Last week more than 60,000 people from 200 countries descended upon Barcelona for the largest mobile exhibition in the world: Mobile World Congress 2011.

This year, the latest and greatest tablets and smartphones were the centre of the Mobile World Congress 2011’s buzz. So what was unveiled?

Well, there was HP’s Touchpad, the RIM PlayBook, Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play, the HTC Desire S,Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, HTC’s Flyer and LG Optimus Pad to name just a few. Tablets and smartphones weren’t the only words on people lips. There was also much talk of 4G networks. Verizon Wireless made what the company claimed was the world’s first voice over LTE call using a commercial LTE network.

So what does the rise of tablets and sense that 4G networks are on the horizon mean? People are now accustomed to consuming content on the move – and not just in their personal lives. How many people do you see every day checking their emails on smartphones or laptops? How many people in your office spend a few days a month working from home or remote offices? People no longer expect to be sitting at their desks, all day, every day.

The 21st century workforce is quite happy to work on documents when travelling to or from meetings or work through their emails on the journey to the office. As a result, networks and devices are evolving to support this. Forrester Research predicts that there will be 344 million mobile users in Europe alone by 2014 – this is 84 per cent of the Western European population. The analyst house also estimates that 40 per cent of European consumers arebeginning to use mobile services beyond voice and communication services.

On a global level, research firm Gartner has revealed that global smartphone sales increased 72 per cent in 2010 to 297 million units. To cope with the explosion of mobile data traffic that devices from Apple and RIM are driving, faster mobile broadband will be welcomed with open arms by business and consumers alike

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