For the investor, the technologist and the technology early adopter, the coming week can be considered one of the highlights of the year as the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off. Yes, we’ve already had the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, a great industry event that cuts across all sorts of consumer electronic categories, but MWC is focused on mobile pure and simple. In the past that meant new mobile product introductions from the then mobile phone leaders — Nokia, Motorola, and Ericsson — but today none of those companies compete in the mobile device space.
Yes, the mobile industry changed dramatically since the mobile phone was THE consumer electronic device of choice as have the players driving the current smartphone and tablet markets. Today it’s Apple, Google, and Samsung, with Nokia’s mobile device efforts now a part of Microsoft, Sony has what was once Ericsson’s mobile device business and Lenovo recently acquired Motorola Mobility from Google. Even the way we used these devices has changed – no longer is the main function voice. Just look around you and odds are at any given moment you will see
- Checking email, sending a message or talking a selfie to post on Facebook or Instagram.
- Surfing the web in search of news, recipes and the latest sports scores
- Downloading coupons from Valpak, setting dinner reservations via Yelp or getting the latest game — what will replace Flappy Bird?
- Trading stocks or paying bills.
- Logging into mapping apps from Google, Apple or others as they roar off from an Avis or Hertz rental car agency and opting out of the GPS add on.
- Streaming a movie on Netflix or shopping on Amazon.com.
- Some may be making a voice call, but if you watch the “younger folk” they are using Skype, FaceTime or even apps like Glide to make a video call or send a video message
When you think about it, it is pretty amazing how mobile technology has transformed our lives and how pervasive it has become. What’s even more amazing is the change we have seen thus far has really been due to three devices — the mobile phone, the smart phone and the more recently the tablet.
When I take a step back and see how increasingly reliant we are on mobile, it looks more and more like electricity or water — a basic building block of sorts that powers a number of things we do day in, day out.
Looking at the list of keynote speakers for MWC 2014, it looks like mobile could be the tipping point for mobile in a number of other areas as it moves beyond just smartphones and tablets:
- With IBM’s Chairman, President and CEO Virginia Rometty on tap as well as Cisco Systems’s Chairman & CEO John Chambers and AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson odds are The Internet of Everything will be taking center stage.
- The same can be said for The Connected Car given that Ford Motor’s Stephen T. Odell, President of Europe, Middle East and Africa is on the docket.
- Mobile payments, which have been getting more jawboning lately as Apple has been deploying its iBeacon solution with Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Macy’s (M) as well as its own Apple Stores, should also garner a fair amount of attention next week. With Citigroup as well as mobile payment firm Isis and Jon Matonis, Executive Director & Board Member Bitcoin Foundation on hand we will be hearing more about this.
- The other category that has many chirping is wearables and odds are we will see more of these products announced at MWC.
Heading into this big mobile industry event, I sat down with Bill Davidson, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Operations Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Qualcomm Investor Relations. During our conversation, we talk about the existing mobile markets and why there is plenty of growth left in smartphones and tablets. We also discuss a number of the up and coming mobile markets — The Connected Car, The Connected Home, wearables, mHealth, mobile payments and more. With all of these new markets coming on stream and devices drawing on mobile networks, you’re right to think that this will put a huge burden on mobile operators like Verizon Communications, AT&T, Vodafone and others, but as Bill shares Qualcomm is already tackling that particular pain point.
Lest I forget, the one company that many will hope to hear from — Apple — tends to shun events like these and instead introduces its new products, services and solutions at its own events. There’s no reason to think this year’s MWC will be any different. So if you were hoping to hear about the new iPhone or the much rumored iWatch, you may get some more innuendo spinning out of MWC, but don’t expect any formal announcements.
Disclosure: Subscribers to my investment newsletter PowerTrend Profits were alerted to the opportunity in Qualcomm (QCOM) shares at $64.01 in April 2013.
Source: Forbes Business