Thursday, November 29, 2007
Mobius 2007 Amsterdam: Day One
Posted by Jason Dunn in "EVENT" @ 05:00 PM
Figure 1: John Starkweather from Microsoft, Mobius host.
I spoke about the AT&T Tilt I was using, and the 80 GB Zune I brought with me. Perhaps surprisingly in a room full of phone enthusiasts, more of the questions were about the Zune. It was interesting seeing short demos from other people and the devices they were using.
The attendance list was as follows:
Rafe Blandford www.allaboutsymbian.com
Paul O'Brien www.modaco.com
Nghia Nguyen www.pdafrance.com
Arne Hess www.theunwired.net
Guido Bonati www.solopalmari.com
Remo Knops www.pocketinfo.nl
Eldar Murtazin www.mobile-review.com/index-en.shtml
Philip Berne www.infosyncworld.com
Shane Chiang www.ppcsg.com
Paul Matt www.phonedaily.com
Jenneth Orantia www.roam-magazine.com.au
Andrew Shuttleworth www.windowsmobileinjapan.com
Atushi Koyanagi www.htc-fan.jp
Mauricio Freitas www.geekzone.co.nz
Matt Miller blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer
Ryan Block www.engadget.com
Jason Dunn www.pocketpcthoughts.com
Michael Oryl www.mobileburn.com
Judie Lipsett www.geardiary.com
Eric Lin www.phonescoop.com
Vincent Nguyen www.slashphone.com
Dieter Bohn www.treocentral.com
The second presentation was from Jason Langridge, better known as “Mr. Mobile”. He talked about the latest home screen designs: the Neo interface on the T-Mobile Shadow, the TPP (terminal platforms program) interface on the Vodaphone Palm Treo 500v, and Vodaphone’s Samsung SGH-i620 a.k.a. “Sangria”. He talked a little about Office Mobile 6.1: it now offers ZIP support (both unzipping of attachments and zipping), support for Office 2007 file formats, and is available as a free upgrade for users with Office Mobile 6.0. The new 6.1 version will be available for purchase from Handango at some point in the near future – Langridge said they were in the midst of figuring out the price point. Let’s hope it’s not too ridiculous – I think anything over $29.95 is too much.
Team Calendar was another application that Langridge talked about – it looks like a very useful application for individuals and small business owners who don't have Exchange solutions in place, but it also offers improvements over Exchange due to the fact that it will automatically search for free time slots in everyone's schedule. Another interesting application, Oops I’m Late, looks at your current GPS location and sends a text message to the person you have a meeting with, giving them an estimated arrival time based on your GPS location. Neat idea!
Windows Mobile: What's Next
We saw the next version of Windows Mobile, and here's what I can tell you about it: it's an update and not an upgrade (it's not Windows Mobile 7). The update will be provided to device manufacturers in Q1 2008. I saw it running on current hardware (something released within the past 18 months), and it was snappy. As part of the "handshake NDA" at Mobius, none of us are permitted to write about the details of what we were shown, only our impressions of what we saw. My impression was extremely positive – not jaw-dropping, "How did they do that?" positive, but a lot of head-nodding and "Finally!" positive. I definitely wanted to have the update on my phone, that's for sure – I saw a great increase in functionality that will make any Windows Mobile user happy.
Mobile Marketplace Trends
Figure 2: Paul Jackson from Forrester Research.
Paul Jackson, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, presented a boatload of mobile-related data. Some interesting points I culled from his presentation (apologies for the death by bullet points):
• India's mobile market is primed to ramp up heavily in the next year
• Using the "mobile Internet" outside of Japan is still "geek behaviour" – 11% of the US market will browse the mobile Internet (basically anything outside SMS messaging)
• In Japan, weather, transport times, news, and entertainment (in that order) are the top usage scenarios for mobile Internet usage
• Handsets are powerful enough today to handle most scenarios
• Storage costs are trending toward zero – 2 GB SD for £7.41, the cost per MB is nearing zero
• In Europe, most of the network and bandwidth humps have been solved. EDGE and GPRS is near-ubiquitous, operating competition is driving data costs down
• User interfaces are catching up with demand. Input via pen, touch, scroll wheel, roller ball, and even voice. There's no common design language among manufacturers – he hates his Blackberry because his past few phones have been Nokia, and the language had to be re-learned
• Mobile Web access: support for most plug-ins (i.e.: the YouTube test), screen resolution improvements, better navigation metaphors, but some compromise is always needed
• Nokia is the #1 phone manufacturer in the world, Samsung is #2, Motorola is #3
Figure 3: Random gadget being passed around the room time! I got a bit of hands-on time with the Kindle. Interesting device, but the hardware design is ugly and awkward. The screen is sure easy to read - until you accidentally press the next/previous buttons on the side of the device and watch the screen vanish and re-draw itself.
• Technology trends: display innovation (e-paper, flexible displays, mobile protection, direct retinal projection), augmented reality (hold up your phone, navigation data is overlaid over top of what your camera phone is looking at), touch and motion control (multi-touch, Wii control, haptic feedback), next-generation communication and commerce (telepresence, virtual worlds, payment presence and commerce), technology life integration (wearable technology, personal area networks, solar panels)
• Consumer trends: hyper-connectivity (many protocols, many solutions, many technologies, not much intelligent network switching yet), mass mobility (no PC is necessarily involved, migrate current PC storage and "master" functions into the network cloud, key advantage in PC-shy or developing markets), true Web ubiquity (moving from the "twice daily" mobile Web to the "100 times daily" mobile Web, forget the "connect to get news" concept, multi-platform plays), mobile in the digital home (using the handset as a remote control, VOIP, remote media access)
• Social computing: blogs, wikis, P2P file sharing, virtual worlds, podcasting are important to some consumers, but not all. At the top of the ladder you have creators (they create the content), below that are critics (people who comment, give input on the content), collectors (seek out cool stuff the other people create, they aggregate content and share it with others), joiners (maintain profiles on social networks), spectators (read blogs, don't comment, watch videos), inactives (none of the above). Roughly half of the population isn't doing any of this and fall into the inactives category.
• Millennials (anyone born after 1980) like to receive information quickly, from multiple sources, and in real time. Like to parallel process and multitask. Like to work in peer groups, are more learner-centered with teacher as a guide. They have little patience for IT systems and prefer to "construct" their knowledge from experiences. They tend to be more visual learners, and are flexible, adaptable, and comfortable with uncertainty in a change-driven world.
• Convergence vs. Divergence: will one mobile device rule the pocket? Can one device replace multiple devices today? The case for convergence is that one device means less storage, less new UI to learn, less cost, one thing to recharge. The case against convergence is that one device, when the battery is used up, means you can't do anything at all. Historically they've been weak "Jack of All Trades" devices. As devices and services prices drop, micro-segmentation occurs, which makes it even less likely that one device will suit multiple purposes.
Figure 4: Feel the energy in the room! Ok, maybe not, but we do have some good discussions.