Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mobile Shakings in New England: (an April) week in review

This week was packed with mobile and start-up events and meet-ups. I attended Momo Boston’s event
- great panel from uLocate
, Google
(Rich Miner, who is now heading up their new start-up investment fund), SkyHook
, Enpocket
(Now Nokia Advertising),and Apperian

Ton of good discussions and data – here are some highlights:
• There are 25,000 iPhone apps on the iTunes stores (and counting). Google’s marketplace is nascent in comparison with 3,000 apps. The iPhone is now in over 80 countries – impressive! Apple launched a new web site counting the number of actual downloads from its store
- downloads are very, very close to a billion! (Here’s the NYT blogpost
where I found the link - - thanks, Jenna Wortham)
• As opposed to the iTunes’s process, Google does not vet apps uploaded to its store – it is counting on crowd ratings. This has got to be dangerous – there are a not of hackers who would love that challenge, I bet.
• Most of the app innovation is coming from North America, even though one new store provider, Nokia Ovi
, is someone to watch – Nokia is the largest phone manufacturer in the world
• Key question asked was: how does an app get noticed? Or how does an app become a top 25/50/100 in the iTunes store? Evidently the jury is still out on this one but it seems that consumers in developing markets may be the right answer for a lot of brands.
• Another question: How do big brands deal with fragmentation? Apperian (full disclosure: I am working with them now) says big brands get their butts kicked by small developers – the Lose it app is very popular, so where is Weight Watchers? Very good point – inaction, big brands, may not be the smart reaction – by the time Gillette is ready we may be past shaving… That is all well – but the reality is that the iPhone and all the rest of the app stores are still a gamer utility. Well, at least until someone shakes the ground.
• Yet another question (I know it seems more questions were asked than answered – but then think early Internet days – it is refreshing we don’t hear some many grand predictions these days): What about the Enterprise? Android can become a work-flow tool, databases are moving into the cloud, computing is advancing, empowering out-of-office experiences, so it’ll happen. But unfortunately there are no good cross-platform tools t=yet.
• Note on SkyHook, which is a fascinating company providing location enablement – they made a deal with Apple to offer their technology to iPhone developers for free – hence we are seeing over 1,500 location-aware apps in the iTunes store. Besides GPS signals they use wi-fi to secure location – it turns out SkyHook has 500 reps mapping out wi-fi (much like Google's approach).

Next, must-attend Momo Boston event: April 27, 2009, Fairmont Copley Plaza, at 5:30 with featured speaker Governor Deval Patrick. A diverse set of mobile companies - Apperian, eInk, Geocade, Locale, Mobile Ed, Olin College, TripChill, Viximo, Valtus Mobile, will deliver rapid-fire, 5 min. presentations on their business models, apps, and products. Registration starts at 5:30 – click here to register

Another great event, the Xconomy Xconomy Forum: The Future of Mobile Innovation in New England
was sold out – a bunch of tweeted throughout the event – use #xconmobile to read about it.


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