Over the Air is Coming

Over the Air Logo

I’ve been working for a while now with the folks at BBC Backstage, Imperial College London and Betavine to put an event that has had many incarnations, but has now coalesced into its final form: Over the Air. With an expected attendance of over 450 and multiple conference tracks including talks on a range of Mobile technologies and disciplines, it’s safe to say that this is the most logistically complex event I’ve ever worked on. The result, I’m hoping, will be something entirely new: a new kind of mobile developer event that brings together the best aspects of a “code camp” with some great talks and hands-on “master class” session from thought leaders in mobile development. We’ve got Microsoft, Adobe, Nokia, Google, Sun, Thoughtworks, W3C and that’s just for starters. We’ve also got a strong element of user experience and design with speakers from Idean, Fling Media and more. Speaker list is on the site and program details will be posted to the Web site soon.

If you want to get a glimpse of the future of mobile platform innovation, register for this event and come join us at Imperial College London campus in South Kensington on the 4th and 5th of April. Did I mention that registration is free?

Posted in mobile 2.0, Mobile Web Tagged with: , ,

Reflections on the Mobile Web in Korea

Mobile Wednesday LogoI was very lucky this past week to have been invited to Seoul (along with the other members of the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices, Device Descriptions and Ubiquitous Web working groups) to participate in something that came to be know as Mobile Web Week.

The week of W3C working group meetings was punctuated by a day-long open workshop which we named W3C Mobile Wednesday. (Yes, my intention is to mobilize every day of the week – already we have had Mobile Monday and Mobile Sunday. Now Wednesday has fallen. Can Thursday be far behind?) Mobile Wednesday was actually a unique opportunity to hear from people working in Korea on the sharp end of the Mobile Web and to do a little bit of a sales job about the work we’ve been doing in the W3C Mobile Web Initiative and why it might be relevant there.

One factor that greatly helped create a feeling of open dialog was the presence of simultaneous translation during the whole event. It’s a luxury I almost never get to experience, but it really can help to facilitate discussion when someone else is worrying about the burden of translation. The translators were a wonder – deftly dealing with sometimes very thick technical discussion, especially during the panel sessions.

Besides Mobile Wednesday, I also had the pleasure of speaking to many Koreans living and breathing the Mobile Web, including representatives of the Mobile Web 2.0 Forum, the Korean W3C office, ETRI, and of the Korean companies involved in W3C activities, such as SK-Telecom and Samsung.

So – what impressions am I left with after this week?

I have more questions than answers, but my overall impressions are that the challenges to the growth of the mobile Web in Korea are similar to the challenges the world over. Perceptions about usage and comparisons to the “real web” are also a problem. I have to respectfully disagree with a statement made by one of the other conference speakers that Korean use of the Mobile Web hasn’t taken off because “Koreans already have very high speed access to the Web at home and at the office.” Yes, Broadband penetration is really high in Korea. However, the use cases for using the Web on the move are different from the use cases for using it in front of a computer. Other speakers at the event highlighted some of these, particular social gaming and one-to-many messaging. Interesting side-note, nobody seemed to know what Twitter was but there are apparently a couple of similar Korean services.

One basic challenge Koreans might have to bringing the Web to the phone is the high use of Flash. Seems that most Korean (PC) Web sites are full of Flash content. Even the photo of me that appeared in the Korean tech news article was embedded in Flash for some reason. The fact that these sites aren’t working on even highly sophisticated mobile browsers is no doubt putting people off the concept of mobilizing the Web.

In any case, it was a very educational an informative week. Special thanks go out to Jonathan Jeon (전종홍) for his role in putting it all together and for posting some great video of the Mobile Wednesday event (see link).

Posted in Mobile Web, W3C Tagged with: , ,

Famous in Korea!

François Daoust of W3C and I were interviewed by the Korean press about the work of the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices working group.  Unfortunately,  the article hasn’t been translated so I have no idea what they said about us, but hey — any publicity is good publicity, I suppose.

Posted in Mobile Web, W3C Tagged with: , , , , ,

Why am I Going to Korea?

