibitors and is expected to draw more than 100,000 attendees.

In addition to seeing some of the world's leading mobile device makers unveil their latest phones, tablets and other gadgets, MWC attendees will hear industry leaders talk about new developments, tech trends and future challenges. Today's opening keynote, for example, featured CEOs from the Softbank Group, Telefonica and KT Corp. discussing the road to 5G, the Internet of Things and the impact of mobility on society.

Nokia 3310 Blast from the Past

One of the new devices making a big splash in Barcelona this year is a feature phone, rather than a smartphone: the Nokia 3310 (pictured above), an homage to the iconic device first launched by the Finnish company in 2000. Described as "a modern classic reimagined," the updated version of the Nokia 3310 will be priced at 49 Euros (about $52) and will come in four colors: dark blue, gray, red and yellow.

The original Nokia 3310, which had a reputation for being virtually indestructible, sold around 126 million models until it was discontinued in 2005. Since then, Nokia itself has experienced something of a reboot. After losing its number one position in the mobile phone market to Samsung in 2012, Nokia was sold in part to Microsoft, which then sold the company last year. Licensing for Nokia devices is now held by a... Read More »

What To Expect at Mobile World Congress 2017

Although there is still almost a week to go before Mobile World Congress (MWC) opens in Barcelona, analysts say some of the themes of the 2017 show are already apparent. The event, which runs from February 27 to March 2, is one of the biggest mobile device events held annually.

Among the major trends expected at this year's conference are an increased focus on Internet of Things (IoT) technology, chatbot apps and digital payment and retail banking technology.

"As both enterprise and consumer IoT technologies and use cases continue to develop, the real promise of deriving value from IoT data will be a key theme at MWC," analysts with digital research and consulting firm Ovum wrote in a white paper previewing the event.

The Rise of IoT

Of all the themes expected at MWC, IoT might be the biggest this year. In particular, IoT devices that leverage Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies are expected to be front and center in Barcelona, with several announcements, demos and deployments. The use of IoT in smart city initiatives is also expected to be a major theme for 2017.

Meanwhile, the question of the value of all the new data expected to be gathered by the rollout of IoT technologies will be another major issue. "MWC will provide the opportunity for many discussions around innovative approaches to data usage, data storage, data ownership, data sharing, data lakes, and open data -- all of which will have a direct impact on the evolution of IoT," Ovum said in the white paper. Ensuring enterprises and applications are collecting enough data of the right type from IoT devices and analyzing them at the right point in the network is another question analysts expect will be discussed this year.

Chatbots and Digital Payments

The rise of chatbots in services will... Read More »