I'm at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, and there seem to be some patterns emerging for this years' themes.
Needless to say people are focused on money-saving solutions this year, so VoIP and roaming SIMs are definitely topics. Location Based Services (LBS) are also a big thing. One stand featured technology companies from France, and there were a couple of companies there active in both handset-based and operator-provided LBS services. I also saw a couple of technology startups offering social networking products based on LBS.
The advertising business is still here punching its weight, and I've seen solutions for adding advertising to streaming video, and also services that can add targetted advertising to SMS and MMS. Almost the flipside of this SMS offering, I've also seen solutions for monitoring SMS content and preventing unwanted messages from reaching its destination, e.g. SMS spam or cyber-bullying.
As usual, the breadth of the mobile industry is breathtaking, from chips to service delivery platforms; from developer tools to mobile broadband. I've bumped into a few old friends today, but in particular I was interested to meet someone that I last saw more than 10 years ago. His idea is a devastatingly simple product, but really one that is much needed: it's a cabinet where you can lock your phone for a short time, while it recharges. The icing on the cake is that it sends SMS back to HQ to report on whether the unit is in good working condition, and to give statistics on usage and reports on how much cash is in the machine. Not all mobile ideas need to be complex technology, it still seems.