Category Archives: Mobile

By Julie Blaustein

Geolocational services are everywhere. Its in our smart phones, our cars and in our pictures. So why is there so much interest in it now and where is it going? The Ge- Loco Conference tackled the next big thing in advertising, social media and discovery at the Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 21st. Part of the reason for such interest now is its potential market in mobile advertising, as according to BIA/Kelsy Group, its expected to grow in the U.S. from $320 million in 2009 to $3.1 billion in 2013. That explains why all the buzz for FourSquare that has only 2.1 million users compared to others such as Facebook with 500 million users, Twitter with 190 million users and Yelp with 30 million users.

The conference started out with Robert Scoble‘s opening remarks. What better authority than Scoble who is the uber consumer user of location based services (LBS) and devices to aid him in both his personal life to find a descent places to eat and for his jet setting around the world for business. He then joined the first panel, The Future of Location Based Services. By 2014 all on the panel agreed that any user generated content will be automatically Geo-Tagged. Privacy is still the biggest issue, contributing major and justified concerns regarding stalking. Michael Liebhold of the Institute for the Future pointed out that facial recognition will be the most feared of all privacy concerns. On a brighter note, all agreed LBS is seen as enabling and fostering better communications among individuals and communities.

Fred Wilson

VC Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, provided the Keynote where he stated the two biggest issues with LBS – Privacy and  Monetization. What gets him pumped? Applications that create lots of data that gets shared with millions of people such as maps – a utility where massive amounts of date are stored in the cloud. Wilson later had an interesting and entertaining “fire side” chat with John Battelle of Federated Media. Playing word association, Battelle asked Wilson to share what comes to mind when he mentions the following: Research in Motion = Not Good, Facebook = Juggernaut, Gowalla = Its tough being second fiddle, HP = Great Company, HP Palm = Great Acquisition, Microsoft = Dinosaur, Apple = Evil (laughter and applause from audience), Boxee = Promise, Google = Challenged.

Panelists Shoes

The issues of Privacy and Monetization were discussed in depth, but certainly not solved during the conference. This conference is just the starting point. There were a number of  industry leaders in attendance along with those that were tweeting or listening in that provided some insight into where things are going in the future. A number of additional issues were discussed and links were shared at the hashtag #geoloco, which is also a great transcript of the conference whether you were there or not. If you were there, its a great place to share your expertise, provide links and other thoughts to the conversation. And, as a result, you become more visible, gaining more followers on Twitter and in the industry. Sharon Lin, Senior Marketing Manager at Jumio, did a fantastic job keeping up with the fast talking panelists, acting as a moderator of the #geoloco stream. Its also interesting to note the many tools used to tweet. Most tweets were generated from Hootsuite and Tweetdeck but others included Seesmic, TweetGrid, TweetCaster, UberTwitter, Echofon, Brizzly. At times the discussion started to get a bit snarky, commenting about how the panelists were dressed. I started noticing what shoes panelists were wearing. Can you match up the speaker to the shoes in the photo? Let me know if you do @julierb.

To the event organizers, Mark Evans, Diane Bisgeier and to the many volunteers, congratulations on a well run and thought provoking meeting of the minds in Geo Locaion. If you missed it, become part of the conversation at #geoloco or check out Justin TV’s livestream of the Geo Loco Conference. You can also check out more photos of the panelists here.


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Help define who and what matters in the mobile space. If you’d like to connect with others and amplify your influence in the mobile tech space, then join NetShelter and publishers PhoneDog, IntoMobile and VentureBeat for an evening of insights, merriment and mingling.

EVENT DETAILS:

Where: ROE Nightclub. 651 Howard Street San Francisco, CA 94105

When: Thursday, July 15, 2010 | 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Registration: http://netsheltermixermobile.eventbrite.com
C
ost: Free

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=130248163665499
Hashtag: #netsheltermixer

HOSTS
Pirouz Nilforoush [@pirouzn] and Peyman Nilforoush [@netshelter_ceo] , NetShelter [ @netshelter ]
Noah Kravitz [@phonedog_noah], PhoneDog
Will Park [@willpark], IntoMobile
Owen Thomas [@owenthomas], VentureBeat

By Julie Blaustein

It was wonderful to get out of the city and experience the 32nd. Annual Harmony Festival. Not only was the schedule filled with workshops in health, arts, ecology, spirituality, dancing and both local and Grammy-nominated musicians such as Lauren Hill, there were over 300 vendors to buy cool merchandise and eat mostly healthy food.

