Mobile World Congress is going on all week in Barcelona, and it seems the entire news world is watching to see what will come out of it. Last night, a few press conferences were held already – Mozilla announced Firefox OS, which stole the evening, despite the fact that Huawei announced the Ascend P2 – dubbed the ‘world’s fastest 4G smartphone’ – (which Orange will bring to France). The blogosphere is out in Barcelona – including our very own Trista Bridges, who will be bringing you the more France-focused news that comes out – and I would recommend following Engadget, CNET, The Verge & Wall Street Journal, as they’ve got a pretty good team on the ground out there.
Before all the news starts flying around, there’s a lot you can ‘expect’ at MWC – new phones(Nokia), new mobile Operating Systems announcements (Tizen, Ubuntu OS), and a lot of talk around mobile integrating into other sectors (mobile payments, mobile for enterprise, connected devices). There are a few key things to look out for that are distinctly French, which will be happening throughout the week.
The French Pavillion – the biggest pavillion at MWC: This year at MWC, each country has been gven the opportunity to set up a pavilion showcasing its mobile atouts, It’s no surprise to see Ubifrance, Franc’s export agency, taking the lead for the 7th year in a row on this, and this time they’ve brought together 130 innovators. The entire list of exhibitors is available here, but a few startup names caught my eyes, like Adictiz, DXO Labs, Appsfire,Capptain, M-Target, and Uplike.
Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez: Lined up as one of the keynote speakers this year, you can expect big announcements to come from Deezer’s CEO this year. Deezer has exploded in the past 15 months, and one of their key user acquisition methods has been through their mobile app. It will be interesting to see what future Dauchez sees for music on mobile, and what innovation there is left beyond simple steaming.
Orange: The companies already announced a ton of things in the past few weeks: an NFC hackathon, smartphones for the elderly partnered with Fujitsu, its own Orange-branded smartphones, and I’ve heard the Libon team has got some announcements coming up. While they will mysteriously absent from the Firefox OS list of carriers (in fact, there were no French carriers listed, which raises some concern), I expect Orange will have some pretty epic announcements to make at MWC, as they have been constantly pushing the barriers in the mobile space.
Well there you have it -just a taste of things to come. I expect we’ll be hearing some more great and unexpected news from French startups, so we’ll keep you posted all week.