mwc-15In the world’s version of football (what we in the U.S. call soccer), FC Barcelona is perennially one of the best teams in the sport. However, at the Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona this week, Apple, the team that many think of as the best in mobile, is conspicuously absent.

Of course, that’s nothing new. Apple is famous for not attending any tech events but their own (and to steal a bit of MWC’s thunder, Apple has an event planned for early next week). But Apple wasn’t completely absent from day one of MWC. One of the main announcements of note concerned their continuing partnership with IBM to build better enterprise applications.

One can’t help but appreciate the goal of this joint effort, as enterprise apps can use all the help they can get in the areas of design and usability. However, while the fruits of this union have been impressive looking, most so far are in vertical areas like retail and travel, so many of us stuck with lousy business apps may have to wait a bit longer to see any benefits.

Another interesting trend so far at MWC is the increasing prevalence of good but inexpensive smartphones. For those (like myself) who tend to be frugal in our purchases, it’s welcome to see decent phones, priced around $150, that provide all the capabilities we need, give us the freedom of an unlocked phone, and don’t force us to break the bank or agree to a long term contract with a carrier.

Though in the world of more pricey, high-end smartphones, Samsung did debut their Galaxy S6 devices, which have some nice features, including wireless charging, and should serve to keep some current users from jumping ship.

However, one of the most promising announcements of day one at MWC was Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sense ID 3-D Fingerprint biometric technology. If we’re ever to see a more secure, password-free world, biometric technology needs to improve and there looks to be a lot to like about Qualcomm’s new offering, which they say will be able to effectively identify even dirty or sweaty fingers and could work through touch screens.

We’ll keep an eye on MWC all this week to look for more of the key technologies and products coming out of the show.

Read Aberdeen’s research into mobile technology