Friday, October 30, 2009

Le Web Paris 09-a taste of le web to come

With the French flair and panache followers of Loic Le Meur are well used to, a preview of what is to come at Le Web Paris 09 has been released. Teaming up with co-organiser and wife Geraldine, Loic describes the exciting programme for this year's event.Click here to watch the video.

Some of the great themes that will be covered this year include:

-Mobility: get it now, immediately

-The Free culture

-Building the new business models

-Buying is one click away

-The Real-Time web through the eyes of “Generation Young”

If you are grappling with these fundamental issues already, don't miss out on the debate in Paris. Contact me to obtain a special 10% discount on the ticket price for being a reader of this blog!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Motorola Droid-first mover on Android 2.0 operating system

When Eric Schmidt from Google talks about future market trends (with convenient bite-sized quotes) people sit up and listen. When he recently announced that there would be 'an explosion of Android adoption', a lot of people got very excited and his may indeed soon become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

One of the catalysts for this explosion could very well come from the sleek and feature-packed Droid, just out this week in the US. It boasts a big screen with great resolution (about double that of the iPhone 3G), pull out QWERTY keyboard and a 5MP camera with flash and zoom.

All the right bits of hardware seem to be in place but what about the software? Android 2.0 (codename 'Eclair') is definitely a step up from its predecessor and more and more apps are coming on stream in the Android Market. Sure, we are still far from the mecca of the Apple App Store, but things are moving on nicely.

As Apple and Google begin to diverge in their strategic objectives for mobile (Apple limiting releases of some Google products like Google Talk and Google pre-releasing new products on Android, such as the new Google Maps Navigation software, part of the hegemenony of Apple will clearly be challenged.

Sooner or later, I expect Apple to drop Google Maps altogether and replace it with its in-house mapping product Placebase. Boy, will that be a landmark for the iPhone! And it will also mean that consumers will more and more make their handset purchase decision based on whether their preferred software is featured or not.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Le Web 09 Paris-Get ready for Real-time web, European-style

PARIS- LeWeb09, the leading event in Europe for tech start-ups focussed on both web and (increasingly) mobile, is just round the corner, with Loic and Geraldine LeMeur preparing a packed agenda for the 2-day event.

Last year, Paulo Coelho, Dave Morin (Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (Google) presented their ideas about the future. This year, following the Twitter hype, founder Jack Dorsey will give a keynote, together with a power line-up of speakers including Niklas Zennstrom (Skype founder now at Atomico Ventures) and controversial figure Michael Arrington (of Techcrunch and protagonist of a heated debate at last year's event).

The event is expected to pull in over 1800 participants and be a complete sell-out, so don't miss out if you want the inside track not only of the European but also the global tech start-up scene.

I feel priviliged to have been selected as Official Blogger for the event, so will be bringing you news straight from the frontline..stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tooio is to mobile what Tuenti is to web

Tooio (pronounced Two-ee-yo) has been pioneering Location-Based Mobile Social Networking since 2008, with its own twist -firstly, though maps feature within its app they are not, perhaps surprisingly, the main feature and secondly, Tooio's strategy has been to focus exclusively on Spain.

Having initially launched on Blackberry, Java-enabled phones and iPhone, Tooio is now releasing its Android version -sign of a clear commitment to product development.

The company raised $2m in November 2008 reflecting a clear show of faith in Tooio's CEO Rafa Casado's capabilities in launching new services and his pedigree as former chief of Terra Networks, a leading web operator in Spain.

But competition in Location-based social networks is tough, and models that work great on the web (such as 'Spanish Facebook' Tuenti) don't easily translate on mobile. This has meant that despite Tooio's brave efforts, it hasn't been able to gain the traction it requires to develop a critical mass of users. Reviews of its iPhone app are mixed (though the later release seems to have improved things) and its decision to limit and then reduce the number of free messages allowed between community members was heavily criticized by users.

A key success factor for Tooio will be the ability to import relevant (and original!) content and create that unique catch that will make it popular -the long tail of marketing is (very) long and a one-size-fits-all strategy is increasingly making way for unique niche-marketing.

Tooio has great potential -it has built a leading position in its geographical market and has the product development firepower to deliver- but will need to focus on offering a great all-round user experience if it is to stay ahead of rivals.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ikea Augmented Reality Concept-coming to a smartphone near you (maybe)

For those of you who missed it, last August an AR concept for IKEA was launched based on a simple premise of allowing customers to picture what a certain piece of furniture would like in their home. The concept reflects the increasing possibilities of Augmented Reality to marry the real with the digitally-enhanced world within sound commercial solutions.

The application, of which you can see some screenshots below, allows users to view an overlaid picture of the desired piece of furniture and place it within the intented position in a room by viewing the room through the mobile device's videocamera.

The user can also save the picture and send it via MMS if they wish to do so.

While it may be some time before these types of applications become mainstream, the current prediction for smartphone sales suggests this will be sooner than you think. Smartphone sales that support AR apps account for less than 20% of the overall global market but are growing fast and are predicted to reach 50% of the mobile market within the next five years.