Mobius Amsterdam 2007: Symbian, Windows Live, and working group session

Mobius Amsterdam 2007: Symbian, Windows Live, and working group session

Summary: Mobius 2007 Amsterdam concluded today after hearing about the Mobius Project, Symbian, and Windows Live. The attendees broke up into small groups at the end to discuss what we would do if we were the CEO and management team in charge of Android, Apple/iPhone, S60, and Windows Mobile. It was another successful event with stimulating conversations as the open dialog between Microsoft and mobile enthusiasts continues in a unique environment.

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Mobius Project: I previously posted about the opening reception and Day 1 of the Mobius Amsterdam 2007 event and this will be my final installment that covers the 2nd full and final day. The morning started out with a short discussion on the Mobius Project that was kicked off back at the Mobius 2006 events in Thailand and Boston. The Mobius project was the afternoon session at these events where we gathered into groups to discuss what we saw as a mobile computing experience 10 years out from the needs of different categories of users. We came up with some great ideas and to capture this data and further develop it John will be working with us to try to post some of the information to capture readers feedback and thoughts on some of the ideas.

John Starkweather

Photo 1: John Starkweather keeping the sharks at bay

Symbian - Rafe Blandford: The first presenter of the day was my friend Rafe Blandford from All About Symbian. He was speaking on his own initiative and was not officially representing Nokia, S60, or Symbian. Rafe provided us all with some great information and a good glimpse into the world of Symbian, including some history along with background on UIQ, MOAP-S (Mobile Orientated Application Platform - Symbian), and S60. The last data he had showed that S60 had 54.5% of the total marketshare of smartphones with Symbian having something like 70% worldwide. Rafe summarized some of the announcements made over the last year, including Feature Pack 2 (announced in February) and S60 Touch (announced just since the iPhone launch this summer). I think we will have a lot to see coming from Nokia and UIQ manufacturers in 2008 and look forward to more developments.

Rafe Blandford and Symbian

Photo 2: Rafe Blandford from All About Symbian

Rafe went on to talk about the Ovi initiative, which I was interested in hearing more about since it seems a bit vague and more of a concept. He summed it up as a way that Nokia plans to offer services and perform as an "internet company". Services like Nokia Maps, Nokia Music, and N-Gage were mentioned and his talk helped me understand a bit more about the project. The N-Gage fishing game he talked about seemed like fun with the usage of vibration modes and the camera, along with the social aspects of tagging and releasing fish that could then later be caught by other N-Gage players all over the world. I plan to hold off on a full Nokia N81 8GB review (you can check out my first impressions until after the N-Gage release in December when I can really talk about the device's functionality as a gaming device.

Smartphone variations by country

Photo 3: Interesting chart showing a smartphone breakdown by country

Rafe ended by informing the Mobius attendees about the method for software updates and the cool Nokia Research Labs and Beta Labs sites. A couple of demos, run on a Nokia N95 8GB using TV-out, included SportsTracker and Search. He actually used the N95 and Sports Tracker to plot our canal cruise course and it was so cool to see that images were geo-tagged and then appeared on a trackline exactly where they were taken. I plan to try this and use it much more now on the N95-1 that I have.

Mobile Services - Jeff McKean: I met Jeff a few years ago at our local Puget Sound Handheld User group in Redmond and I was quite pleased to see that he is now part of the Windows Live group at Microsoft. Jeff presented some good slides clarifying the Windows Live offerings and strategies on handsets, including Windows Live on Nokia devices. I am much clearer on the naming and products thanks to Jeff. I personally LOVE Live Search on my Windows Mobile devices and use it all the time to find movie times and the closest gas station with the lowest prices.

Jeff McKean

Photo 4: Jeff McKean from Windows Live

What is Windows Live?

Photo 5: Differentiating Windows Live and Live Search

Windows Mobile Future - Derrick Snyder: Derrick's presentation was completely under NDA so I cannot provide any details to you at this time, but come back in 2008 when I may be able to talk a bit more about some plans.

Working Groups - If you were the CEO and management team... The last session at the Mobius events is traditionally where we break up into small groups to discuss a topic of interest and then present some conclusions and thoughts in front of everyone. I think they were video recorded and this session may appear soon on the SlashGear site. The four groups were Android, Apple, S60, and Windows Mobile. I was a part of the Android group.

We had to answer the following questions:

I. What are your top 3 priorities? II. What would you stop doing? III. What do you want customers to think of you? IV. Which audience do you want to focus on?

I took notes summarizing each groups responses and please understand that these are just opinions and thoughts from the various Mobius members and may be valuable to further the discussion, but are not policy, future plans, or anything else from any of the actual companies. Actually, Philip Berne did a great Steve Jobs presentation and we had some fun with the Apple group.

Android:

I.

  1. Provide the Google service slate/integration on a mobile device (maps, Gmail, Google Talk, etc)
  2. Foster developer community participation
  3. Provide more details on the device to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the device. Make it clear what Android is to the consumer.

II. Tell people we are not going to buy Sprint

III.

  • We bring innovation (The Rebel thing, out of the norm)
  • We provide a seamless Google experience (GX)
  • Worldwide brand assurance
  • Value for the money

IV.

  • Hip, cool connected people (media consumers).
  • Developer community
  • ODM/OEM/Carrier

Apple:

I.

  1. Feature parity with existing high end devices, without compromising battery, UI, or quality
  2. Expanding device lineup upwards and downwards (3G for Europe, iPhone mini)
  3. Don't dilute or cheapen the brand

II. Stop suing people

III. Apple knows best, all you need is Apple.

IV. We only want cool people.

S60:

I.

  1. Create passion around the brand
  2. Have necessary technical expertise to build without comprimises
  3. Software and services, fundamental to the hardware experience

II. Be careful about not becoming "not exciting", like GM cars. Stop flooding the market with too many devices when there is no compelling need or feature that drives the requirement for a new device.

III. We want to be cool, but also still make mid-tier devices that appeal to consumers. More emotional with aspirations for future experiences. Should stand for the ultimate device, the best.

IV. Everybody is our audience. We don't care about Americans (too small of a market, difficult carrier process)

Windows Mobile: I.

  1. Faster iterations of software updates. Look out months, rather than years. Intel tick-tock strategy
  2. Stricker guidelines for software, hardware, and carriers
  3. Open standards and APIs

II.

  • Stop making excuses about mobile platform restrictions for software (i.e. Outlook). Invest in improving Outlook Mobile.
  • Stop devoting the majority of development resources on enterprise
  • Stop reorganizing
  • Stop being reactive to the market

III. Be a leading edge, innovative company. Stable and open. Also a delightful company.

IV. Everyone

Closure and final disclosure on swag: Mobius 2007 Amsterdam was another successful and very engaging event. Time flew by for me, even with the 9 time zone change, and I had a blast sharing my thoughts, getting to know some very smart and friendly new people, and having the opportunity to speak with and learn a bit about Windows Mobile and more. I mentioned the HTC Touch Dual I won playing Astraware Blackjack at the opening reception and wanted to summarize the products given to use by Microsoft and other sponsors of the event.

Mobius 2007 sponsor swag

Photo 6: Mobius 2007 sponsor swag and prize

  • Skooba Shuttle carrying bag/backpack
  • 8GB SanDisk microSD card
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Office Ultimate 2007
  • Mass Effect for Xbox 360 (Do I have to buy a 360 now?)
  • CoPilot Live GPS software
  • Astraware VIP membership
  • Soduku Revolution Pocket PC Edition voucher

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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