Sony's president opened the CeBIT trade show with a speech focusing on wireless data services and the convergence of computing, telecommunications and the internet.
"IT, communications and entertainment are all coming together," said Kunitake Ando. "A world of connected devices is emerging with new applications and content that will delight consumers."
Sony, Nokia and Philips will announce their joint development of a wireless technology to further the steady advance of wireless computing, he added.
"Our vision is to create a world where, regardless of the codec [coder-decoder] or operating system, users will be able to connect with anyone and enjoy content in a protected manner," he said.
Eight out of every 10 mobile phones sold in Japan today are equipped with a digital camera, and customers use their phones to download songs, music videos and movie trailers.
Such devices, combined with the emerging 3G mobile data networks, provide a richer wireless experience that is like "the difference between listening to radio and watching colour television", he said.
This year's CeBIT marks the real start of the broadband era, in which the experience of end users will be transformed through the delivery of digital services tailored to their tastes, he said.
Ando was followed by German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who discussed the importance of economic and social policies to advance the prosperity of Germany and the stability of the European Union.
Germans will be able to use digital signatures for all legal and business activities by the end of 2005, he said. And, by the end of the decade, half of its citizens will have a broadband internet connection and all television content will be digitised.
Proper training and education are essential if all Germans are to become part of the "information society", he said. In mobile services, Germany has caught up with Sweden and the UK and is ahead of the US.
Willi Berchtold, president of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, or "Bitkom", opened the ceremony by heralding the arrival of an upturn in the economy after years of decline.
Bitkom forecasted 4% growth in worldwide IT spending for 2004, with 3% growth in Europe and 2.5% for Germany.
James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service