The Verizon Grafitti Maker

Techie stuff was all around the festival too. Many of the vendors banners included .com in their names. Verizon was the proud sponsor of the Eco Rally that featured a Skate Contest, Skate Jam Mini Ramp Contest, Best Trick Contest and more. In addition they had a huge vendor space to demo their  products and provided goodie bags that included sunglasses and glow-in-the-dark necklaces for the concerts. They also provided a Graffiti booth that enabled folks to create neon looking wallpaper for either one’s desktop or mobile phones. The Brand Ambassador Tech Lead, Owen Powell, said that Verizon chose to exhibit and sponsor as the demo is on the young side and for the strong green movement at the festival.

Fun with Technology

Don’t miss next year’s 33rd. Harmony Festival. You can connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. They also offer free admission for volunteering!

Many more pics of the Harmony Festival can be found here!

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Non-US iPad users have gotten access to their iTunes App Stores a week early, giving them a peek at what to expect from the iPad apps selection, reports PCWorld. Limited to certain countries, Apple has revealed the iPad App Stores earlier than expected, for those that purchased their iPad through third party services, such as eBay or Craigslist.

While the iPads themselves won’t be officially available in these countries until later this month, those that were too anxious to wait for their nearby Apple stores to sell the popular tablet can now get a better idea of what to expect from their iPad App Store. In some ways, it’s a little surprise. In other ways, it’s a disheartening realization of Apple’s ongoing global fragmenting.

Those non-US iPad users will lose their already purchased apps if they sync with their country-specific iPad App Store, and certain US-specific apps won’t work at all. And the iPad book store won’t be available for non-US users for some time. While there’s sure to be a way around losing all one’s apps, it’s a roundabout process with an equally roundabout solution.

Part of the problem, if you want to look at it that way, is the instant success of the iPad device. With US sales of the tablet exceeding 1 million units in its first month, Apple had to delay the iPad’s release elsewhere in the world. That has prompted some to purchase their iPads on the “grey” market, leaving them in an operational limbo for actually utilizing their new devices.

It seems like a silly problem to have, but it very much indicates the ways in which the world has not shrunk. In many ways, global distribution of a product isn’t as easy as making it available in stores. A certain attention to each localized market is necessary, in addition to the other factors to consider for a worldwide marketing and sales campaign.

A good problem to have, sure. But failing to improve the process overall could open up the doors for Google and other companies, particularly as the mobile industry looks to expand at a quickening pace. While Apple’s control makes it slower to move, it also restricts consumers at multiple points of access, which can be wholly regulated by their location alone.

And the US isn’t immune to this process–AT&T is still the only company that is legally allowed to power the iPhone’s network, despite growing consumer demand and the availability of other phones through multiple carriers. Already Google has looked to break such a cycle, though its Nexus One initiative was somehow lost in the loftiness of such a goal. But Google isn’t one to back down, and neither is Apple. That leaves us still wondering how and when Apple will make its products more universally friendly, in the literal sense.

Amazon has announced plans to launch Kindle for Android, expanding on its mobile presence and increasing the number of ways in which you can access your Amazon books. The app will work on Android OS 1.6 or better, and require an SD card.

The move isn’t surprising, given Amazon’s early support of the Android platform. Even before the breakthrough Motorola Droid helped to push Android to the forefront of mobile conversation, Amazon’s store came pre-loaded on many devices, with a later mp3 store helping Google better compete against Apple’s iPhone with iTunes Store access.

Perhaps the more surprising aspect of Amazon’s Kindle release for Android is the fact that it took so long. While Amazon has found several ways to avert Apple’s top-down approach to controlling its devices and their content, it was still necessary for Amazon to appeal to iPhone users. Hence, the Amazon Kindle app for iPhone, amongst other initiatives to own an access point on the iPhone.

And while we’ll see a similar tit-for-tat proceed between Amazon and Apple over the iPad, we’re also seeing Amazon branch further away from this device-specific approach to the Kindle. Amazon on Android devices could take the company in an entirely different direction than it would have been able to go, had it stuck with just an iPhone app.

Google’s Android platform is moving beyond mobile devices to television set top boxes, among other things. Creating more access points for personal electronic devices and home entertainment means more opportunity for Amazon to sell physical and digital products. This is only the begining for Amazon’s capacity to reach consumers and provide the means by which others can reach consumers as well.

Amazon already has a pretty amazing platform of its own, and building out the access points to the platform means that more sellers and authors will be able to interact with each other. This is the real way in which Amazon can better take advantage of its current position, emphasizing the importance of its focus on its mobile presence.