Live Blogging From Mobilize ’09

September 10, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Developers, Events, Mobile

I’m live blogging from Mobilize ’09 in San Francisco, California for as long as my laptop battery lasts. I’ll also be live tweeting.

After a quick, “mininote” introduction by Om Malik, Founder of the GigaOM Network and James Kendrick, Editor, jkOnTheRun (GigaOM Network), Pankaj Kedia, Director, Global Ecosystem Programs, Mobile Internet Devices at Intel has taken the stage…

  • He shows “Mobile Accelerated Telephone Growth” over time
  • “Mobile Computing: Ready to Explode” – World mobile PC base from 1998 – 2012 is mirroring the mobile phone ramp-up that has taken place so far.
  • 1,600,000,000 Internet Users today, 1,300,000,000 Fixed telephone lines, 800,000,000 Automobiles worldwide
  • The world spends 5 Billion minutes on Facebook every day.
  • The Internet is becoming more personal, social, rich, and real-time, intelligent, location aware, and more… Most of all, the Internet is becoming more mobile.
  • Kedia estimates there will be 1 billion Intel-based mobile devices a year by 2015.
  • Media pads and Media phones are coming in droves
  • Showing the smallest netbook on the planet $499 available on Amazon… The 100,000 blog posts that will be written today will be readable on this device.
  • “the Smarter smartphone” – Kedia is showing forthcoming mobiles. He points out they’re small personal computers – computers that make a phone call.
  • “The PC Internet is coming to all of the devices here” (referencing a slide showing many devices).
  • Why Intel?
    • High Performance at lower power
    • Full internet
    • Software compatibility
    • Always-on
  • “There is no PC internet and mobile internet. There is one Internet. At intel, we’re making sure we deliver you that internet. Same internet multiple devices.”

Pankaj Kedia exited the stage. Next up a panel: “Monetizing Mobile Apps”. Moderator: Raven Zachary, President, Small Society (iphone strategic consulting and product development.)

  • Panelists:
    • Mark Curtis, CEO, Flirtomatic:
      • Flirtomatic cross between dating and social networks. Mobile is where we make our money. A mobile user is 3x more likely to spend money on our service than an internet user.
    • Onno Bakker from eBuddy
      • 30Million uniques a month. Mobile revenues are picking up in last three months=
    • Mark Jacobstein, CEO, iSkoot
      • iSkoot best known for software that brought Skype to mobile.  Developer behind AT&T Social Net
    • Dorrian Porter, Founder and CEO, Mozes
      • Mozes is a mobile engagement platformed focused on live events – especially music related events.
    • Adam Zbar, CEO, Zannel
      • Zannel is a microblogging platform – unlocking power of camera phone. Post once publish everywhere. Will be launching pro-service in Q4 to help artists and social media pros to engage.
    • Amir Hosseinpour, CEO, Juice Wireless was scheduled to attend but was not present on the panel.
  • Topic: Multi-Platform
    • Adam Zbar says he thinks interoperability will grow in importance
    • Mark Curtis, CEO, Flirtomatic is completely browser based… “When you go into app land, you slow down delivery times…For a start-up, that’s a nightmare”
  • Services:
    • Raven is talking about client vs. server debate… Talking about Salesforce Mobile app, which exists outside app store model. It’s free, and there’s a subscription on the back end. He asked the group about what they think of client vs. server.
    • Mark Jacobstein thinks you need to be working on client and server end to have a successful app.
  • Raven asked about business model – freemium, etc.
    • Mark Jacobstein: If you’re making a free or cheap app that can drive the carrier’s main business, that’s key.
  • Raven: What about mobile ads?
    • Mark Curtis: Mobile advertising has great future ahead, but it’s currently only 25% of Flirtomatic’s current revenue.  Flirtomatic sells mobile advertising to it’s users so that users bid the most exposure on Flirtomatic. Flirtomatic gets the most exposure 4x CPM on user based advertising than brand-based advertising.
    • Onno Bakker: eBuddy seeing better than expected revenues on brand advertising
    • Dorrian Porter: Brands don’t know how to deal with mobile users yet.  Mobile marketing and advertising strategies for big brands are coming along very slowly.
  • MMS?
    • Mark Curtis: MMS is “not a technology on which I’d like to bet the bank.”  They have a lot of users uploading via email too.
  • How do developers monetize mobile web apps?
    • Mark Curtis: I think they need a 3-5 year plan. It’s possible to monetize mobile web apps, but it’s not easy.  “When the [carrier] revenue share on billing gets to a more reasaonable level, I’m going to be doing handsprings.”

