Observations from MWC
I'm parked at Chateau Arkwright in Molins de Rei, catching up with everything that happened during Mobile World Congress. Here's a few scattered observations from the week:
- J2ME is practically speaking dead, in the West. Oracle had a small stand at App Planet which ostensibly promoted it, but when I asked how a company like FP could be doing more J2ME work, I was told that any that exists is in BRIC territories (which fits with our recent experience).
- Everyone's launching tablets. Everyone: even the tiny stands of Shenzhen boutique manufacturers had them. Meego launched their tablet, in what I like to think was a big fuck-you to Nokia.
- Android was everywhere: they had a good stand, but more importantly were all over the rest of the site on individual vendor stands. Some good marketing around collectable pins too.
- God bless HP/WebOS for giving it a go. The product looks interesting, capable and thoughtful. I'm looking forward to trying it out for real.
- Nokia were practically absent. Microsoft weren't smug about the deal. Apple, as usual, weren't there.
- There was much less emphasis on operators - with the exception of T-Mobile, all the big operator pavilions had been replaced by those of device manufacturers (Huawei, HTC, etc.).
- Apps interest seems to have spread beyond the Apps Planet pavilion to the rest of the show. Everyone was showing off apps.
- Samsung impressed me; clearly committed to Android, showing off Honeycomb tablets (the UI feels v confused and pointlessly 3D in places), Nexus S handsets, etc. A manufacturer to watch (as Tomi Ahonen has been pointing out for ages).
- Lots of talk around next-generation LTE networks. Operators fixated on voice revenues still, in the LTE panel. Weird, maybe talking of data revenues takes the conversation too quickly towards bit pipes?
I did a few bits of speaking: a piece on the MWL TV channel which is probably the most appallingly vapid experience of me anyone could hope to have (my first and hopefully last experience of doing live TV). I apologise unreservedly to anyone who saw it. The advertising panel later on the Tuesday was a bit more fun: Best Buy and CNN were both positive and practical about their experiences of mobile advertising (as purchasers and in the case of CNN, a media owner). Yahoo! clearly have a lot to say here, but then how would they not?
The one I most enjoyed was a storytelling session I did at WIPJam to kick the day off, talking about The Guardian Anywhere and our experiences launching apps. Nice, well-informed audience: I wish I could've hung around longer but a few meetings dragged me away. I really enjoyed the other stories too: Nacho Sanchez speaking about TheChanner in particular, I've had a long-unrequited interest in thinking about social and TV...