Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mobile Web Europe Conference- Key Takeaways

LONDON -It will take me a while to assimiliate 3-days worth of information on where we are headed with Mobile Web today but some of the key questions that were addressed were:

-Should we head towards a 'one-web' concept (same for PC and mobile as per the Convergence theorists) or more towards two distinct webs (as advocated in part by .mobi), one optimised for PC and the other optimised for Mobile (and the maligned 'small screen')?

-With much talk of Mobile Social Networks, shouldn't companies in this space realise that they need to focus on hosting the network instead of managing it? This was a great point mentioned by Priya Prakash of Flirtomatic, who also went on to state that a great host should facilitate conversations and act more as a matchmaker so that new contacts can be made

-Alfie Dennen from moblog:tech was of the opinion that the iphone has taken the industry a step back (due to its closed environment), something overlooked amongst the mass hysteria surrounding it

-Kashif Hassan, from ooober, made an excellent point about content, suggesting that given the sameness of many Mobile Social Networks, it is the presence of branded content that will make the difference...witness HBO's Entourage feature on the whrrl site be continued///

Friday, September 12, 2008

GeoMe quoted in El Pais Newspaper as Leading LBS Innovator

MADRID -El Pais, Spain's leading newspaper, published an article yesterday on Location Based Services and Mobile Social Networks, describing the overall environment and prospects.

'In Spain, there are a handful of innovative start-ups vying to lead the market.From the location-based service of GeoMe...the mobile phone is 'dressing up' with a web outfit in order to hit the town..' says Manuel Angel-Mendez, from El Pais.

I was interviewed for this article and duly get a quote later on where I state my view that most users don't want to be tracked wherever they are and prefer to leave messages on a map so that only their friends can see them if and when they are in the same area as the message.

Rummble, one of the companies presenting at the Mobile 2.0 Europe event in July in Barcelona (see previous quote) gets a well-deserved mention-they have a recommendation-based search function that allows community members to receive notifications according to your preferences.

'The barrier for mobile social networks is achieving a community of 100,000 users' continues Angel-Mendez, 'Once a service hits this magic number, anything is possible'.

For Spanish-speakers, the El Pais article can be referenced through the title link of this post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

deCarta devCON08-San Francisco 22-24 October

deCarta, one of the enablers behind NokiaMaps, is hosting its Development Forum, devCon08, at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco on the 22-24th October 2008.

The event will cover a wide range of development issues surrounding location on mobile, with both lecture-based and workshop-based sessions. The rough agenda is as follows:

  • Business and Industry sessions to provide the latest perspectives on mobile LBS market trends, technology requirements, roadblocks and opportunities, with individual presentations and panel discussions featuring some of the industry's leading experts.
  • Technical sessions going deep on topics such as advanced navigation capabilities, geo-coding, enabling the mobile Internet, real-time and thematic data integration, traffic, platform scalability, best practices for sat nav system UI design, and so on.
  • For developers who are new to location applications or deCarta's technology, a series of sessions will provide an accelerated course on developing applications using deCarta's DDS platform, Web Services and powerful JavaScript API, as well as deCarta's Nav.Net, and Internet connectivity for advanced personal navigation devices and smartphones.
  • A full-day, hands-on Developer's Workshop on the first day will be custom-tailored to help you accelerate your mobile application development.
For more info and to sign up, link through the title to the event website.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kevin Kelly's 'The One' Vision

A friend of mine pointed me to the video of Kevin Kelly's (Editor of Wired) presentation at the TED conference and his 'The One' vision is well worthy of being shared further.

His premise is that the web (not the internet) is only 5000 days old and has grown to an amazing level in that time in terms of complexity and functionality (and the amazing thing, he says, is that no-one is amazed).

He then looks at the future 5000 days of the web, which will be the 'Internet of Things'. He envisages total personalisation of the web in the future but at a cost of providing 'it' with total transparency of personal information...if you forget your phone number in the future, you will only have to google for it...

The future web will be smarter (and incorporate AI), will anticipate what we do and will be more ubiqitous.Everything will go through the web or be saved by the web. Scaringly, today the sum total in processing power (or 'intelligence') of the web is equal to that of one human brain but in 30 years' time, the intelligence of the web will exceed that of the whole of humanity put together...

In terms of mobile web, Kelly's vision puts portability of the web high on the agenda and connectivity everywhere -implying a dominant role for portable connected devices, mobile or otherwise.

I recommend you take a look at the video and judge for yourselves...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ecorio-scoops one of 10 top Android Developer Challenge Prizes

Sometimes a startup comes along and executes a nice, innovative concept in a beautifully simple way and with a nifty design...Ecorio is one of these rare pearls, with an application that allows you to measure and reduce your carbon footprint by keeping track of your journeys using the GPS on your mobile device.

Ecorio was founded by '5 guys from Ontario', and they came up with the simple 3-button model of ecorio:

Reduce-to find out how to save by changing route or transport mode
Inspire-with tips from community members on how to reduce environmental impact and
Offset-allows the user to mail himself with a carbon offset calculation and purchase carbon credits online.

Ecorio won one of 10 top prizes of $275,000 under the Android Developer Challenge competition and now has a real chance to build on their initial success and develop new features for their application.

View the full Android Developer Challenge results by clicking on the title link of this post.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fring-mVOIP startup works up an edge

Fring, the Israeli company with $10m funding (from Pitango Venture Capital and Veritas Venture Capital) launched its first Mobile VOIP (mVOIP) service back in January 2007, and since April this year has made its application available on the iPhone.

Fring works well with flat rate data tariffs as well as Wi-Fi. The nice aspects of the application are that you are able to see who is online before you call and to do so, you simply click on Fring’s green button icon.

Some debate exists as to which company is likely to make it in the mVOIP sector, where notable players include jajah and truphone (see my earlier post in January). Fring may have the edge, given that it is truly free (it works completely off the operator data plan with no extra charges) and also seems to have a clearer and more aggressive strategy than the others.

Truphone, though initially much hyped, initially set out to deliver mVOIP exclusively over Wi-Fi, a bold move but ultimately the wrong one, as it was later forced to additionally offer its service through the 3G network. It was also behind fring in offering its service on the iPhone, only releasing the app in July this year.

Fring has now also opened up its API to third parties, allowing it to build up something of a community in the future. It now features a Facebook add-on and encouraged microblogging through its FringOlympics promotion in the summer. The Fring-me widget is one the later additions to the stable of add-ons, allowing those connected to the web to see when a Fring user is online .

Monday, September 1, 2008

CERN Time Machine to start ticking on Sept 10th

GENEVA -I rarely stray from the main subject matter of my blog, but unless you've had your head buried in the sand during the summer vacations, you will realise that in just 9 days, the biggest scientific experiment ever planned will take place near the tranquil waters of Lake Leman in Geneva.

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile long particle accelerator at the CERN facilities (home of the inventor of the www), will accelerate matter to 0.01% of the speed of light and will be switched on for around 10 hours. During this time, its beam will travel roughly twice the distance between Neptune and the Earth.

All of this is vaguely reminiscent of Star Wars, and the photo (credit:Maximilien Brice, © CERN) reinforces this impression.

Exactly what will happen when the enormous amount of energy required to fire the beam is unleashed is anyone's guess but, if I were you, I'd plan a full backup of your computer files for September 9th...

A webcast is available at CERN, which you can reach by clicking on the title of this post.