After a couple of -bleh- questions from the crowd, the next panel is “Location: Context is Money”… But before that, quick update from GigaOM, you can check out GigaOM’s Top 15 Mobile Influencers here.

  • The moderator of the Location panel is Greg Sterling, Analyst Sterling Market Intelligence/ Opus
  • The panelists are:
  • The first question – “What is context”… Lots of ideas expressed. General sentiment is that location is an important part of context.
  • ~4000 apps in App Store(s) have some kind of location based service inside of them.
  • Talking monetization… How can location help?
    • Ted Morgan: You can layer zoning on top of mobile apps. This is useful for things like mobile couponing… i.e. at lunchtime when your restaurant is slow, you can target mobile users nearby.
    • Sanjeev Agrawal: When I want to do something, close the loop for me with location… i.e. when I want to go to the movies, etc.
    • Tasso Roumeliotis: Casinos would pay big money to be able to know where the high rollers are and target them as they walk into their casino.  Cost per click in the mobile world is about bringing people into retailers. Think its going to happen in Las Vegas first, and we’ll see what happens with other retailers.  The other thing is handsets.  When you can make 70-80% of phones locatable, things will get interesting. That’s not available right now.
    • Rahul Sonnad says he doesn’t think you need 70-80% penetration on location aware phones. You just need to find ROI for your efforts. The question for advertisers is “how do I reach people I haven’t reached before, and location opens all of that up.”
    • Sanjay Vakil sees great opportunity for CRM with location. He uses the example, if you fly into a town, you’ll be able to ID which of your clients is in town and what restaurants they like best based on past behavior. LBS will let you make reasoned decisions in advance – not just on the fly.
  • Talking about active vs. passive
    • Ted Morgan: mentioned FourSquare
    • Sanjeev Agrawal: “Push increases engagement” … Telling people what they could be doing is the ‘anti-Twitter’… i.e. telling people what they could be doing, rather than having people say what they are doing.
  • Privacy issues in marketing
    • Tasso Roumeliotis: With Google Latitude, someone could take your blackberry, sign up for Latitude, then hide the app and track your location (me: creepy)…. Users should have more control and know when their location is being viewed.
    • The audience was just polled about whether they are concerned about their location being tracked. The majority of the audience said no.
  • How do advertisers get to the end user in a scalable way?
    • Ted Morgan: Brands want to target, but that doesn’t work for ad networks because the more you target, the less you spend.  The ad networks aren’t incentivised to offer targeting right now.  There are some good ideas about how to target more effectively from brands.
    • Rahul Sonnad: There need to be more advertising products. Right now, too fragmented.
    • Sanjay Vakil: There’s a tendency to make advertising products more complicated that it needs to be.  There’s going to be a ‘give me a location, radius, keyword, and there you go.’ People will find push adds relatively annoying. “Pull works better than push.”
  • Questions from the audience
    • What about augmented reality?
      • Rahul Sonnad:”The real augmented reality is 5-10 years off”
      • Ted Morgan:”I think you’re going to see more and more of this [augmented reality] every day”
      • Sanjay Vakil:The delay rate that occurs on those apps is very similar to the delay rate people saw on flight simulators in the 1960s, and it made people nauseous.  So, “watch out for people barfing on your phones”.
  • Sanjay Vakil “If you’re not using the context in Facebook, you’re already behind the game.”

And, we’re on a break….But wait… There’s an announcement from…They’re opening up a free set of APIs. They’re launching with various partners including: ithoughts, iRec, jotNot, Smart Recorder, IBlueSk, Readdle, Pixelpipe, and others.


And now, the break.

