Barcelona’s growing influence in the mobile startups world has seen it named host of the Mobile World Congress. Anyone interested in attending will need accommodation during their stay. ShBarcelona, the market leader in Barcelona rentals, is the ideal place to arrange your Barcelona vacation rentals.
Mobile is becoming the leading user interface to the internet. This year, the amount of mobile devices on earth is set to surpass the number of people. US consumers now spend more time doing their online shopping on mobile devices than on PCs. On mobile devices, 80% of their online time is used on apps compared to 20% on the web. Mobile browser usage has tripled in the past three years and PC sales are dropping as smartphone and tablet sales rise.
These developments are not limited to stateside. European nations have experienced similar trends. Spain currently leads Europe in smartphone penetration, with 66% of mobile users owning a smartphone according to recent research by comScore. In Barcelona, the figure is even higher, at 74.4%.
Its high smartphone penetration, tech-savvy citizenry and the attractions of the city itself led Barcelona to be named the Mobile World Capital by the GSM Association in 2011, with a series of projects following aimed at making the city the industry’s centre of innovation, including the opening of the Mobile World Centre in Plaza Catalunya.
The crown jewel in Barcelona’s mobile startup scene is the mobile industy’s premier global event, the Mobile World Congress. This year it will take place at Fira de Barcelona Gran Via between 24-27 February. It combines the world’s largest exhibition for the industry, a conference and a packed schedule of events. Last year over 1,700 companies exhibited and over 72,000 visitors attended the event. The city will continue be the site of the Mobile World Congress through 2018.
Numerous further events for the mobile industry are held in Barcelona throughout the year, such as TechCrunch Mobile, where budding startups attending can pitch, network and attend panel discussions from venture capitalists and mobile companies.
Barcelona’s mobile tech credentials have been further boosted by support of the city council. In 2013, they opened a free trade zone for mobile technology companies in the 22@ technological district and enabled the payment of parking in the city through mobile devices via the apparkB app. They have also launched the Mobile Learning Awards for 2014 as a means to promote the usage of educational possibilities for mobile devices in schools.
Barcelona plays home to a myriad of mobile startups, including the free communications service yuilop, which was named ‘Best Mobile App’ in The Next Web Spanish Startup Awards 2013. The city has embraced the growth of mobile gaming and social networking on mobile devices, and today hosts the headquarters of Social Point, whose Dragon City release was awarded ‘Best Social Network Game’ and ‘Best Video Game’ at Gamelab 2013, and Akamon Entraertainment, whose casino games have surpassed 10 million registered users and was named ‘Rising Star’ at the 2012 eGaming Review Operator Awards.
British mobile gaming company King, creators of Candy Crush, the most downloaded free app for iPhone and iPad in 2013, have recognised the city’s appeal, opening an office in Barcelona in 2012. The director of King in Spain, Manel Sort, explained the attraction of the city: “We have the talent, we are competitive and have a great climate and a mixed population in the city with people from all over Europe.” Barcelona’s goal to become the mobile capital of the world is more than just empty rhetoric.