My mobile day
Barcelona: If you want to know what's going on in the mobile world you have to head to Barcelona in February, where the latest phones are unveiled and the movers and shakers from the industry gather to sell their wares and tell us what comes next.
The Mobile World Congress is also something of a nightmare to cover because so much is happening at once - and getting connected is a game of chance as the networks buckle under the strain. Here's how it worked for me on Monday.
0700: I'm up to broadcast live from my hotel room to the BBC World Service and the Today programme. Unfortunately the hotel wi-fi has slowed to a crawl overnight. No matter - I have a 3G mi-fi unit which was working fine last night. But when I turn it on nothing lights up on its screen. I plug it in to charge it but still nothing. Eventually I realise that the unit is on and I'm online - it's just that the screen is broken. Using an application called Luci Live, I complete my two broadcasts without a hitch. Phew.
0930: The first appointment of the day is with Microsoft, and on the way in I meet Rafe Blandford, a very smart telecoms writer who runs the All About Symbian website. Now that Nokia is ditching Symbian and going with Windows Phone 7, he needs to switch focus and it's clear he is setting about doing just that.
Upstairs, Andy Lees, the Mancunian who runs Microsoft's mobile division is relentlessly upbeat about the prospects for Windows Phone 7, now that it will have the weight of Nokia behind it. He mentions the integration with the Xbox Kinect system,which will be demonstrated in the afternoon by his boss Steve Ballmer, and the arrival of Internet Explorer 9 on the phone.
When I point out that Windows phones languish way behind Android in the smartphone market, he says they've only been out for a few months. Well, yes, Windows Phone 7 is new, but Microsoft has been in the smartphone business for a decade. Who let Apple and Android run away with the market?
1130: Another live broadcast from within the noisy and packed halls of Mobile World Congress. The connection is so poor that in the end we resort to - wait for it - a mobile phone. Meanwhile my cameraman is tinkering with some live television kit that uses no fewer than six simcards to to get online. It has been used to broadcast live pictures from Egypt - but at Mobile World Congress it tells us there is not enough bandwidth. We will try again on Tuesday.
1200: We head to the Google Android stand, a playful open-source environment with a playground slide and lots of green robots. It is packed with delegates looking at the new devices and apps on show - the momentum behind this operating system is the theme of this show.
1300: Samsung's stand is, as at just about every technology event, an ornate and expensive affair. Nearly all the focus is on just two devices, both upgrades of existing products. Samsung has unveiled a new Galaxy phone and a larger Galaxy tablet running, yes, you've guessed it , Android. I ask the firm's UK boss Simon Stanford whether Android is taking over the world. No, no, no, he tells me, don't forget our own system Bada, which is making great strides. But how many consumers talk about their Bada phones?
1330: On the LG stand crowds have gathered around what's being described as the world's first 3D smartphone. It shoots video in 3D, and then allows you to view the effect without wearing special glasses. Now I'm among those people whose poor vision means they cannot enjoy 3D. I still can't see it being anything other than a gimmick on a phone.
1430: Surprise me, I tell Motorola's Andrew Morley, as I arrive on yet another stand where Android devices are prominent. And luckily he does, with a display of how convergence is becoming real. The latest Motorola smartphone can be docked in a kind of dumb laptop terminal, which then uses the device as its operating system. The idea is you can go on the road with just a phone and this dock and yet have advanced computing power at your fingertips. Neat idea - but if I could find space in my luggage for a laptop dock surely I would bring a laptop?
1600: Back to the hotel, because I've more live broadcasting to do and I don't trust the networks at the trade show. For a while my technology works a treat and I'm able to take part in the World Services's Digital Planet programme from my room, via a 3G connection. Then it stops working again for no apparent reason. I decide it's time to go out - throwing things against the wall never helps.
1900: At a dinner with Orange and a clutch of mobile analysts there's talk of Android's ubiquity at this show, of whether there are now too many tablets, and of whether NFC - the technology which allows contactless payment, is finally going to take off. Orange's mobile boss Anne Bouveret talks with enthusiasm about a trial her company has run in Nice, where phone users have been using NFC handsets to pay for small items and get access to public transport. I tell her about a similar experiment in London some years ago - NFC and contactless payment seems to be the innovation that is always about to happen. Anne Bouveret says so many handsets are now having the technology built in that the tipping point has come.
2200: I head back to my hotel to try to fix my connection problems. My 3G dongle is working well - but the Luci Live application which I've been using to broadcast on the radio seems to have given up. To bed, wondering how to get on the radio in the morning.
0600, 15 February 2010: Awake early, I see a message on the Android phone I've borrowed for the week. Unfamiliar with the system, I can't work out how to read it. When I call the BBC sound operations room in London the engineer who answers turns out to be an Android fan. He explains how to retrieve the text - which is about what's gone wrong with Luci Live and how to fix it.
0630: I've fixed it. London can hear me loud and clear. Only trouble is, the early morning business programme has dropped me overnight. Bah - back to bed.