With another Mobile 2.0 conference just wrapped up I wanted to just highlight some of the topics and conversations:
- Irv Henderson from Yahoo kicked off the topic with a presentation that included a sub-$100 phone that included a bunch of smartphone level capabilities (covered in detail by Dennis in his wrapup of business day). He was demoing the browser in particular, and how Yahoo is using the mobile web to reach all these devices that it would impossible to port to. Lots of other folks in conversations picked up the thread however. In particular I detected an edge of panic from handset and operating system providers whenever the name MediaTek was used
- Lots of talk, as always, about addressing the developing world. But the talk always seems to be very high level pontificating. My attempts to nail down even just one or two solid bits of advice for folks interesting in addressing that market with a new offering mostly came up empty. One bit from Purnima Kochikar did register however. She noted that in India in particular folks do not want subscription/bundle services. They would rather pay more for a single-serving version and be able to pick and choose on their own. She used the example of a video service that that charges a small amount for individual clips, and is doing quite well with the model. Practical advice FTW!
- From the developer day stuff I was blown away by how many folks are using PhoneGap. Most objections to using the mobile web can be answered for almost any platform with “well just wrap it in a PhoneGap project till that kind of thing gets fixed”. The Palm folks use it, Nokia uses it, the toolset folks use it. Fantastic to see.
- For a while I’ve been saying that tying more offline purchases into mobile will bring the real state-change we’ve been looking for in mobile advertising. It looks like the way that’s starting to happen is via geo-local advertising. It doesn’t sound like the standards have followed here (no one I spoke to knew of MMA or IAB standardized methods for specifying the geo info associated with ad buys), but folks on the panels claimed that advertising spend on local services was up significantly so far this year. Foursquare is the main driver of conversation here, but apparently couponing and incentive offers in apps like Yelp, on yp.com, and through Navteq LocationPoint are starting to open up the door. Those local ads tend to be drivers for real world commerce… so this should be fantastic news.
Probably my biggest realization however was how much mobile has grown. I actually learned a lot at Mobile 2.0 developer day, cause I’m just not able to follow everything interesting happening in mobile. 3 or 4 years ago that wasn’t the case, it was pretty easy to play with all the new stuff and be aware of all the activity. I just can’t do it any more though, it seems like every time I turn around there’s a new tool or technique I’m not aware of. I was chatting with Bruce Jones from GetJar about it, he’s been around for quite a while too. I was actually wondering if I’m just getting too old and tired to be able to cover everything, and he suggested that there’s just more going on. So it could be that he was just trying to make me feel better…
I don’t think that’s the case. If I take a look at the lineup of mobile related events happening this month it’s staggering. When we started doing this it was pretty much us and CTIA. Now there’s MobileBeat, AppNation, Mobilize, D4M, MobiTechFest, Think Mobile, and more. I think that’s a pretty solid indicator that the growth is real.