Friday, May 28, 2010

Open Mobile Summit Day 2 -May 27th

By Andrew Till
Day 2 of the Open Mobile Summit continued to stimulate much industry debate. At the heart of much of the discussion was “will the web win over apps?”. For this author this was largely a mute question as the key issue is rather how does the industry help developers create, publish, and be discovered. So while the debate raged on with almost religious intensity at times the key takeaway message was give developers great tools and let them worry about what the right approach is based on the experience they want to deliver.

There was also a lot of debate about “how low can Smartphones go”. It’s clear that Smartphone are poised for rapid growth over the next 5 years not only in established Western European markets but on a global stage. There was much excitement about the prospect of true low cost mass market handsets running Android and Symbian reaching consumers hands in the second half of the year. Orange shared some interesting data such as their expectation that by the end of the year 50%, yes 50%, of new handset they buy will be running a Smartphone OS.

Nokia showed that they are far from giving up their leadership of the mobile market. During a keynote presentation they shared some compelling data about the growth of the OVI platform (now hitting 1.75m downloads of applications and content per day), the uptake of their new mobile maps strategy (11M users of Drive and Walk) and a very interesting insight to the emerging markets where they have 1.5M paying users of Nokia Life Tools. As you would expect Nokia also hit on its new handset offerings such as its first Symbian 3 handset the N8 and also announced that MeeGo release 1 is now available for download.
There was much discussion of the role of tablets moving forwards. Clearly the iPad has got off to a flying start and many, including CCS’s Ben Wood, openly stated that it was outperforming their expectations. Indeed Ben went so far as to say it would own 80% of the tablet market. Aside from agreeing that tablets are set for higher levels of success than expected there was also a lot of focus on the usage model. Clearly publishers like this new format for delivering real time content to a device where it is easy to consume print as well as new multimedia formats. However others believe that Tablets will become a “device for updating Facebook while watching TV”. Regardless of the usage model it’s now clear that Tablets will find their own niche in the market and will also force the industry to think anew about how to enable consumers to take content and experiences across the rapidly growing range of format factors.

There we also some great presentations on the role of User Experience design from companies such as Frog Design and TAT- The Astonishing Tribe. Clearly they are enjoying the new world of open platforms and have the shackles removed from their creativity. IF half of the concepts shown come to market that this is going to be one amazing industry to be part of. Interactive applications that have the intelligence to help you find and share content with friends, boundless usages of Augmented Reality, a significantly reduced number of clicks – at this point I have to give great credit to the presentor from TAT who managed to overcome IT issues saying "Click" every time he wanted to change slides while talking about reducing the number of clicks. It turned out to be a great way to deliver the message – instant recognition of people and places with the ability to immediately interact with friends around the media and as you would expect all wrapped up in mouth watering eye candy and delivered on a wide range of new device form factors.

So all in all a very insightful two days covering many of the key issues in our industry and as I look in to my crystal ball I am looking forward to
· Much faster connectivity much sooner than expected
· No limitations on creativity
· More development options with enhanced, HMTL 5 enabled, browsers
· Ever more gorgeous user experiences
· Ever increasing levels of competition – driving innovation
· A better focus on making applications and content stores work for developers

Now I think I need to go and write a new Christmas list!

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