Wednesday, October 31, 2007

>play's "Beyond Mobile 2.0"

I attended the UC Berkeley Digital Media and Entertainment >play Conference this past Saturday. The mobile panel focused around a somewhat vague, yet interesting topic: “Beyond Mobile 2.0”. The panel consisted of Steve Lee, Product Manager at Google Mobile, Tico Ballagas from Nokia, Jeff Sellinger, VP of Mobile at CBS, Rick Robinson, VP Products and Services at XOHM/Sprint, Evan Tana, Director of Product Marketing at Loopt, and moderated by Mike Rowehl of Sillicon Valley’s Mobile Monday, and AdMob’s tech dude. Some of the predominant themes were:


The most heard theme was: LBS is the key to providing targeted content.

According to Rick Robinson, the biggest problem with adoption today is the lack of privacy. However, I would agree with Evan’s response that the privacy control tools are in place today, so the biggest challenge is education (of consumers about these controls).

On Future of paid on deck applications:

According to Steve and Evan, both Google and Loopt get the whole ‘playing with carriers’ deal today, but believe the market is slowly moving to a more open environment. Nokia truly believes this, which was clear by Tico’s constant reminder that Nokia is evolving into a services company. Proof of this is the company’s launch of Ovi and late acquisitions (Navteq, Enpocket, Twango, and Loudeye). Rick Robinson from Xohm went as far as saying that "Xohm will tear down this wall..." (BIG statement!), but will still provide an on-deck expericence that is customized for the device.

Interoperability of different technologies:

The best description of what a rich end user experience might be was Jeff Sellinger’s. This would call for an interactive behavior between the different applications that exist on the mobile device. Jeff said it would be great to be able to tie SMS/MMS with WAP and Location. I would add streaming video and interactive gaming to this fabulous equation.

Limitations in the U.S.:

* Limited MMS support by U.S. carriers was the top item

* Absence of unlimited data plans, as in Europe, was mentioned repeatedly as a roadblock for user adoption

* Pervasive broadband (both availability and adoption) was mentioned a few times as an issue
Device fragmentation, specifically with browsers, was also mentioned as "old" but never ending "news"

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