Services are everything in Barcelona

For those fortunate enough to attend this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC), a new, and possibly unique, service will be at your very finger, which will help the user find the nearest and cleanest public toilet in Barcelona based on peer reviews and ratings of facilities.

I understand and accept that the mobile industry is becoming all-enveloping, but peer reviews of lavatories on your handset! Will we shortly see TripAdvisor launch a spin-off? PissoirAdvisor perhaps?

Forgive me, perhaps the brouhaha of this year's MWC is all becoming just too much.

Certainly, the idea of grand product launches on the opening day is gone, with many of the leading handset vendors releasing their latest shiny gadgets last week. Major contract wins by the infrastructure vendors has followed the same route--so what will they announce this week to the 50,000 people that will flock to Barcelona?

What won't be mentioned is the little 'local difficulty' that continues to rumble ever onwards in Bochum, a small town in Germany--that's if you want an invite to the Nokia shindig, which has provided memorable entertainment in the past. Perhaps Motorola will save the day by continuing to attract the focus of those annoying analysts and journalists searching for a good story--or credible company strategy.

Continuing to amaze are the ever-growing number of applications and services that companies are developing for the mobile handset--the brilliant, mad, bad and weird (MizPee is in there somewhere), with only a very few able to gain operator and consumer attention. Has anyone ever calculated what has been spent in this segment compared to the ROI?

What is slightly worrying is that the mobile industry expends enormous effort and resource convincing itself how wonderful this technology is--and it is truly magnificent. But does the consumer know or care?

Perhaps that's the biggest challenge we face--intuitive and genuinely useful services. -Paul

P.S. Check out our live coverage of Mobile World Congress at our coverage page.