Picture out the window of the Korean Airlines Lounge in Narita AirportI’m sitting in the Korean Airlines lounge in Narita (Tokyo) airport after an 11 hour flight from London, watching a seemingly endless succession of JAL 747s taking off. When I arrived, there were no promised uniformed agents showing me the way. All the doors marked “international connections” were closed. In the end, I had to find my way through a very forbidding looking corridor and I was sure I was going to be turned back and possibly detained, but the airport staff I eventually found were very helpful and guided me to the checkpoint I needed for my connection. So, here I sit, stealing WiFi from the Northwest lounge next door.

In an hour I’ll be on another flight on my way to Seoul, South Korea. I don’t speak a word of Korean, I have no local currency and I’ve most likely packed the wrong plug adapters. But on Monday morning, I will convene the next face to face meeting of the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices working group. After that, I plan to participate in an event called W3C Mobile Wednesday, a kind of east-meets-west open conference-style event bringing together people working in mobile Web standardization and those working on the sharp end of the mobile Web in Korea: people from manufacturers and operators, yes, but also entrepreneuers, bloggers, developers. It’s all thanks to the Korean Mobile Web 2.0 Forum, ETRI, and the people at the W3C offfice in Korea. I’m very excited about this event and this whole week. Besides making some real progress on the work of the Mobile Web Best Practices group, I hope to get a real flavor for how the mobile Web (and other digital services) are being delivered in Korea, a place that showcases (according to Jim O’Reilly and Tomi Ahonen in their book Digital Korea) the “Convergence of Broadband Internet, 3G Cell Phones, Multiplayer Gaming, Digital TV, Virtual Reality, Electronic Cash, Telematics, Robotics, E-Government and the Intelligent Home”.
That and enjoy some good kimchi.

Posted in Mobile Web, W3C Tagged with: , , , ,

I got vlogged at Mobile World Congress!

I got “video blogged” at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week by Dennis Howlett. Dennis captured me talking about the landscape and future of the mobile Web. Unfortunately, he edited out the bit where I was talking about the W3C Mobile Web Initiative, which was kind of the point of the whole thing (from my perspective). The material that made it in was some scene-setting for why we created the Mobile Web Initiative and developed the Mobile Web Best Practices and MobileOK, both of which were being showcased at the W3C booth at the congress.

Posted in Mobile Web, Mobility Tagged with: , , , , , ,

If it’s Monday…

Global Peer Awards Logo…it must be the Mobile Monday Global Peer Awards! I’m sitting in the speakers’ lounge watching people file into the Espacio Movistar here in sunny Barcelona. Last year, we had 23 start-ups from 23 cities around the world presenting on stage. The atmosphere was electric. This year, with an even bigger venue and more start-ups, I’m even more excited to be here and to participate on the judging panel. This is also where the global Mobile Monday community is coming together – to network and to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship in the mobile space.

Posted in Mobile Monday Tagged with: , ,

Around the World for the Mobile Web

Singapore Airlines Airbus A-380I’ve just had confirmation that, for my flight out to Beijing for the upcoming WWW2008 conference in April, I will be flying the first leg on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A-380 “superjumbo.” The flight will be London to Singapore on the 18th of April and will kick off a round the world trip that I will be taking that week, first hitting Beijing for the W3C Advisory Committee meeting and the WWW2008 conference (where I will be co-chairing a workshop on advanced mobile Web applications) and then flying on to San Francisco where I will be speaking about the Mobile Web and Mobile Ajax at O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Expo event. It’s going to be a very exciting week, tackling two very different Web conferences and helping to bring a mobile flavor to both, while simultaneously circumnavigating the globe and hopefully taking in some more sights than just hotel rooms and airport lounges along the way. But clearly, one highlight (for me) will be getting to fly part of the way on the A-380. I have to admit: I’m a bit of an air travel nerd, and I’ve been following the saga of the A-380 ever since it was announced by Airbus.

