In this post, I will list some of my experiences at the MWC. Don’t expect a reporter review, but do expect a WYSIWYG, or at least a “What I Saw Is What You Get” attitude. Note: No suits and ties on this one. Would probably get a D- for an academic essay. [I AGREE]
I wish I had more time to see everything, but those of you who were there know that there is a reason why it’s four days. Add to this speaking, meetings, and a developer conference and you get some math there. So…
I started my MWC journey on the stage, giving a talk about Android and the cloud from a different, OS vendor perspective. It always makes me happy to see Application developers interested in the lower level stuff, and time after time I find myself delighted to see that more and more people know the terms of Linux, know the terms of Android, and continuously eager to learn more. Open Source rules the world. What used to be the niche of those who could navigate in mailing lists, has evolved to be a larger niche, and that translates to real world products, which can be well observed (When did you last count the number of Active Linux, Android devices? Open source browsers?).
After my talk I took a walk at the MWC’s developers conference, the WipJam, and started seeing some interesting stuff (devices) at the very moment, once again in the OS vendor domains; I may even refer to them as Android modders colleagues. These were, of course, Amazon and Nokia, presenting their Non-Google Android: While Amazon’s Kindle devices have been here for a while, Nokia’s first attempt at an Android-ish like system had just been announced. The target customers, which will be supplemented with additional options later on this write-up, are emerging markets, looking for cheap, Android-ish devices. The Windows 8+ Lumia phones are for the higher-end characteristics. The user interface of the Nokia phone was a bit familiar, and so were the colors – I could see the Lumia in my non-professional, “only played with it in some conferences” eyes. While I didn’t play around with it too much, it did seem like a pretty good phone for its price. Not having Google Play in it is a major issue, and I am not sure what the Nokia strategy is, but an Android “compatible” piece of Hardware for less than 100 euros seems to be decent for me, and it could be a paradise for modders (aka ROM cookers). I admit that personally I am excited by the ever decreasing price of “fully featured” products – which may be the case for the Ubuntu phone and the FireFox OS phones: The former is just as it sounds: An Ubuntu phone. It runs the notorious Unity interface, and lacks my favorite Alt+F1 / Ctrl+Alt+t sequences – but it’s most probably due to not having a hardware keyboard hooked in. If you know recent years Ubuntu – that’s what you should be expecting. No more Half Ubuntu/Half Android phones.
Apple, as in always, retained its infamous tradition and did not set foot in Barcelona, but the fully fledged Android devices were kicking everywhere. From ZTE and Huawei, through Sony and Samsung, which had a very impressive zone, and of course announced the much expected Galaxy S5, but what I was more interested of is its Knox 2.0 platform products. There was a huge vibe around Knox, and I was surprised to see how many EMM vendors partner with Samsung on this critically important domain. I was deeply impressed by Samsung and Green-Hills Software cooperation, on making a DOD standard phone, given my long history with hard regulation at the Aerospace industry, both as a consultant and an engineer. Security, Security, Security. That is the guiding line. Everybody understands that. Security is not a game. Neither is Enterprise Mobility. And to further prove that, there was a huge Airwatch connect mini conference, gathering top EMM solution vendors. It’s enough to just see the number of companies doing it, from every possible side, to see that the business opportunities there are huge. Despite that, no company takes the Nubo approach of a remote mobile workspace. Another aspect of security, well represented in the WipJam and in Hall 1 of the MWC was secure payments, composite smart SIMCard, hardware and what not. 5G plans are on their way (see you in 2020), and the future looks promising.
Speaking of 2020: If you have really cool navigation ideas take a look at the EU Horizon 2020 program. It is a research program I am familiar with from my role as a member of Afeka’s College of Engineering Staff, which aims to open exciting R&D opportunities in the EU, and most excitingly there is a serious focus on application for Satellite navigation for the sake of GALILEO, which as a space industry veteran is extremely close to my heart. You can see more details in http://www.gsa.europa.eu/ (MATA/ISA guys, I’m talking to you, you know who you are).
There is a lot more to tell, but this is more or less the reflection of my busy Security oriented eyes, in these days.
Oh, one last thing: There were TONS of wearable devices in the conference. It is not even the future, it is the present. Internet Of Things, Wearable Devices, Smart-* , watches, bracelets, you name it. I am very active in the progressing of embedded Linux and Android and am extremely happy to see them affecting us everyday. Security at work, Android, Wearables at life. There will be more Wearable and Embedded Android news coming from me in the near future, but if you can’t wait for it, and you happen to be in San Francisco this week, you can meet me at the WearablesDevCon(http://www.wearablesdevcon.com/)
So, as for last words, I will detail my very informal summary of the conference:
The good things: Everything. Except for the bad things.
The bad things: I could do better playing Fifa at the Sony stand. Lesson learnt – for the next MWC. At least I have a picture with Messi, Rooney and Ronaldo…
Notes to the organizers of the great city of Barcelona: You did such a good job in the organization of the conference – you should really make sure there are attractive soccer games at the time of the conference! Como dice el dicho – Hay tiempo para trabajar, y hay tiempo para disfrutar del trabajo de otros.