Mobius Seattle 2008: Windows Mobile devices in hand, Zune, and more

One of the best parts of Mobius is getting the chance to touch and feel Windows Mobile devices from around the world that most of use don't see anywhere else. This time we were lucky enough to see the HTC Diamond, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, MWg Zinc II, HTC Touch Dual US version, and many more. I posted pics of lots of them in this image gallery that you might want to check out. After the gallery link below, I posted my thoughts on the 2nd and final day of Mobius 2008.

One of the best parts of Mobius is getting the chance to touch and feel Windows Mobile devices from around the world that most of use don't see anywhere else. This time we were lucky enough to see the HTC Diamond, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, MWg Zinc II, HTC Touch Dual US version, and many more. I posted pics of lots of them in this image gallery that you might want to check out. After the gallery link below, I posted my thoughts on the 2nd and final day of Mobius 2008.


 Image Gallery:I took about 40 images of various Windows Mobile devices at Mobius 2008 in Seattle. See how many you are familiar with. 
Image Gallery: ASUS device in hand
 
Image Gallery: SE XPERIA X1
 

Day 2 started off with a couple guys from the Microsoft Zune team giving us a run through of the recent 2.5 release that was announced last week. A bit of history (like the first model being essentially a rebranded Toshiba Gigabeat) was given first for thos unfamiliar with the Zune.

I loaded the new Zune update on my Fujitsu U810 just after it was announced and was frankly blown away by how fast it runs on my Intel A100 800MHz processor PC. Besides the new TV shows and music videos, the major new improvement is the social aspects of the Zune. It was nice to get someone to walk through these aspects and I actually ended up buying a month Zune Pass to try it out more on my older Zune (and new Zune that I will talk about below). The new Social page lets you share and discover music from your friends (with friends added automatically to start with in case you do not have any). Up to 3 songs from each of your friends Zune Cards can be downloaded/synced to your Zune if you have the Zune Pass and it actually seems like a very interesting way to discover music. There are also reviews, 30 second previews, status updates, and more in the new Zune Social. There is also Windows Live Messenger integration so you can share what you are listening to with people you chat with. I would like to see a bit more integration with Windows Mobile and personally would love to be able to take my Zune Pass music with me on my Windows Mobile devices.

They showed a demo of a Galaga-like game that was rocking on the Zune that was made possible through the XNA platform. Games will be coming to the Zune in the future and if they look like the one I saw they could be a ton of fun.

Ben from Creative Strategies, Inc. spent a couple hours talking to us about trends and views of the current and future world in regards to the television, PC, and mobile phone. He pointed out something that is quite true when it comes to PCs, there really is no differentiation to the average consumer other than price. When you go into an electronics store to buy a new laptop they all have the same basic features and look very similar. People are now starting to buy PCs that appeal to them from a consumer viewpoint, which is why you see laptops with red cases and other flair. Apple is doing very well right now and part of that can be attributed to their focus on the consumer lifestyle.

We had quite a discussion about ultra portable PCs and while a couple people felt they may be the future, I doubt they will succeed too far beyond their current market share. I personally love using ultra portable devices, but I don't think consumers will embrace them since you just can't be as productive with a small display as you can with a larger display and people generally don't want to pay more for smaller devices with lower specs.

We then had our lunch followed by some contests at the virtual golf course in the basement of the hotel. There was a contest to hit the farthest drive and then another to get closest to the pin. I only golf once or twice a year so I wasn't feeling that confident in my chances. However, it turns out that very few of the Mobius attendees golf so the competition was pretty even in experience. I ended up in 4th or 5th in the longest shot and 2nd in the closest to the pin. The Microsoft employees who took part were ineligible for the prizes so I ended up winning the closest pin contest and won a 4GB Zune. Tadd won the farthest shot so John Starkweather had us throw rock, paper, scissors for a 2 out of 3 contest. I won the first, Tadd won the second, and then I was about to throw a scissors on the last and changed my mind at the last second to a rock and lost to Tadd's paper. He ended up winning a Xbox 360 and some games and I was a bit bummed because I don't have one and was really hoping to win this valuable prize.

The last presentation of the conference was given by Verdiem and was titled Reducing the IT Carbon Footprint. They talked about their Surveyor software that measures and monitors PC power and then manages it to reduce energy consumption.

We ended the event with some fun and food at Jillian's in Seattle and Joel and I competed a few more times in pool, darts, ping pong, and video games.

The event was outstanding as usual and it was great to meet new friends and hang out with old ones. Thanks to Microsoft for the event and to HTC for the amazing HTC Advantage X7510. I look forward to the next event and get together.