Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress has always been about mobile – of course – but this year it finally seems like the world has caught up, and mobile is more important than desktop. To mangle the words of Steve Jobs, these days the truck companies are desperate to be let into the car show.
The shift is most noticeable when you look at the crazy number of accessories at MWC, the biggest mobile tradeshow in the world (except Japan, maybe). No longer are we looking at crappy little speakers and even worse miniature tablet keyboards. We’re looking at whole product ecosystems that use the iPhone or iPad as their “digital hub.” The iPhone – really a computer in your pocket – has never seemed more inappropriatly named.
There are network dongles that turn any printer on your Ethernet setup into AirPrint devices. Speakers like the Zero 1 Cabinets (above) use a proprieatary dongle to give hifi music that sounds as good as your old CD player rig from the 1980s, and Bluetooth has become the de-facto standard for connections, which favors mobile use (who wants cables sticking out of their iPad).
And the desktop players are trying to stay relevant. Hilariously, both AVG and McAfee had stands at last night’s two press events (with their booths covered in Android devices), and the number of middlemen desperate to keep sucking their tithe from corporate business has also grown year by year.
Ironically, the next big thing is the Smart Watch, if the number of wrist-computers is anything to go by. Of course, right? After all, if the iPhone and iPad are the new desktop and laptop, then Bluetooth-connected Smart Watches are the new phones.
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