Last month Microsoft invited me and 21 others to the annual Mobius event where we ave the opportunity to provide feedback on the Windows Mobile platform, exchange ideas with other enthusiasts, and see some future plans for Windows Mobile. This year the event is being held in Amsterdam and I arrived this morning. I slept a bit to catch up on some sleep, but may have a tough time going to bed at a reasonable hour (it is actually 1 am right now). The first event was an informal gathering for drinks, snacks, and introductions.
Nine of the 23 attendees this year are new to the Mobius group. The attendees and their sites are listed below:
- Rafe Blandford, All About Symbian
- Paul O'Brien, MoDaCo.com
- Nghia Nguyen, PDA France
- Arne Hess, The Unwired
- Guido Bonati, SoloPalmari.com
- Remo Knops, Pocketinfo.nl
- Eldar Murtazin, Mobile Review
- Philip Berne, InfoSync World
- Shane Chiang, PPCSG.com
- Paul Matt, Phone Daily.com
- Jenneth Orantia, Roam Magazine and Gear Diary
- Andrew Shuttleworth, Windows Mobile in Japan
- Atushi Koyanagi, HTC Fan
- Mauricio Freitas, GeekZone
- Matt Miller, ZDNet Mobile Gadgeteer
- Ryan Block, Engadget
- Jason Dunn, Pocket PC Thoughts
- Michael Oryl, Mobile Burn
- Judie Lipsett, Gear Diary
- Eric Lin, PhoneScoop
- Vincent Nguyen, Slash Phone
- Dieter Bohn, WM Experts
It was great, as always, to meet new friends and talk with old friends at the reception. Astraware, Qualcomm, and HTC were there as well as Microsoft employees and PR people. Astraware had a table of Pocket PC device and held a contest where we each had an opportunity to play their upcoming Astraware Casino game for 5 minutes. You had US$1000 to start with and could play your choice of Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Poker, or Slots to come up with as much money in the end as possible. While I didn't think I could make a lot of money with Blackjack it is the game I know the best and I hate the randomness of slots. At the end of the evening the winner was announced and it was ME! I had $2,750 left in the virtual bank and my grand prize was an awesome HTC Touch Dual. This was the model with the standard phone keypad and not the one with the 20-day keyboard like the T-Mobile Shadow, but with a prize this great who is complaining? I liked the original Touch idea, but some of the specs were a bit low to make it a workable device. This new model has a 400 MHz processor, 256MB ROM, 128 MB RAM so these increases should make a world of difference. Stay tuned for a first impressions and full review a bit later.
We were also given a Skooba Shuttle backpack case and an Astraware VIP membership as part of the evenings festivities. We were also loaned a Vodafone SIM card for data access during the event.
We have a full 2 days of presentations, meetings, and discussions planned for the summit and I'll update my blog after everything is over in the evenings to keep you informed.
One of the toughest parts of preparing for a trip like this for me is selecting what gear to pack. To reduce the tendency to get stuck behind a big display during the presentations, I plan to use the loaner HTC Advantage with a Bluetooth keyboard for note taking. I actually wrote most of this blog post on the Advantage during the 9 hour flight from Seattle. I also brought along my MacBook Pro, T-Mobile Shadow, Nokia N95-1 (great for shooting video and snapshots), Nokia N800 (to load up the new firmware), Sony PSP (loaded with videos, games, and the Razor episode of Battlestar Galactica), SanDisk Connect, Apple iPhone, new Sony Reader (the Kindle was sold out), and my Panasonic digital camera. The N95-1 and N800 are loaded up with the new Boingo Mobile client so I can get online outside of the meeting room for free (30-day trial and then only US$7.95/month worlwide).
As a full disclosure for my readers, this is a Microsoft sponsored event and they did pay for the flight and hotel for the summit days. Products samples may also be presented to the attendees by manufacturers, carriers, or developers and I will also let you know about these in my following blog posts. To reduce the flight cost by almost half, I paid for one night in the hotel to stay over on Saturday. I also used up my last 3 paid days off from my full-time employer, which was a significant cost. However, I feel attendance at these events is valuable to both you and myself so it is worth the costs and time I spend away from my job and family during the holiday season.
Regular readers know I am fairly device agnostic and use and write about mobile devices running all the major operating systems. I change devices more frequently than some people change their underwear and my favorite changes just about as often. I will always give you my honest opinion and real experiences since I want you to be well informed about the pros and cons of devices so you can make educated purchase decisions.
If you are interested in more of the social aspects of the conference and the sights and sounds of Amsterdam then I highly recommend you check out Judie Lipsett's articles over at Gear Diary.