Yes – it’s almost upon us. Those who have been paying attention to my Twitter-stream recently will know that could only be talking about Over the Air. I’ve been working hard on putting together the session schedule for this event, with some great help, notably from Tory and Franco who put on EcoMo the weekend before last. I’m very pleased with how things have turned out. We’re featuring a program that delves into technical detail on numerous topics related to mobile development and at the same time covers user experience, design and the emerging field of service design on mobile. There will be panels, sessions, in-depth tutorials and master class sessions, all against a backdrop of an over-night hack-a-thon. At last year’s Over the Air, I remember walking from session to session and realizing that people were learning in an environment that is possibly unique in the world of mobile events. This year, sessions will cover such disparate topics as widget design and development, iPhone, Windows Mobile, W3C standards, Java, Symbian, Qt, Open Source, Teen insights, and Augmented Reality – and that’s just for starters! Imperial College London will once again provide a great back-drop for this event. If you’re a developer, designer, user experience practitioner, technically or design-minded entrepreneur, or anyone else who’s interested in learning about the real state of art of building mobile experiences, I hope to see you there!

I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Peter Price from BBC’s Digital Planet. Some of what we talked about got onto the Digital Planet Podcast (dated 7 April). Peter also captured Over the Air speaker/participant Brian Fling and spoke about the coming revolution of “Mobile 2.0”. It’s a great piece, which really captures some of the flavor of the event, interviewing one of the competition entrants (Simon Maddox) who was busy learning J2ME in order to build a location-based game. Contrary to what Peter says on the podcast, Simon and his team-mate Kevin were actually one of the winners, for best location-aware app. Because of the hybrid nature of the event, Simon and Kevin had access to some top-level experts in Java J2ME from Sun, Aplix and Vodafone who had presented in earlier masterclass sessions. I think it’s also notable what BBC’s Matthew Postgate and Bill Thompson had to say about why BBC is getting involved with events like Over the Air. It’s all because BBC’s public remit means they have a mandate to encourage and facilitate creative expression and “programming is just as valid a form of creative expression as writing books, making videos, or drawing pictures.” I think they’re absolutely right. Certainly, a lot of “creativity” was evident in the contribution entries. The question on everyone’s lips at Over the Air was “when are you going to run another one?” I think the answer is “not for a while” but in the meantime, BBC Backstage is gearing up for their own, more PC-Web-oriented, event, Mashed …

Over the Air Captured on BBC’s Digital Planet Podcast Read more »

Over the Air kicks off tomorrow at Imperial College London. But we’re already getting some great press from the Guardian’s Jemima Kiss. And they even spelled my name right! The innovation that’s going to drive this converged Mobile/Web industry forward is going to come from the kind of people who are coming to this event. Jemima called it a “festival” in her article. That’s right, I think. Over the Air will be more than a development conference and more than a code camp. It must be a rallying cry for the mobile developer community. I’m off to Imperial College London to start stuffing bags for tomorrow’s attendees. If you’re coming to Over the Air, I’ll see you tomorrow, and if not you’ll have to read about it in the papers.

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?