February 9, 2008 6:00 AM PST
The next big things in wireless
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Location and navigation
Location won't only be discussed in the context of advertising or search, but there will likely be more talk about using location technologies to improve navigation services. Nokia last year announced the 6110 Navigator phone and mapping service. In October, the company said it was buying digital map supplier Navteq for $8.1 billion. To show off its navigation prowess, Nokia has scheduled tours of Barcelona next week for journalists to test its navigation tools and service. So stay tuned for a first-hand account of how this service works in the real world.
The social-networking craze has come to the mobile phone, and the topic promises to be a hot one at Mobile World Congress. There's a whole session dedicated to social networking at the show. And there will likely be a lot of announcements concerning cell phone makers partnering with popular social-networking sites, such as Facebook and Myspace.com, to make it easier for users to access those sites on their mobile phones. There will also likely be some announcements around making it easier to upload user-generated content, like photos and video, to mobile phones.
The developing world
With half the world's population expected to own at least one mobile phone by the middle of this year, operators and cell phone manufacturers are looking toward the developing world for growth. The market is already saturated in developed markets like North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, so it makes sense that companies would turn to developing countries where cell phone penetration is much less.
There will likely be a lot of talk around making phones affordable for consumers in the poorest countries in the world. But entertainment companies and other mobile content providers are also expected to look more closely at developing markets as they realize the potential of these untapped regions.
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