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Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona

The year's biggest event for the mobile industry is now underway. It's a chance for the world's innovators to showcase new products and discuss technological evolution. DW's Chris Cottrell reports from Barcelona.

A congregation of industry heavyweights, technology enthusiasts and up-and-coming entrepreneurs descended on the Spanish city of Barcelona on Monday (02.03.2015) for a four-day event that will help set the tone of innovation for the next year.

Inside a sprawling trade show complex with nine halls and room for some 2,000 companies and 85,000 professionals, some of the world's foremost manufacturers of smartphones, tablets and wearable technology rolled out their latest cutting-edge devices and discussed the future of mobile technology.

This year's show came on the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

In previous years, big names like Samsung, HTC and Sony did their major unveilings either before or after the Mobile World Congress, fearing that their messages would be overshadowed by the sheer number of other vendors here. But this year, it seemed some of the most highly anticipated product launches of 2015 would go down in Barcelona.

Apple Watch 2014

The Apple Watch is not the only wearable technology causing hype this year

Dominating the dialogue about wearable technologies

Visitors to the trade show grounds could not overlook the massive blue-and-white Samsung advertisement that read, "The next Galaxy is coming" - a nod to the next generation of its popular smartphone that company executives unveiled during a clamorous and well scripted event on Sunday.

Industry frontrunners Samsung and HTC both introduced new flagship devices a day before the conference began, while rumors circulated online that LG and Sony may wait until a later date to launch their new phones. Microsoft also had a Windows Phone event scheduled for early Monday.

In addition to loads of new smartphones, another big trend that will likely be on display this year is wearable technology, particularly the health-tracking kind.

Barely more than a week before a much-hyped Apple event on March 9, during which the tech giant is expected to showcase the Apple Watch ahead of its April launch, companies here will have an opportunity to dominate the conversation about smart wristwatches before Apple CEO Tim Cook does.

There will even be a conference-wide health activity competition, sponsored by Garmin, which makes a smart armband that can log steps and measure distances traveled.

Keynote speakers include Mark Zuckerberg and the FCC's Tom Wheeler

Mobile payment systems are also expected to feature prominently. After Apple came out with ApplePay, Samsung or Google could demonstrate their own digital wallets.
The most prominent speaker at the Mobile World Congress this year will be Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is expected to talk about his Internet.org initiative, which aims to boost Internet connectivity in remote regions.

The chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, will also hold a keynote speech, a week after the FCC's historic ruling that broadband providers should be regulated as public utilities and should not be permitted to offer faster access to some websites than others.

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