MWC Barcelona kicks off: AI gadgets, 5G speeds, Barbie phone

MWC Barcelona kicks off: AI gadgets, 5G speeds, Barbie phone

Once a year, Barcelona hosts MWC Barcelona, one of the main events of the mobile communications industry. If you want to know more about how 5G, artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies are changing our world, don't miss our Barcelona Mobile World Congress 2024 guide, with dates, events, and key topics.

What will we see at MWC this year?

Artificial intelligence and its prospects is the central theme of this year's congress. Reflecting on the "Pandora's box" that currently represents the implementation of such AI tools as ChatGPT4, the Technology Record's executive editor Andy Clayton-Smith cites the results of a survey on the implementation of AI in various areas. According to many top managers, the ongoing adoption of AI will require retraining of workers and a reduction in the workforce. Accenture research shows that the adoption of artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT4 could impact up to 40 percent of the world's work time. In this context, high expectations of market players, and the public in general, are associated with the development of legislation in the EU on "human-centered ethical AI."

The implementations primarily focus on incorporating AI into the device user experience to increasingly guess users' intentions based on their daily behavior on the device. This covers many parts of our daily digital lives, from everyday individual habits to shopping to predicting the best route for drivers. Samsung recently introduced such AI features in its new Galaxy S24 line, and a day before the congress, Honor unveiled what its new AI powered MagicOS 8.0 interface that can anticipate user needs. This technology is being implemented by the Chinese brand on both its latest flagship smartphones and personal computers. The new interface will save several steps when using different applications and services, guessing user intentions, analysing the photos and messages and quickly finding the information they need. Honor also announced that it is preparing to launch new eye-tracking technology that will allow you to use your smartphone, browser and apps hands-free.

© Honor

Xiaomi arrived at the congress with its new Xiaomi 14 line and boasts of its new HyperOS "ecosystem" and the capabilities of its professional-grade four-level camera with smooth exposure control. Google, meanwhile, is showing off at the congress, among other innovations, the implementation of its Gemini chatbot AI directly into the Google Messages app. This feature is already available in beta in English starting this week.

And if you get tired of analyzing the characteristics and technical parameters of super-advanced gadgets, then a lot of fun and bright spots await you at the congress. One of them is HMD's pink flip phone, which will be released this year and will feature Barbie branding. Created in collaboration with Mattel, this retro phone aims to give users "style, nostalgia and a much-needed digital detox."

© Mattel

The development and deployment of 5G is another big theme of the conference, and players such as ZTE, Huawei or Ericsson, will show off their new solutions for the most advanced mobile networks. Currently, 30% of all mobile traffic in the world comes from 5G, and this share will continue to grow rapidly. On the first day of the congress, Huawei held the 5G Beyond Growth summit, where it forecast the convergence of 5.5G, artificial intelligence and cloud. 

A record number of speakers will participate in the congress this year, more than 1,100 industry representatives. You can find key speakers and their profiles on a special page of the official conference website. More than half of MWC participants represent companies that are not directly related to mobile technologies, and this is indicative: along with AI, the mobile industry is increasingly influencing a wide variety of business sectors, integrating them into the broader digital ecosystem.

The mobile and AI revolution is reaching all areas of our lives, from video games, social networks and art to sports. For example, Oracle's Stadiums Without Borders report demonstrates strong global audience interest in immersive AR solutions: 64% of fans would like to interact with their favorite teams in the metaverse, and 38% would prefer to view sports statistics on their own device. A wide variety of industries will be represented at the Connected Industries Stage - read about it below.

What is MWC Barcelona?

The MWC Barcelona (Mobile World Congress) has long outgrown an event dedicated only to mobile communications and smartphones. Today it is appropriate to talk about the integration of mobile technologies into a wider ecosystem, which extends to all spheres of life, production and services, as well as culture and sports. What are the different areas in which drones are used? What are robots already doing in manufacturing and healthcare today?

Collaboration, networking and bringing together different technologies, regions and players is the main theme that the organizers of this year's conference want to promote under the motto "Future First". The full congress agenda, with event times and organizing companies, can be found here.

© GSM Association

When and where the MWC Barcelona 2024 is taking place?

MWC Barcelona is held annually by the GSM Association at the Fira Gran Via exhibition center in Barcelona, Spain. This year, more than 2,400 of the world's largest companies will be represented on an area of 240,000 square meters. In 2024 it  takes place from February 26 to 29. The conference and exhibition are hold on 17 different stages in nine halls

4YFN event will highlight digital and technology startups

2024 marks the 10th edition of 4YFN, a global digital and technology startup event that, in collaboration with MWC, showcases the global technology entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future. The 4YFN event, which takes place in Halls 8.0 and 8.1, features representatives from successful startups such as Martin Sorrell, founder and executive chairman of S4 Capital, or Nigel Toon, CEO, chairman and co-founder of Graphcore.

Additionally, the Connected Industries space (located in Hall 4) is also a part of the conference, with presentations and speeches from experts in the fields of manufacturing, smart mobility, financial technology, mobile commerce, sports and entertainment.


How to attend MWC Barcelona?

Basic Discovery Exhibition Pass gives you access to the entire MWC exhibit floor, including the 4YFN startup event. The pass price is €966.90 (incl. VAT) and you can purchase it on the official conference website

In addition, there are other, more expensive and premium types of passes that provide a variety of additional features and privileges. The cost of the pass is quite high, and of course, first of all, it attracts industry professionals. A conference is a traditional platform where business negotiations are conducted and deals and cooperation plans are concluded. A special area has been created for their meetings, which is located in Hall 6 of the exhibition complex.

Where can I find MWC Barcelona news?

The GSM Association, the main organiser of the conference, produces news bulletin with the most pressing topics of the summit and other events held by the organization. Follow these pages in order to find information about the MWC Barcelona 2024.

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