I was too busy this year to attend Orange's 'Partner Camp' (the artist/event formerly known as Code Camp), which is a shame as what's not to love about three days of interactive presentations, workshops, sessions, coding, 1-2-1 chats and contests in Faro, Portugal?
But, I did get to speak to Orange's vice president for partners Steve Glagow this morning to get the low down - and here's what Orange is saying to the development community right now...
The company is spending time educating developers on the Orange API and widget workshop to help build better apps. This is in response to direct requests from developers for access to the company's infrastructure. Glagow says this "making APIs available" action is a natural evolution in the industry.
What may surprise you (it made me stop and think) is that Orange now has a widget strategy for the desktop - the company says that they are "more than mobile" these days. Well, I often mention the fact that all desktop development ultimately extends to mobile - so no reason why it should work the other way around - right?
Back to the event - there's play zones and demos to help develop and test for mobile: this is good, as it means real users can get something out of this event and it's not all marketing manager backslapping (although there is that too).
There's a mash pit for mash ups. You say mosh pit - I say mash pit. Anyway, nice one. It's 24 hours a day this year apparently.
All the usual suspects are there on the partner level: think RIM, think Symbian etc... you'd be worried if they weren't. Orange is also focused on Microsoft, UIQ and Access (the people that used to be PalmSource).
Orange reckons it can pull these events off from both a technical and commercial perspective - personally I think that smacks of trying to be all things to everyone - but I don't hear anyone complaining, so maybe they can? Glagow told me that the reason that they have done this is that the developers attending these camps come up with great ideas but have a hard time monetising their projects - and this is something the company has learned over time as this is event is the 7th in a series (they are held in mainland Europe and generally East Coast America) and details of an October event in the US are due to be announced soon.
Just to round up on this story - when I did attend this event back in 2005 it was in Opio in the South of France. I got on a plane to come home relatively well oiled with a Pernod-Kronenbourg cocktail and got chatting to a lady next to me who asked if I had just been to the exhibition. I said yes and spent 15 minutes detailing the high points of the Code Camp I had just left - she let me drawl on for ages before stopping me and telling me that she meant the fashion show she'd just attended with Posh 'Mrs Beckham' Spice in Monte Carlo. Geek meets chic? Oh yes.
Fresh Orange Juice indeed - or as they say em Portugu