I have three predictions for the coming year: Prediction #1: I have seen the future, and it is Android. Or rather, the Android model is going to be the model that “wins out.” Right now, especially for those who tote iPhones around, that might be difficult to see or understand. The iPhone seems like a device which embodies all the mobile 2.0 ideals I first wrote about in 2006. It provides access to a wealth of applications and services. It’s easy to use. It’s connected. It has created new product categories (apps) and new routes to market. But, as iPhone detractors often point out, it’s a closed ecosystem. I submit that no matter how “insanely great” the iPhone is, the ecosystem that Apple has created around it cannot scale. So, we are back to another prediction I made, at 2008’s Future of Mobile conference: Android will be to the iPhone what the PC was to the Mac. Why? User choice. You can download and install an app on an Android phone without buying it from Android Market. You can download it directly, or from an alternative app store such as GetJar. I predict 2010 will be the year that Android apps will begin to rival iPhone apps – maybe not in terms of sheer numbers, but in terms of consumer and developer mindset. This will be the year in which “download our Android App” buttons will join “download our iPhone App” buttons on sites across the Web. Don’t believe me? Check out this interesting data point …

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One really interesting conversation that emerged at the Mobile 2.0 Europe conference last week was about the emerging Apps culture. Clearly, mobile apps (applications, widgets, webapps whatever you want to call them – I’m talking about data-driven experiences on the phone here, irrespective of platform and technology) are in the midst of a renaissance. However, I have also been hearing a lot of critical voices recently talking about “useless” apps and questioning “how many apps do people really use on their phones?” So I made a point at the Developer Day portion of the event that Apps are like Songs which I didn’t actually think was terribly original but people there seemed to jibe with it. Why are apps like songs? Someone else commented that you can “use them once and throw them away” but I’m not sure that captures it – because you don’t throw songs away really. They might stay in your music library unplayed for months or even years only to resurface at the right time. I was reminded of this today when someone challenged me to find an app that made effective use of the “shake” feature. I immediacy called up the “shotgun” app on the iPhone, which is kind of a “one joke app” like the Zippo lighter or the Carling beer. It doesn’t mean they’re any less worthy – and in the case of the Zippo or the Carling (ugh – I hate Carling — but I love the app!) you can see the marketing potential of apps as songs. …

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Osney Media’s Mobile Web 2.0 Summit has wrapped up. In all, it was a good opportunity to discuss the trends and technologies in the mobile industry, mobile social networking, etc… For me, it was a good opportunity to talk about the convergence that I see happening between the mobile and Web industries and communities. It was also a great opportunity to talk about the opportunities I see opening up in the mobile widget space, and the vital importance that we converge on a single standard for mobile (and desktop) widgets across the industry. Judging from the response to my talk, there is still a lot of misunderstanding of this space in the industry and a lot more education and evangelism required. So be it! If you want to find out more about these topics and others vitally important to the future of the mobile and Web industries, come join me in Barcelona on June 18th and 19th for Mobile 2.0 Europe. Day one will be a developer day featuring presentations, tutorials (and unstructured sessions) on key software technologies and innovations in the mobile and mobile Web space and day two will be more strategic, focusing on disruptive innovation in the mobile space and featuring startups and innovators from across the spectrum. It’s going to be an exciting two days.

First of all, for the third year in a row, I’m running (along with Mike Rowehl, Gregory Gorman, Rudy de Waele and Peter Vesterbacka) Mobile 2.0, a “one-day event focusing on new Mobile Applications and Services, the Mobile Web and Disruptive Mobile Innovation.” The event will be held on November 3rd and will once again be taking place at the Grand Hyatt off of San Francisco’s Union Square. This year we have some really fantastic speakers and panelists and we’re also trying something slightly different: running a “builder track” in the afternoon, along-side our regular track, that will focus on hands-on mobile development, user experience and design. That track will feature mini-tutorial sessions on topics such as Gears Mobile, Nokia Web Runtime, Yahoo! blueprint, iPhone web development and mobile user experience and design topics (with a focus on case studies). This is all in line with my view that when it comes to mobile innovation, it is time to stop talking about it and start doing it. Registration is now open, so reserve your seat today by visiting http://mobile2event.com. Full program will also be posted soon. On the next day, November 4th, against the back-drop of the U.S. election, I’ll be helping to run a bar-camp type event focusing on how mobile technology is being used as a lever of social change. This is a topic that I’ve been working at the fringes of for some time. I’m very privileged to be working with the folks at MobileActive.org (who will be fresh from running their own …

