Back from Mobile World Congress

Press Credentials

I’m back from Barcelona and attempting to catch up with posts I want to write, people I need to contact and a bit of reality as I head back to work tomorrow. While I’m reflecting though I wanted to note a few things …

This was my first conference attended as a member of the press and it’s something I’d definitely seek out in the future. You get access, access access! Aside from my pre-arranged meetings with Nokia I was able to seek out a few companies and even get meetings in an ad-hoc manner that would not have been possible if my badge just read attendee.

While I had prepared to connect so I could blog and stream live things were considerably more challenging during the time than I perhaps would have admitted to myself in advance. I’ve learned some good lessons though and need to perhaps be a bit more realistic with what I think I can do in a day … It’s hard to see everything and blog it while you go. international connectivity is a while other hurdle to clear as well. I was not able to get a Yoigo (3G pre-pay) sim until after the Nokia Keynote on Tuesday and getting even my initial thoughts up proved challenging with the event wifi which I think we can all agree was vastly underpowered. Once I did get a 3G card, I was connected as constantly as was possible — the sheer number of people doing the same thing made high speeds challenging at times and so anything more than email or photo uploads was pretty hard. Hotel access was limited – and apparently I’ve got the power to take the place down as noted by my travel companions: Andy Abramson, Alec Saunders, Alan Reiter, Stowe Boyd, Esme Vos, Matt Miller, Darla Mack and Oliver Starr. I can assure you all once more there’s nothing crazy running on my system … LOL!

My mobile kit worked flawlessly. I left armed with my Nokia N95-3, the N95-1 and N81 as phone and data candidates. The Nokia N810 as my primary data machine and two Proporta Mobile Power packs to keep everything running until late into the evening which they did in spades. Pat Phelan of MaxRoad hooked me up with a MaxRoam SIM which I used on the N95-3 for both local calling and calls home. It was my first experience with this service and it’s something I’d definitely use again. Call quality was great – many thanks to Pat!

My FON router was on in advance of the trip and I fully expected to see FON hotspots in Spain, but I never saw any which strikes me as odd… a post on this is brewing. Boingo was generous enough to provide a mobile account and this I used continuously from the time we connected in Madrid en route to Barcelona. The N810’s Boing o client popped up from the background and authenticated as I needed in the MWC event area. It worked so well I’m actually looking forward to a Boingo expansion in the US so I can use it more regularly… The only change I’d make to the kit I packed is the addition of an external keyboard. I owned the Stowaway ultraportable, but opted not to take it as I honestly don’t like it that much. The Nokia Tablet’s 2008OS also has a nasty bug with it which echos most characters you type. On the way home I tried Matt Miller’s Stowaway Sierra and immediately ordered it from the Madrid Airport. It arrived today and I’ve been testing it this afternoon. No more echo, and a very solid typing platform with only a minor increase in size and weight.

All in all, Barcelona was killer! I was able to connect with quite a few people I’d only seen through twitter and jaiku which really proves the power of social networking. I had a blast and would love to get back to Spain for some relaxed traveling with my wife and kids. The food and wine are wonderful and the people certainly warm and inviting.

Many more posts to come … hopefully sooner than later!

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10 comments for “Back from Mobile World Congress

  1. 2/18/2008 at 4:51 pm

    Great to finally meet you, glad I could help.

  2. Hugh
    2/18/2008 at 6:24 pm

    Travelling the other way to Jonathan…I spent a week in Quebec last week.

    Used to 3G and constant access to my laptop, I decided to travel light: Just my Nokia N73 and a charger.

    Lessons learnt? I must have Wi-Fi. There was loads of free access where I was and it probably would have turned out a lot cheaper than mobile access to Gmail, POP3 mail and the web.

    However in terms of weight, I was so glad I left my laptop at home.

    Just the phone (x1), the charger (x1), a power adapter (x1) and I had a great phone, an excellent camera, location information (courtesy of Google Maps), email (Gmail and POP) and web access. This would have been science fiction ten years ago.

    But what about the lack of wireless?

    An iPod Touch would have sufficed but alas I did not have one . My eldest son was carrying a PSP which was perfect (for him) and my wife an HTC Touch (good for her). Makes me think – do I need a another device?

    So there I was in N America / Canada connecting via Rogers with my fantastic 3G phone so what could I get?

    Yep, EDGE. (E)

    Slated by many; given as the reason why me and many others have not acquired an iPhone (yet) – EDGE (or 2.5G).


    The strange thing is that the ‘E’ “seemed” to be different over there.

    It WAS as quick as 3G on the N73. Yes, seriously.

    Over here in Europe, EDGE is a bit like GPRS+a bit quicker. Over there, it seemed as good (if not better) than the 3G access we get in London?!??

    Are there 2 standards or something? I wonder…

    As for 3G connectivity Jonathan, the reality is that that well informed folk tell me that there are flaws in the technology. If more than nn people nearby try and use it in the same cell (someone claimed nn=6) then you don’t get any access at all. Yep if >6 people are using a data connection you get zip. The number of times it drops out in central London when surrounded by 3G devices is therefore not unsurprising.

    In other words the more people have 3G, the worse it appears likely to be.

    Finally a comment about 3G and battery power (iPhone):

    My Nokia N73 with full 3G access lasts three days between charges. Simple as that. It’s a regular phone with great web accesss (so long as not too many other 3G folk are around).

    Come on Apple, raise the game.

    Now thinking seriously about acquiring an Asus Eee PC (£239 for the 4G version). Maybe that will help. Or am I just kidding myself…

  3. 2/27/2008 at 7:39 am

    your comments on EDGE vs 3G in different places… well, the way how networks is organized & managed and where you are relatively to network capacity is so much… uhm… to cut long speech short, it depends really-really-really on so many factors that comparison might be not fair one. Not that I say yours was unfair 😉

  4. Kim Darcey
    2/8/2009 at 10:43 am

    I went to Barcelona last October, and it was a great trip! I agree with you – Barcelona is great! You should re-visit with the family as there are so many nice places to visit, and for the kids (and adults alike) a day trip to nearby Port Aventura is a must!

  5. Kim Darcey
    2/8/2009 at 3:43 pm

    I went to Barcelona last October, and it was a great trip! I agree with you – Barcelona is great! You should re-visit with the family as there are so many nice places to visit, and for the kids (and adults alike) a day trip to nearby Port Aventura is a must!

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