Posted in Mobile Web, Travel Tagged with: , , , , , ,

W3C Releases Mobility / Accessibility Draft

In June 2005, I wrote in these pages about an issue I knew we were going to have to grapple with in the Mobile Web Best Practices group that we were then kicking off. What is the intersection of mobility and accessibility when it comes to Web content? In fact, the initial approach and early work of the group that set the foundations for the Mobile Web Best Practices and for MobileOK was based on the work of the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative, and specifically the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines document.

This week, we have followed up the release of MobileOK with a new document that details exactly that: describe the relationship between Mobile Web Best Practices and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Why should you care? If you’re trying to provide a service on the Web, you need to care about both accessibility and mobility. Both of these topics require some investment in skills, tools, and development time, so understanding where the overlaps are should greatly help to reduce development costs and time to market. At the end of the day, it’s also about maximizing the potential audience for your service, regardless of a user’s disability or the device used to access that service.

Posted in Mobile Web, W3C Tagged with: , , ,

The Industry Event Formerly Known as 3GSM

This year I’m more excited than ever about Mobile World Congress (née 3GSM). But the excitement at this year’s event won’t be at the event. It will be at two amazing side-events: the Mobile Monday Global Peer Awards happening on Monday the 11th and the Mobile Jam Session on the 12th.

At last year’s Global Peer Awards, we had 23 mobile start-ups from 23 Mobile Monday cities around the World presenting on stage. We had companies like Skyhook Wireless (which has recently achieved some fame as the technology behind the location awareness function in iPhone), RealEyes3D (which went on to be selected as a Red Herring top 100 companies in Europe as well as other accolades), and MobileComplete (which was also selected by Red Herring and took the world by storm with their DeviceAnywhere product). A full list of 2007 participants is available here. This year, it’s your chance to see more early-stage companies and innovative mobile services – before they become famous and stop returning your calls.

The Mobile Jam Session will be a unique industry event, bringing together a spectrum mobile developers for a kind of un-conference that will combine a “code camp” style with a creatively driven workshop structure. After hearing who has so far signed up, I’m more fired up than ever about this event.

W3C will also be out in force at the conference itself, promoting the release of MobileOK as a “Candidate Recommendation” and the release of an open source code library that allows content developers to more easily test their content for mobile friendliness. If you’re at the conference, go visit them in Hall 7, stand 7D56 and get the real deal on MobileOK and the future of the Mobile Web. We’ll also hopefully see W3C folks at the Mobile Jam Session.

See you in Barcelona!

Posted in mobile 2.0, Mobile Web Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

The State of Mobile Blogging: It Ain’t Pretty


So I’ve been doing some research on mobile blogging, trying to find the best solutions out there. The situation is pretty dire. So far, it looks like the best solution out there is actually from Windows Live (née MSN) Spaces. Windows Live actually lets you register, create a blog and start publishing it all through the mobile browser.

In contrast, Blogger has some information on mobile blogging that involves a convoluted “email to post” (which only works with U.S. carriers by the way — HELLO PEOPLE – THE WEB IS GLOBAL). TypePad claims “industry leading” mobile features but doesn’t seem to have any way to sing up or create a blog from the mobile and it’s also e-mail based. You can use Nokia Lifeblog with Typepad but you need to have a Nokia phone to do this. WordPress is likewise a wash. Vox doesn’t have obvious mobile support either.

What’s going on here? It’s pretty easy to write a Web form that accepts a blog post. Even Microsoft can do it! I thought we were further along here, as a society I mean. Am I missing something? Are there other turn-key solutions out there for mobile blogging?

Posted in Blogs, Mobile Web Tagged with: , , ,

Who is Daniel K. Appelquist?

I'm an American Ex-Pat living in London and dealing with the increasing complexities of parenting in the digital world. I am the Open Web Advocate for Telefónica, focusing on the Firefox OS project. I am a founder and co-organizer of the Over the Air hack day series as well as a founder of Mobile Monday London & Mobile 2.0. I'm a former .com CTO and subsequent .com refugee. I like a good burger.

If you are so inclined, you may find my public key on Keybase.io.

The opinions expressed here are my own, however, and neither Telefónica nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.

My books:
Mobile Internet for Dummies

For more info, see my Linkedin profile.

More (probably than you ever wanted to know) about Torgo.


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