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 …

The Industry Event Formerly Known as 3GSM Read more »

The Yahoo! stand Yahoo! had a really big stand this year at 3GSM where they were showcasing their wizzy new version of Yahoo! Go (more coherent thoughts on that later). They were giving away dishes of yummy ice-cream as well, but by the time I got to their stand to get some they had run out of spoons so I had to go source my own by raiding the adjacent cafeteria (who actually had also run out of spoons leaving me in the position of having to eat my Yahoo! ice-cream with a stolen fork). In retrospect, I wonder: is this a metaphor for what Yahoo! is doing in the mobile space right now? I think it’s possible, but then again they may have just run out of spoons.

Moconews published a good summary of the panel on mobile search that I sat on at 3GSM. One thing not covered in the article: mobile web skepticism still rampant. A guy from the audience still didn’t believe you could have a compelling Web experience on a phone, let alone a good search experience. I told him he might need a new phone. After the panel, I sat down with him and took him through the mobile search app that was bundled on my N73, then through a Yahoo! search using Opera Mini on my Blackberry (since he was using an older Blackberry). He left a convert, I think and he might not need a new phone after all if his existing phone can run Opera Mini.

So. After experiencing the 3GSM conference for the second time, what are my thoughts? First of all, I am very much more impressed with the event this year than I was last year. It’s even bigger (60,000 attendees this year up from 50,000 last year). There’s a greater variety of content here. Last year, as I said, it was all about MobileTV. This year, there were still people talking about MobileTV, but you also have lots of people talking about things like mobile Linux and open source, location based services and of course mobile Web. Lots of great product announcements. New version of Yahoo! go – looks very cool. I downloaded it but haven’t really taken it for a spin yet. Many people have commented positively on the trend of operators becoming “more open” – a good trend. There seem to be more startups this year and in general much more innovation on a number of fronts. Lots of people receptive to the Betavine message I was spreading around. All in all, a great and hopefully productive week. Hopefully some more coherent thoughts soon — right now it’s time to sleep.

It’s 10:00 on Monday and Tim Berners-Lee has just delivered his keynote address. The key message: the Web is an open platform and an enabling technology layer and as the Web moves into the mobile platform (“convergence”), we need to keep the Web open. It’s a simple message, but it bears repeating, especially here at 3GSM where so much of the hype tends to be about vertical applications such as Mobile TV and music downloads. The Web’s openness is precisely what has fueled its success and allowed it to be such a global success story. I hope that message is received here at the conference. Side note: there is no free wireless network here! There is a “pay for” wireless network available — for €200! I don’t think so. Very unimpressed. Come on GSM Association — get someone to sponsor free Wifi. There’s sponsorship on everything else — it shouldn’t be so difficult. A so-called “back-channel” is becoming de regeur at events like this around the world. Especially as 3GSM embraces so-called Internet-Mobile convergence, it’s vital to activate that back-channel.

Here I am again in Barcelona, a year after attending my first 3GSM event (the Euro-centric mobile industry’s yearly love-fest). Last year, I was an observer. This year, my schedule is packed. I’m attending Tim Berners-Lee’s keynote tomorrow morning. I’m being a judge at the Mobile Monday Global Peer Awards tomorrow afternoon. On Tuesday, I’ll be at the W3C booth promoting our work in Mobile Web Initiative. On Thursday, I’ll be attending the dotMobi Advisory Group meeting at the Wireless Developers Forum and speaking on a panel at the iHollywood Forum. Finally on Thursday I’ll be on a panel at 3GSM itself (although I’m still not listed on the conference Web site. Of course, throughout all of this, I’ll be talking to anyone who wants to listen about Vodafone Betavine! Last year, 3GSM was all about MobileTV. This year, mobile Internet will be front and center. My schedule this week is one measure of this increased focus on the Mobile Internet. I’m particularly excited about the Mobile Monday event tomorrow, where we’ll be featuring 20+ exciting start-ups from around the world competing for peer recognition. I’m also looking forward to spending some time just walking the floor and seeing what the flavor of mobile innovation is this year. If you’re here at 3GSM this week, leave a comment here or come find me at Mobile Monday tomorrow and say “hi.” (or ask me about Vodafone Betavine!) One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a frenetic week.

I’ll be at 3GSM this year again. I’m expecting (and hoping) this year’s event to be more interesting than last year’s. At the last event, it was all about MobileTV. This time, the Mobile Web will be front and center. I will be attending mainly in support of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative, which will have an increased presence (at the ignominiously designated 7D56 booth in Hall 7 – hopefully better placement than last year). We will also hopefully be featuring a special speaker this year on the mobile Web which I think will get people talking. We will also be running a Mobile Monday “Global Peer Awards” event there this year, which is certainly a step up from the informal gathering around the Finpro booth we held last year. Rudy at Mobile Monday Barcelona has put together a great event with some help from Helsinki and some of the other chapters. I’ll be acting as a judge at the awards. This will be the 3rd annual Global Peer Awards, although the first to run at 3GSM (the last two ran at the Mobile Monday Global Summit in Helsinki). The awards will once again be throwing the spotlight on innovation in the Mobile community by featuring an array of start-up companies put forward by Mobile Monday chapters from around the world. If you’re going to be in Barcelona, I urge you to register early to be a part of this event before the space fills up. I guarantee it’ll be like nothing else you’re likely to …

3GSM: Mobile Web and the Mobile Monday Invasion Read more »