Weekly Wrap: Wilkommen to CeBIT
By Carlo Longino, Fri Mar 14 15:50:00 GMT 2003

Lots of gadgets and little else at this year's CeBIT show...

Where are all the T-shirts? It's trade-show time at CeBIT in Hannover, and the amount of stuff being pawned off on attendees is way off, just one indication of the subdued atmosphere of this year's show. While some booths are still flashy and the VIPs are still sitting on high being served their gin and tonics, all things considered, things are pretty quiet as the show seemingly tries to decide on whether it aims to serve the business or consumer market.

But the flow of gadgets is as high as ever, with handset manufacturers caught in a perpetual state of one-up-manship. Generally speaking, camera phones are hot, and manufacturers are keen to show off devices with advanced music and gaming features.

Intel's latest hype project, the Centrino mobile processor chip line, also made its debut during the show, and Intel used the event to announce a number of deals with retailers like McDonald's and Borders Books to install Wi-Fi hot spots in their stores.

TheFeature's new Scream Event mobile news service broke the news during CeBIT of Vodafone's plans to export its Vodafone Live! mobile data service to networks other than its own. This would seem to be a home-brewed answer to NTT DoCoMo's global expansion of i-mode, which evidently isn't faring so well at attracting European users.

Nokia cast a pall over the beginning of the show when it said that first-quarter sales would come in at the low end of previous guidance, again pointing to declining network infrastructure sales, not giving too much hope to the notion that the worst was over for the mobile telecom industry.

In other non-CeBIT news, Hutchison 3G launched its service in Italy, "Tre," and said that users in that country would actually be able to enjoy their brand-new UMTS handsets with their cappuccinos, adding that their English users' wait for the new phones would be over by the weekend.