Mobile World Congress to focus on advertising, marketing

Nokia is hoping to lure developers with a large, 2,300 square meter exhibition space

In February, the mobile industry will once again head to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress (MWC), which will feature a new section focusing on different aspects of mobile marketing, show organizer GSM Association (GSMA) said on Tuesday.

The event will be held between Feb. 27 and March 1 at the Fira de Barcelona Montjuic in Barcelona.

The new mobile marketing section has been dubbed "mPowered Brands," and will, for example, feature a dedicated exhibition where vendors can showcase advertising research, ad networks and mobile operator ad solutions, according to the GSMA.

Focusing more on mobile advertising is a good move, according to Shaun Collins, managing director at market research company CCS Insight. Mobile advertising is one of the areas the industry is investigating to make money from in the future, Collins said.

The focus on application development at MWC will continue as developers are after all "the new royalty" of the mobile sector, according to Collins. The App Planet returns for a third year, and will again feature an exhibition, developer conferences and networking.

One of the companies that is betting big on App Planet is Nokia. The struggling mobile phone vendor will exhibit in a 2,300 square meter space, presumably to try to boost interest for Windows Phone among developers.

Nokia is expected to launch its first smartphone based on Microsoft's operating system later this year and then expand the portfolio with several new models in 2012. MWC will likely be the big coming out party for those models, Collins said.

Nokia is keeping its plan under wraps: the company is "excited about the opportunity to exhibit in such a large space at App Planet," a spokeswoman said via e-mail.

The list of exhibitors -- including Google, HTC, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Research In Motion and Samsung -- looks complete, except for Apple, which once again seems to have decided to skip the event.

The current list of speakers is dominated by CEOs from all parts of the world. HTC CEO Peter Chou is also confirmed to speak, according to the GSMA.

The conference will also feature dedicated tracks on applications, embedded mobile, mobile health, mobile money, next-generation technologies as well as sessions covering cloud computing, developing markets, devices and network capacity.

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