Over at the Symbian Expo, 'Scoop' Wearden is on the hunt for stories. The keynote is strong on Symbian's deal with Intel for the next generation of development systems, which Scoop duly scribbles down. However, like all good journos he takes care to ask other parties with an interest in the matter -- people like Texas Instruments, who go head-to-head with Intel in phones and PDAs -- what they think of the announcement.
TI is unimpressed, and points out that since virtually all Symbian phones already use TI chips, why would anyone get that excited by Intel? Fair point.
This doesn't please Intel, who gently chastises Scoop by phone later in the day for not talking to its man at the expo.
"Really?" says Graeme, who thought he'd nattered to everyone of note. "Where are they?"
"Oh, they've gone now," says Intel, "But you could have arranged to talk to them via the PR".
"And when were they here?"
"Between 10:30 and 12."
"When the keynote was on?"
"When I'd have been in, er, the keynote?"
It seems the poor lad is doomed by his inability to be in two places at once, chasing up reactions to stories he's yet to write while detecting the presence of appropriate people through telepathy alone. Pull your socks up, G!
However, he was somewhat snookered later on. A passing Symbian executive quietly suggests that Scoop takes the opportunity to test out the new All Questions Answered (AQA) text messaging service. "You just send your question, and they get back to you in minutes!" said the suit. "Oooh!" thought Scoop. Much easier than having to wear out the shoe leather chasing after contacts. So he tried, bashing out a quick "What's going to happen to the mobile phone market?" Moments later, the reply came:
"Opinion is divided concerning the future of the mobile market. Industry has pushed new technology. Yet consumers want basic phones and better coverage."
Well, yes. Pine trees are tall, but do not touch the sky. Not overly impressed with the depth of the analysis -- plus the fact that he couldn't easily cut and paste from his phone to the word processor -- Graeme moved on.
What he didn't know -- but I did, due to in-depth research of my own among the back end systems of AQA (OK, it employs a friend of mine as a freelance researcher) -- is that this wasn't a random suggestion by the Symbian bod. AQA is run by friends of Symbian, and the back ends had been briefed earlier to 'expect a flood of Symbian questions'. It was all planned to get AQA some exposure in the press. The really neat bit is, the ladies and gentlemen of the press had spent their own money on the text bills to test it out -- whereas if AQA had just come straight out and said "Try it out, chaps" there'd have been a lot of huffing and puffing about demo accounts.
But since I haven't laid out a penny of my own money, I am pleased to go along with their little jape.