What is MWC?

You might have noticed that we recently started bleating on about something called MWC 2011. There's little doubt that if you know your Android from your iOS then you'll be only too familiar with what we're going on about. However, if you're a recent convert to the world of technological geekery or you're simply confused by one abbreviation too many, then we probably owe you a few words of explanation.

MWC stands for Mobile World Congress and is the biggest event of the year in the mobile tech calendar. Organised by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association), it's the largest exhibition for the mobile industry and is where the networks, retailers, manufacturers and journalists from all over the world come together for an annual pow-wow to see what's on the agenda for the coming year.

The show always takes place in February, with MWC 2011 running from 14 to 17 February. The starting date of Valentine's Day will no doubt leave many attendees in the doghouse for choosing to spend time with a bunch of mobile phones rather than their loved one - or are they one and the same?

The exhibition first started in 1987 and up until a few years ago - 2006, to be precise -  it took place in Cannes, but the show has since moved to a new home in Barcelona, Spain. With a whopping 365,000m2 of floor space, the Fira de Barcelona is one of the biggest event venues in Europe and MWC is the largest exhibition that it hosts.

As well as a conference and plenty of keynote speeches and press events, MWC is also the place where most of the major manufacturers showcase their new mobile products for the coming year, allowing us to get some hands-on time with the new phones. The show also now incorporates a spin-off exhibition called App Planet which was visited by more than 6,000 app developers in 2010 and is set to be even bigger this year, with more exhibitors having signed up. Last year's MWC saw more than 49,000 attendees overall, including 2,400 journalists, representing 192 countries from around the world.

Some of the big exhibitions in the tech calendar, such as the Berlin-based IFA show, let the general public in to get up close and personal with the gadgets. However, MWC guards its wares much more closely, so unless you're a journalist or you work in the mobile industry then you won't make it though the door.

With the exception of Apple, which always does its own thing when it comes to exhibitions and product launches, all the big players of the mobile industry will be attending the show, so you can expect to see the latest news from the likes of HTC, Samsung, LG, and Motorola. It seems that Nokia will be attending, despite internet rumours that it wouldn't be taking part in the show this year. As well as the handset makers, the show will also play host to chipset manufacturers, such as Qualcomm, who are responsible for the technical wizardry under the chassis of your mobile, along with content providers, app developers and just about every other company under the sun that has anything to do with mobile technology.

Even if you haven't heard of MWC before, you've probably heard of many of the products that have made their debut there including the HTC Desire, HTC Legend and Samsung Wave, which were all unveiled at the 2010 show. We're also expecting plenty of hot product launches at MWC 2011, not least the Sony Ericsson PlayStation phone.

Team Pocket-lint will be travelling to MWC 2011 in Barcelona to bring you the latest tech stories. Armed with our technical expertise along with cameras, notepads, laptops and extensive caffeine supplies, we'll be storming the show floor to get up close and personal with as many of the new products as we can possibly get our paws on.

Don't miss out on the action - you can keep up to date with all the latest news from the show at our dedicated MWC 2011 page.



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