The crowd is getting thick in the run-up to the Keynote (and rumored announcement) by Sanjay Jha of Motorola, which is coming up next at 10:25am Pacific.

And… We’re back… Sanjay Jha is taking the stage with the keynote…


  • Says he defines Wireless Broadband as 500KB/sec to multiple users at the same time. Streaming media, social networks, connectivity, connections without limits.
  • Number of users accessing internet on phone YoY from 2008-9 more than doubled (107%)
  • There are ~5B covered to wireless networks worldwide. 4.7 Billion will be covered by wireless broadband by the end of the year.
  • Social collaboration is huge.
  • 20% of people accessing the internet in the US today do so through their mobile.
  • Moto anticipates enormous growth in mobile broadband enabled devices including netbooks, but smartphones are beginning to address this opportunity
  • There is no common definition of smartphone today.  What are the common elements? Large, high res display, anytime anywhere broadband connectivity, OTA software updates, Rich messaging and media, Good voice quality, and multi-threadded, multi-tasking graphical OS.
  • Android is a great smartphone platform with an established ecosystem.
  • Lots of big issues consumers are facing. Consumers are overwhelmed by choices on their phone. What they really want is the ability to chose features that mean something to them.
  • Announcing a portfolio of devices that will enable experiences like: social networking, messaging, multimedia, browsing, navigation, etc. In a few minutes, they’ll announce one device. In a few weeks, they’ll announce another.
  • About 1/2 of all mobile traffic is on social networks
  • Users want access to their social networks, more effective mangagement and aggregated address books. It’s a lot to manage.
  • What if it were easier to manage… Announcing unique solution called Moto Blur.
  • Moto Blur syncs info from your facebook, twitter, myspace, gmail, yahoo, picasa, photobucket, and other social accounts… on your mobile.
  • Features of Moto Blur:
    • Moto Blur is widget based on the mobile.
    • 1 click access to social status… send your status to all of your social networks or just one – you choose
    • Live access to what’s happening across social network “happenings”
    • Reply to messages via SMS, @reply on Twitter, Facebook message, etc. in one easy interface in whatever way you’re connected to your friends
    • Messages Widget: you can see all of your messages coming into one widget on the homescreen-regardless of which means were used to send the message. All messages organized in easy to read streams. You can use emoticons, bold, color, etc. when you reply to messages.
    • You can get a social address book view.  When people update their status updates, Moto Blur will update it on your phone automatically
    • When you receive a call, you’ll see someone’s status update.
    • If your device is lost or stolen, it can be found with integrated GPS and remotely wipe the data using a online portal.  Your data is safely stored on Moto Blur servers. The minute you get your phone back, it automatically is updated with all of the info that was on your own phone.
    • Cole Brodman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at T-Mobile announces Motorla Cliq with Moto Blur!


  • The Motorola Cliq on T-Mobile is the “First Phone With Social Skills” (Me: looks great), and it’ll be coming in time for the holidays in the US.
    • 30-somethings who are blending their busy personal and professional lives are the target audience for this phone
    • Must-have, always on.
    • Cliq coming in 2 colors – Winter White and Titanium.  It will be in T-Mobile retail stores nation wide and they think it’s going to be one of their top selling phones this year.
    • 5Megapixel camera
    • 3G wi-fi
    • 24 fps for watching video
    • Standard headphone jack on the device, so that you can use your own headphones on the device.
    • Google calendar which can be integrated with exchange calendar.
    • Highly customizeable device
  • Moto blur will be going global. Many more devices will be announced in 2010. They’re betting on it becoming a big differentiator
  • Motorola Cliq will be calld Motorola Dext in Europe and Latin America.


