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15 February 2009

Deja vu, with a difference

Filed under: brand, Events, vision — David Wood @ 1:15 pm

As I walked through Barcelona airport this morning, my mind was jostled by sights and sounds remembered from my previous visits here. I’m in town to attend the annual Mobile World Congress trade show. (The show used to be called “3GSM”, and before that, “GSM World”.)

I’ve been attending this show every year since 2002. From 2002-05 it was held at Cannes, in France, in increasingly cramped circumstances – as the mobile industry grew and grew and grew. Since 2006 it has taken place 300 miles south west along the Mediterranean coast in Barcelona. So today marks my fourth annual visit to Barcelona airport.

As I walked through the airport, I found myself remembering:

  • that was the place where on my first visit, I had walked out of the wrong exit, and needed to go back in through a lengthy security screening process again before I could pick up my luggage;
  • that was the place where, another year, I had queued up to report that my luggage was missing (happily, it was delivered to my hotel by first thing the following morning);
  • that was the coffee shop where I had relaxed with some colleagues before going to the gate on the way home one year;
  • that was the restaurant where I had eaten a meal with a slightly different set of colleagues a different year, while awaiting news of delayed departure times; and so on.

The place is full of memories. But there’s a big difference this year. The remembrances of similarity mask underlying transitions.

For example, I’ll be spending a lot of my time over the next few days at the same hospitality suite as in previous years – AV91 on the main Fira avenue – but the suite has a very different feel this year. Here’s a picture of the outside of the suite, taken earlier today:

As you can see, the suite was still under construction – but some elements of the emerging Symbian Foundation branding are visible. The “friendly spaceman” has a side panel all to himself:

Other Symbian Foundation doodle characters are also visible: the inspired toaster, and so on. (No, these names aren’t official…)

Again, I’ll also be spending time at the same stand location as before – 8A77, in Hall 8 – but, again, the feel has changed:

What’s more, many of the colleagues who came with me to previous Mobile World Congress events, aren’t attending this year. The other members of the Symbian Leadership Team are primarily engaged these days in important internal integration projects inside Nokia, and have no reason to travel to Barcelona this year. So I’ll be sharing my duties – meeting press, analysts, bloggers, partners, and potential new members of the Symbian Foundation community – with a new set of Leadership Team colleagues – the members of the emerging Symbian Foundation Leadership Team.

Finally, the emphasis of these meetings will be less on the number of phones shipped, and more on the growing vibrancy and productivity of the Symbian Foundation community. After all, we can only aspire to provide the most widely used software on the planet if, along the way, we grow the most productive and valuable software movement on the planet.

Footnote: Another visible difference, from last year, is that the number of large advertising hoardings scattered all over the city seems significantly less this year.

11 November 2008

Symbian Partner Event, San Francisco, 4th Dec

Filed under: Events, partners, Symbian Foundation — David Wood @ 1:59 pm

Historically, admission to Symbian Partner Events has been restricted to signed-up members of Symbian’s Partner Network. However, for our event at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday 4th December, we’re going to open up participation.

Some parts of the day will still be restricted to signed partners. However, most of the proceedings on the day will be open to a wider group of attendees – such as mobile developers, journalists, the open source community, and representatives of companies that may be considering partnering with Symbian.

Space will be limited so anyone thinking of attending should register their interest as soon as possible via the event website.

Full details of speakers, panellists, and other sessions at the event will be published on the event website shortly. In the meantime, here are a few highlights:

  • Keynote presentations from a leading member of the open source community, senior representatives from network operators and phone manufacturers, Symbian executives, and the management of the Symbian Foundation;
  • “Fast Forward” technology seminars
  • An open roundtable discussion on “Succeeding in the US: the key factors”
  • “Symbian Foundation Platform Architecture Overview”
  • “Symbian Foundation Q&A”.

There will also be an exhibition of partner products and solutions, as well as ample opportunity to network with movers-and-shakers of the global mobile industry.

Footnote: Here’s the LinkedIn entry for this event.

12 June 2008

Handsets World event, Berlin

Filed under: Events, Open Source — David Wood @ 12:32 pm

The Informa Handsets World series of events tend to bring together a knowledgeable crowd of speakers and attendees. The latest one, in Berlin this week, was no exception.

I gave a couple of presentations, which seemed to go down well:

  • “Hardware and software enabling powerful devices: mobile power without heat and without confusion”
  • “Refuting the claim that value in handset software is evaporating (it’s actually growing!)”.

Here’s what I saw as some of the highlights from the event:

1.) Ari Jaaksi, VP of Devices R&D at Nokia, gave a upbeat yet pragmatic account of “Nokia’s Vision for Wireless Handsets”, focusing on growing practical collaboration between open source advocates and people who understand “ugly business realities”. See zdnet for a write-up.

2.) Toshio Miki, Associate Senior VP & Managing Director of NTT DoCoMo, speculated that the MOAP platform which runs on NTT DoCoMo phones in Japan would before long support Android apps, running on top of an Android environment sitting in turn on top of MOAP, in parallel to (a.) Java apps and (b.) native apps. “This is my personal prediction”, he said. (There are two variants of MOAP: one is powered by Linux, and the other is powered by Symbian OS.)

3.) Daniel Meredith, Head of Handset and Device Marketing at T-Mobile, said that the most important change he would like to see in the mobile industry is to “remove all closed OSes”. In response to the same question, Guido Arnone, Director of Terminals, Vodafone, asked the industry to “improve out-of the-box usability”. And Simon Rockman, Head of Requirements and Applications at Sony Ericsson, asked the industry to realise that users of lower cost phones in different parts of the world typically wished for applications and features that are NOT the same as cut-down versions of higher-specced phones: for example, in India, there’s a requirement for mobiles to be able to receive AM radio broadcasts.

4.) Aditya Kaul, Senior Analyst at Pioneer Consulting, gave a fascinating report on how phone manufacturers were looking at taking advantage of nanotechnology in forthcoming wireless devices. He covered possible uses of carbon nanotubes, quantum dots, spintronics, and gave a special mention to MEMS.

5.) Morten Grauballe, EVP at Red Bend, urged ISVs to realise that “developing software” was only the first of three problems that need to be solved. The other two are “deploying software” and “managing software”.

6.) Francis MacDougall, Founder and CTO of GestureTek, showed some impressive videos of the new kinds of user interaction which are enabled when phones can sense motion and gestures (either via accelerometers, or via clever analysis of the camera viewfinder image).

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