Dear all
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Open Mobile Media newsletter. Open Mobile Media tracks the trend to open the mobile value chain. And explores how operators, OEMs, software, Internet and media companies can build and monetize the open mobile economy.
In this edition:
* Open Mobile Summit London – 2 weeks to go!
– Who’s attending?
– Meet the facilitators

* Focus: App Store Fever

* Call for Feedback: Open Mobile World San Francisco
– Want to get involved? Reply by June 3

* Soapbox: Lost for words
Open Mobile Summit London – 10-11th June – 2 weeks to go!
I’m very excited that the London event is almost upon us. I love watching the audience come together and eagerly anticipate 2 days of brainstorming and discussions about the future of this fast-moving space. The event is taking place at the Thistle Marble Arch in 2 weeks – 10-11 June.
* Who’s attending *
We have a great audience coming together. As always it’s a good spread across the spectrum. Lots of operators – Voda, T-Mobile, Orange, 3, Telefonica, Telecom Italia – but also docomo, China Mobile and China Unicom come to mind. A good turnout from the Internet world too – from the ‘usual suspects’ through to some brands and retail players that are presumably looking to mobile as a new channel. Plus a good showing from content, apps developers and ad agencies.
It’s also a surprisingly global mix – with attendees hailing from as far afield as San Diego and China – as well as right across Europe. I was surprised by this – with travel restrictions what they are. It’s great to see that many in the industry are still willing and able to invest in travel and business development. That’s a real sign of health – in open mobile markets particularly.
The diversity of attendees makes it hard to generalise – but one thing’s for sure is that those that make it are a selection of those that are continuing to do business, grow and develop their propositions in today’s markets. And those likely to be in the strongest position as we come out of the downturn.
Follow openmobilemedia on twitter for (slightly-sporadic and occasionally real-time) updates as folks sign up!
* Meet the Facilitators *
We’ve worked hard to ensure that the Open Mobile Summit is a place for an open dialogue between all participants, irrespective of which side of the stage you are on. I’ve always believed the moderators make or break a conference, in terms of the value of the content. Which is why we have been especially careful to secure a great team of facilitators to keep the discussions relevant and on track. And here they are:
Day One:
James Enck, mCapital will be chairing the morning keynotes, and the keynote panel with T-Mobile, TeliaSonera, RIM, Yahoo! and Opera
Dean Bubley, MD, Disruptive Analysis is facilitating the ‘Operators and Open Access Incumbents’ track on Day 1 in the afternoon featuring O2, 3, BT, Clue, BT Openzone, NGMN, Analysys Mason, Telco 2.0 and Ovum
Robert Andrews, Editor, paidcontent is moderating the ‘Monetization’ panel with Omnifone, Barney Wragg, Disney, Bebo and Convergys
Peggy Salz Editor mSearch Groove will moderate the Mobile Advertising panel featuring Google, Admob, MMA, JumpTap, Ogilvy and GSMA
Day Two:
Caroline Gabriel of Rethink Research will facilitate the morning track, including keynotes from ACCESS, Motorola and Symbian Foundation, and the keynote panel ‘Future of the OS’
Rajeev Chand, Rutberg and Co is moderating the ‘Beyond the phone’ keynote panel with Acer, Orange, T-Mobile, Qualcomm and LG, as well as ‘What’s beyond the garden wall’ fireside chat with Vodafone, O2 and 3.
Ajit Jaokar of the opengardens blog is moderating ‘Open Platforms: What developers want’ with Handmark, Popcatcher, Glu Mobile, Android User Group and AKQA…and then the subsequent ‘Defragmentation: Apps in the Cloud’ panel with OMTP, w3c, Mozilla, ACCESS and Orange / Java verified
Declan Lonergan of Yankee Group is moderating Inter-connected Entertaiment with Slingbox, Digital Chocolate and 3.
Alex Farber Editor New Media Age closes the show with the closing plenary panel App Store: Fad or Future? With Nokia, Vodafone, Amdocs, Taptu and Bango
* Focus: App Store Fever
So, Vodafone went live with plans to launch their own App Store. Rumour has it, T-Mobile has one in the pipeline too. Meanwhile the Ovi store launched this week. And, stories of un-official iPhone and Android App Stores have been in the press these past couple of weeks.
Whilst everyone races to be the de-facto platform for the next generation of downloadable apps, it might be worth taking a step back to figure out whether the App store really is the future of application / service discovery on mobiles.
Apple’s multi million dollar advertising campaign has certainly educated consumers that if they want to find stuff for their phone, it’s an App, and it lives in an App store. And the App Store model does have many benefits. But it might not be the holy grail.
Firstly, there’s the challenge of discovery of apps from within a store. Just getting in the store isn’t enough – if you don’t get in the top ten, there’s not much chance of you getting found. There have to be better ways to navigate apps from WITHIN the app store.
Then there’s the fact that there are going to be so many. Which will raise a key issue about how you navigate AMONGST app stores. And indeed who is ought to be – or is going to be successful – hosting them. Device manufacturers? Operators? Independents?
It all comes down to real-estate on the ‘phone-top’ of course, and begs the question that Ray Anderson of Bango posed to me some months ago which is ‘are app stores just the dead-cat bounce of the operator portal?’
Thirdly, Apps sold in App Stores are usually under $1, and tending to free. So that makes App stores a great Advertising channel, for free promotional apps. And good for goofy little gizmos and jokes. But perhaps not the best retail environment for a fairly sophisticated game, or enterprise software…
So it might be that different platforms suit different types of application – not just because of the technical capabilities, but because of the means provided to monetize the apps? Hence the concept of the $10 App Store. Perhaps there will be a whole maze of vertical app stores (anyone remember VerticalNet?) It’s one of the questions we’ll be putting to the ‘Open Platforms: What developers want’ panel at the OMS London on Thursday June 11th.
It’s also possible that App Stores are not the end destination for discovery of content / media / applications as mobile becomes a mass media, but an interim fix on the way to fully open search. (like I said before, anyone remember VerticalNet? )
Search technology and the evolving mobile UI has a way to go to make this happen, but wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to find whatever you actually want on a mobile device. As opposed to what the lowest common denominator – the mass market – chose to download.
After all, isn’t that one of the things that’s so great about the Internet – the ability to locate and find content / services / groups that are niche and specific to you, and for content providers, the ability to find customers for ‘the long tail’.
That’s the brief for the ‘App Store: Fad or Future’ panel – featuring Ray Anderson of Bango, Steve Ives CEO of mobile search company Taptu, Gil Rosen of Amdocs, Rick Fant Head of Internet Services at Vodafone and George Linardos VP Product in the Media group at Nokia.
* Open Mobile World San Francisco: Call for input! – Deadline June 3.
People keep asking if there’s going to be a Call for Papers for the San Francisco event. We don’t normally have a Call for Papers – as we prefer to pick our speakers from those that our community tells us they want to hear from.
So instead here is a ‘Call for input’! If you’d like to share your ideas about which topics ought to be addressed at the next Open Mobile event in San Francisco – and tell us who you’d like to hear speaking, we’d be delighted.
Email by next Wednesday June 3 to join the ‘research panel’ and have your say!
* Soapbox: Lost for words
It doesn’t happen very often but I really don’t have anything to rant about this month. So, I promise a double-dose of ‘soapbox’ rants in the next edition. Watch this space!
That’s all for this month. Hope to see many of you in London 10-11 June – and please be quick if you’re still thinking of attending, we’ve nearly maxed out the venue (register here:
Robin Batt, Founder and Managing Director, Open Mobile Media Ltd