Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

A Newbie’s Guide to Mobile World Congress, From a Barcelona Newbie

Heading to Barcelona for my first Mobile World Congress, I wanted to know what I was in for, so I decided to email a few Barcelona veterans to get their advice.

In Google terms, I cheated by copying off more established rivals. However, as Bing might put it, I just added a few new inputs to my coverage algorithm.

In any case, here’s what I learned overall. Barcelona is filled with pickpockets. I’ll need comfortable shoes to navigate the vast trade show and chase after said pickpockets. There’s way too much going on, so I should give up now. The food is amazing, but I will be too busy to eat any of it and should pick up some candy bars now.

On the news front, expect a lot of stuff on tablets, as well as interesting new gear from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, LG and China’s ZTE.

Here are some other specific tips I pulled out of the many awesome emails, for which I am deeply grateful. To reward those who shared their knowledge so generously, I have pulled the following out of context to present the more humorous ones and saved the most useful ones for myself.

From Mobile Industry Review’s Ewan MacLeod:

“Whatever you have actually planned, cut that in half and you might end up completing it. On my first year I booked about 40 interviews all over the place in different halls. By 11 am on Monday I was screwed.”


“Phone signal is typically rubbish. It’s a real pain when people are trying to demonstrate things. Expect 2G/GPRS and if you get 3G, it’s a bonus. With thousands of people on-site, each with 2-3 devices, it’s no surprise the networks can’t handle it.”

From TechnoBuffalo’s Noah Kravitz:

“Pickpockets are no joke. Listen to what your Mom told you the first time you were in a big city as a kid, and stuff your wallet way the heck down your front pants pocket when you walk on the streets. Seriously. And avoid big crowds of swarming people suddenly hell-bent on getting cozy with you. No joke.”

From CrunchGear’s Greg Kumparak:

“Eat everything you can find. The food is rarely disappointing.”

From Eric Zeman of Phone Scoop:

“The Fira (where the event takes place) is a whacked-out maze, and is confusing. Study a floorplan ahead of time, or find an official map/floorplan that you can download to your phone. It takes longer to get from place to place than you might think, because there is never a direct path. Give yourself enough travel time in between meetings.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik