For mobile enthusiasts, the GSMA's Mobile World Congress
is basically the focal point of the entire year -- a CES- or CeBIT-caliber event where manufacturers, carriers, software firms, and everyone in between gather to show off their latest goods in a setting where mobile is all that matters. In general, tradeshows have been showing signs of weakness; at many events, exhibitors and attendees have both withdrawn slightly in recent years as companies look to make announcements on their own schedule and their own terms (and a soft economy certainly doesn't help, either). This isn't any old company pulling out of MWC, though -- we've been able to independently confirm that Nokia, the world's largest phone manufacturer, is dramatically shifting its focus at the show next year by moving from a consumer-centric exhibition to an infrastructure-focused one led by its Nokia Siemens joint venture, using the existence of Nokia World
as one of the justifications for the move. As far as we can tell, the industry's commitment to MWC remains very strong, but this isn't exactly a fly-by-night shop pulling its two-man stand out of the show -- it's definitely something to keep an eye on.