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Open Business Model Panel at Mobile 2.0 Europe moderated by Mike Butcher It’s the final panel at Mobile 2.0 Europe, featuring panelists from Blyk (Leif Fågelstedt), Admob (Laurence Aderemi), GetJar (Ilja Laurs), Bango (Ray Anderson) and Fjord (Chris Liu) and moderated by an ebullient Mike Butcher. The theme of openness has been a central one here in Barcelona. Everyone seems to agree that openness is good, but nobody can agree quite what openness means or what should be open and what can remain closed. The iPhone, for example, has been held up as a beacon of innovation, but the iPhone is also closed in a number of respects, especially around native application development. Interesting comment from Chris of Fjord – do we need a “Microsoft” for Mobile (i.e. a single vendor who can dominate the operating system space)? Ray Anderson’s response (which I agree with) is that that common platform could be the Web (and I would add, mobile Widgets which run on top of a runtime environment). Coming back to the iPhone, the thousand+ mobile Web applications in Apple’s directory should be a indication of this trend. The only problem with Web apps is – no access to device capabilities (camera, location, PIM etc…). But this is coming. Both Ilja and Laurence have spoken up on the power of mobile advertising to help bootstrap mobile innovation. We haven’t heard too much from Leif about open business models — they are pretty focused on their basic “voice and text” proposition. My question was: will mobile (Web) …

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We didn’t announce the startups on the agenda for Mobile 2.0 Europe – we had to keep something back to make for a little suspense. As I write this, the startups are now on stage presenting: Aka Aki: an exciting mobile social network platform that uses location and proximity (through Bluetooth) to encourage unanticipated interactions – such as looking up the profile of someone you happened to bump into on the street. It does this by tracking the unique Bluetooth addresses of everyone around you and checking these against registered profiles. Creepy? Possibly, but very cool. Dial2Do: a voice-based platform for access Web 2.0 services (with a special emphasis on hands-free usage, such as from the car). Shout’Em: A mobile social network out of Croatia that enables micro-blogging, media sharing, the whole shebang. ViaMobility: A mobile widget play – taking PC widgets from a varierty of platforms onto the mobile. From the mockup of the experience they presented, it looks pretty compelling. YouLynx: Converging  the mobile / Internet / PC experience, focusing on messaging, blogging, media share and incorporating Geolocation. Zipiko: Another social utiloty focusing on organizing adhoc social activities, meetups, and enabling “spending time with friends.” Making it easy to communicate your intentions (like: “I’m going to go get a coffee now”) among a circle of friends. I think they’ve got something – the user experience and design is spot-on. Plus it “improves your sex life.” There you have it. Time for a coffee break!

Pekka Pohjakallio of Nokia Keynoting Mobile 2.0 Europe In late 2006, I helped to run an event called Mobile 2.0 in San Francisco. Run up against Web 2.0 Summit, the event was first conceived as a kind of mobile “meet up” for people attending Web 2.0 – people who were interested in mobile innovation, and especially the growing convergence between Web and Mobile (which in 2006 was still quite contraversial). We ended up drawing a crowd of 300 industry professionals. In 2007 we re-ran the event and established Mobile 2.0 as a conference series. Today in Barcelona, Mobile 2.0 Europe is kicking off due to the not inconsiderable talents of Rudy De Wale. In the mean time, the topics we’ve been covering in Mobile 2.0 have gone main stream. Mobile Web, mobile social networking, social media, and other innovations that were seen as fringe in 2006 are now coming into the mainstream of industry thinking. Pekka Pohjakallio from Nokia spoke this morning on how his company is becoming an Internet services company. Alistair Hill from M:Metrics has presented dramatic growth in mobile Web usage in western markets. Now we have on stage a panel on Mobile Social Networking including Zyb (now part of Vodafone) founder Tommy Ahlers and Antonio Vince Staybl, CEO of Itsmy.com (a mobile-only social network that is taking off like wildfire). The rest of today’s program is packed with real industry experts and startups across the spectrum of mobile innovation. Exciting times? Yes.

Just made a presentation at Web 2.0 Expo here in San Francisco. This presentation was a bit of an experiment – combining some “vision thing” stuff about the Mobile Web with some specific recommendations for building Mobile Ajax applications (and thanks to Óscar Gutiérrez Isiégas, Scott Hughes and Jonathan Jeon for their contributions). I got a lot of requests for the slides – so here they are for anyone interested!   | View | Upload your own

I’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 …

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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 …

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