BARCELONA, Spain – The Trump administration has sent a delegation to Spain this week to defend its position against the Chinese technology company Huawei at one of the world's largest trade shows in technology.
But the event, called MWC Barcelona, has turned out to be a favorable pitch for the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer.
Of the more than 100,000 participants and 2,400 companies participating in the event, most ignored US efforts to impose a ban on Huawei for security and surveillance risks.
Instead, they chose to focus on the upcoming introduction of next generation wireless networks in the long term, 5G, not to mention new smartphones, robots and other foldable devices connected to the Internet.
For Huawei, the huge conference was an indispensable opportunity to show strength after months of defensive about the campaign led by the Americans.
The company accused of being a espionage instrument for the Chinese government, was omnipresent in Barcelona. Huawei had the biggest and most popular stand, which looked like a sprawling covered city that took half of a convention hall. The booth presented a demonstration area for its new smartphones, a digital pool ready for Instagram and a wandering robot. Its outdoor picnic area was equipped with Iberian ham, Chinese breads with meat, fresh fish and Mediterranean salads.
Even the cords worn by conference participants bore the Huawei mark.
MWC Barcelona is similar to the annual reach and the annual hype The CES show in Las Vegas, one of the world's largest consumer electronics events. The MWC Barcelona fills eight conference rooms with loud sensory overload booths from companies such as Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, Microsoft, Nokia and Ericsson.
Although the majority of men are present, the event is more diverse than most technology conferences, bringing together representatives from 208 countries. As you walk, you have heard people speak English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian and Arabic.
On Tuesday, after Guo Ping, president of Huawei, used a keynote speech to defend the company, the company hosted one of the biggest parties of the week on the stadium field used at the Beijing Olympics. 1992.
US officials had to hold a hastily called press conference Tuesday on a booth operated by the Spanish government. They presented no new evidence against Huawei.
The conference presented an overview of the latest trends in mobile telephony, including the capabilities of the new 5G hyperfast networks. For years, technology has been more promising than actual uses. Leaders said faster networks would make their debut this year, with wider adoption coming in 2020 and beyond.
To show the utility of 5G, the Chinese company ZTE has programmed a group of industrial robots to play the piano and drums during the event to illustrate how high-speed networks can be used by heavy machinery. Flight simulators, car racing games, drones and beer barrels connected to the Internet were also available for testing.
Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president of wireless equipment supplier Cisco Systems, said the 5G technology is ready for prime time and would allow new applications in augmented reality, healthcare and industrial plants.
"We are now entering an era where 5G has 10 times more bandwidth available," said Davidson. "It changes the equation."
Mobile phone manufacturers rely on 5G to boost their growth. Last year, Smartphone sales fell for the first time since Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007.
As a reliable growth engine of the technology industry, the demand for smartphones is crackling. People are staying longer on their devices and there are not many new markets where smartphones are not yet prevalent. More than five billion people worldwide are now subscribing to a mobile phone plan, according to GSMA, the industry's trade group.
Following the Apple initiative, many companies have introduced new handsets at MWC Barcelona at prices that would have seemed unfathomable a few years ago. In Barcelona, Samsung introduced its previously announced device, with a collapsible display, worth $ 2,000. Huawei has introduced a competing foldable device called Mate X, which will cost around $ 2,600 and will be available around the middle of the year outside the United States.
"People are demanding more from their phones," said Maxime Guirauton, Samsung's marketing director in Europe. "Innovation has a price."
Microsoft introduced a new augmented reality headsetHoloLens 2, which costs US $ 3,500 and targets more companies than general consumers. People have formed long queues to try the equipment, including using the glasses during a demonstration to repair the water sanitation equipment.
Google was also very present at the show, with its Android software feeding the remarkable new phones unveiled in Barcelona. The Internet company has scattered people around the conference wearing white suits to showcase the virtual assistant of Google Assistant.
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies at Samsung's booth, said it was difficult to gauge the extent to which new products being introduced this week would benefit customers. The success of gadgets such as foldable phones will depend on the application applications that users want to use.
"It's going to determine whether it's a niche, a fashion or a mass market," she said.
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