What is MWC?

The GSMA Mobile World Congress – better known as MWC to many – is one of the world's biggest annual tech tradeshows. Dedicated to all things mobile, it is rivalled only by Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show and Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin – also known as IFA.

When I think about MWC, my mind immediately conjures up images of bustling crowds, tech booths, smartphones and sun-soaked Barcelona. However, not even a decade ago, the conference looked markedly different.

The MWC we know today originally took place under the banner "GSM World Congress", which later became "3GSM World Congress". Even now, it is still referred to by many as "3GSM" or "3GSM World".

Perhaps more surprisingly, MWC shared little connection with Barcelona, or even Spain, before 2006. It was instead always held in Cannes, on the French Riviera. It has now, of course, established a base in the enormous Fira Gran Via conference centre just off the Spanish coast.

Attracting the usual mix of company executives, industry experts, enthusiasts, PR and journalists, the tradeshow typically brings in over 60,000 attendees from all over the world. Simply put, it is the perfect place for industry heavyweights to assert their power and a great platform for smaller outfits to make a lasting impression. Last year's event was the scene for the launch of the LG Optimus G Pro, Huawei Ascend P2, Sony Xperia Tablet Z, Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and plenty more gadgets.

If you think that was impressive, you should check out this year's menu.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Gear 2, Tab 4, Blackphone, Jolla, YotaPhone, Nokia "Normandy" and wearables from the likes of Huawei and HTC are just a handful of the devices we expect to see while we're out there.

Quite simply, the 2014 edition of the show promises to be one of the most action-packed ever. Monday's agenda alone sounds almost too good to be true.

ITProPortal will be delivering comprehensive, blow-by-blow coverage of everything that goes down in Barcelona, so stay tuned. Our live blog will be up and running in a couple of hours, but if you can't quite wait that long, click on over to our dedicated MWC 2014 hub.