The inaugural Mobile Life exhibition kicks off at Earls Court in London today. Backed by the Carphone Warehouse, Mobile Life is the biggest mobile communications event in the country.

All the major network providers and manufacturers are there, including Vodafone, Orange and Nokia. The emphasis is on the latest mobile phones services, such as video calling and messaging, but there is some new hardware to be seen as well.

Siemens is debuting the SX1 camera phone which features number keys set into the side of the handset. The design is intended to enable users to text with two hands rather than one, thus speeding up the process. At around around £300 with a contract, though, having the latest model doesn't come cheap.

Motorola is displaying its V600, a quad-band phone that can be used on any GSM network worldwide, although it won't be available in the UK until autumn.

SmartWorld, Microsoft's own exhibition within the show, is designed to demonstrate to users just what can be done with the Orange SPV Smartphone. There are six mini-zones, representing different environments such as an internet cafe and a photographer's studio.

The Orange SPV has overcome problems with poor battery life with a downloadable patch made available earlier this year. Simeon Payne, Microsoft's UK product marketing manager hinted that a new Smartphone would hit the market later in 2003 but he could not confirm exact timings.

The event continues this weekend when a bevy of exciting celebrities, including Eric Bristow, Phil Tufnell and Stuart Hall, will be there to rally the throng of visitors. Ticket prices are £10 in advance and £12 on the door.