Now, onto a ‘fireside chat’ with Sanjay Jha from Motorola and Andy Rubin of Google…

  • Om asks what Google’s intention is with mobile.  Andy “What’s good for the internet is good for Google”… Google’s core business is advertising.
  • When asked why Moto picked Android, and how Google convinced them, Andy said it didn’t take much.  Sanjay said something like (and I’m paraphrasing), ‘it was really about two drunks finding themselves in a bar and realizing they only had one option.’
  • Om asks Sanjay if this enough to bring Moto back. Sanjay says no, but it’s a start. In the next 15 months, Moto will be releasing a variety of devices that will do just that. This first device with Moto blur is a good start.
  • Om: Is this what a smartphone will look like going forward? Sanjay thinks you need to deliver content from the internet in an easily digestible way.  Hardware experience is Moto’s advantage.
  • Om asking what is Google doing to promote contextual development (social, location, etc.). Andy talking about adding platform extensions and handing them off to third parties to allow them to build innovation.
  • Om: What came first? iphone or Android? Andy says he doesn’t know.  goes on and on without answering the question. Sanjay says, “you’ve been hanging out in Chicago for too long.” (audience laughs)

I’ve left the latest panel on “Ultraband: a fast platform for innovation”… I’ll be back live blogging for the next panel: “The Netbooks and Ultraportable Boom”.  And, I’m back…

The “Netbooks and Ultraportable Boom” panel, moderated by Mark Spoonauer, Editor-in-Chief, LAPTOP Magazine.

  • Panelists:
    • Noury Al-Khaledy “Anil”(?), General Manager, Nettop and Netbook Computing, Mobile Platforms Group, Intel
    • Keith Kressin, Senior Director, Marketing and Product Management for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Qualcomm
    • Don Patterson, Director of Marketing, Windows Business Group, Microsoft
    • Brian Pitstick, GM, Ultra Mobile Devices, Consumer Product Group, Dell
  • Lots of discussion about where netbooks fit in the ecosystem.
  • OS wars are prevalent on mobile and netbooks.
  • Keith Kressin: Smartbooks (what Qualcomm calls Netbooks) and mobile are being increasingly used to browse the web – using them differently than they would a PC.
  • Don Patterson: Sees netbooks and ultraportables are helpful in promoting a software + services model.
  • How will platform wars play out on netbooks and ultraportables?
    • Brian Pitstick: It’s going to take a really solid OS platform that allows people to use their device online or offline.
  • Pinetrail will be next version of ATOM will be out in fall… what will this mean?
    • Anil says Pinetrail is targetting netbooks for better battery life and integration into other platforms.
  • Note: This panel is a bit slow… Content is king, software and hardware integration is critical, etc.  I’m not hearing anything earth shattering, so I’ll save the space… And, now it’s over.

And, I’m back… 2:30pm

This session is a “fireside chat” between Om Malik and Cole Brodman, SVP, Chief Techology and Innovation Officer, T-Mobile.  I’m on the last legs of battery… Will keep posting for as long as I can until the next charge…

  • Cole is talking about carrier billing… Says there are a lot of things they’re not doing. He’s looking forward to when they can turn carrier billing on within Android.
  • Cole is excited about new 3G networks rolling out + mobile hardware improvement – increased memory, etc. on handsets.
  • Cole: “The mobile internet of the future will be more powerful than the fixed internet of today.”
  • “Customization makes things more interesting in a world that looks much the same.”
  • In 4th quarter, T-mobile customers will different devices at different price points… Customization without fragmentation is the goal.
  • OM: “If you use iPhone the biggest problem isn’t the iPhone but the AT&T network.” Wants to know what T-Mobile is doing to prevent this
    • Cole says there are many people using and often overusing the networks. At time it’s been difficult to keep up with increased adoption, the network design has capacity built in mind. The technology they’ve deployed is latest generation.  6/8 increased in through channel input happening in next 6 months.
  • LTE plans? Cole says they’ve not launched or announced plans for LTE but says it’s a natural evolution for T-Mobile.  Right now priority is getting new networks set up.
  • Question from audience: What about VOIP? Opportunity or threat to your existing network?
    • Cole doesn’t see it as a threat.  The future is much less about voice consumption, but data consumption will grow exponentially.  T-mobile has embraced alternate voice channels. Biggest concern right now is quality of calls, but it’s only a matter time before that is solved.
  • Question from audience… What do you think about DRM?
    • Cole says it makes it hard to share, and he leans against it, though he recognizes that it’s hard to find a business model… That problem needs to be solved.

Session over…

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