Barcelona, “Mobile World Capital”

Greetings from Barcelona where Mobile World Congress 2013 will be kicking off tomorrow. Having arrived today I have already taken note of a couple first impressions.

Upon landing one of the first things I noticed were special courtesy information booths at baggage claim for Chinese device makers Huawei and ZTE. Maybe it’s because of a major theme I took note of at CES this year, but I got the feeling that the Chinese handset makers are going to go big at this year’s MWC. At minimum it would seem they are flying in enough people to warrant special staffing at baggage claim to corral them all.

Also at baggage claim was a person in an Android outfit:

Android Guy

Not especially remarkable, except if you look on his/her lower left hip, you’ll see an Intel sticker. This has probably got something to do with some big chipset announcements they are rumored to be making this week. It could be interesting to see how much emphasis Intel puts on Android vs. Windows Phone.

As I waited for them to finish cleaning my hotel room I popped down into the nearby Metro to orient myself with the system. In doing so I discovered this scene:



There had apparently been some sort of public NFC tap-point here. The vending machine offers tap-based payments (along with traditional credit card swipes) and dispenses cute mobile accessories.

In general there are supposed to be MWC-related NFC tap-points springled throughout the city. If I find more interesting examples I’ll share them here.

This initiative is part of Barcelona’s partnership with the folks behind MWC, in the hopes of establishing it as (per the signs all around the airport) the “World Mobile Capital”.