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Updates from the MobileWorld conference in Barcelona

Posted on | February 17, 2010 | No Comments

The largest mobile-focused conference in the world is being held now in Barcelona, Spain: MobileWorld.

Tech Industry Catches It’s Breath – NY Times
“It’s like with evolution, where you have a mutation and then a great explosion of diversity,” said Scott A. McGregor, the chief executive of Broadcom, which makes chips that go into a wide range of consumer electronics. “Then, you have a period where you see which creatures can survive the big change.”

Facebook announces mobile strategy and announces Facebook Zero mobile-web interface.

The quick summary is that Facebook is providing a mobile-web interface to it’s web site that works across most phones and languages, will support SMS for messaging, and will continue to expand their presence in the mobile app space through new applications and also developer services (a la Connect). It sounds like mobile is a core element of their strategy, which makes sense if the goal is global user adoption.

Opera Demos Its iPhone Web Browser, It’s Damn Fast & Will Be Submitted To Apple
“Opera demonstrated yesterday in Barcelona an iPhone version of its mobile web browser, Opera Mini, and it’s damn fast. How fast? Well, about five times faster than your current safari mobile on a 3GS. The trick resides in the way it processes websites.”

That’s great, but as many have noted it is not likely that Apple will allow this to be released on the iTunes app store. Additionally, I’m not sure how I feel about how it works. All Opera browser internet requests would be routed through Opera, who would act as a proxy to retrieve the content and send it to the browser in an optimized format. Regardless, this is a pretty interesting technology.

Skype in a Struggle to Be Heard on Mobile Phones
“Most operators and network equipment makers still perceive Skype and other Internet phone call providers to be potential freeloaders, stealing their customers while they invest billions of dollars to build out and upgrade mobile networks.” (Skype announced a partnership with Verizon in the US at the conference)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt at MWC Puts Mobile First
“”Here, right now, we understand the new rule is ‘mobile first’ in everything. Perhaps the phrase should be ‘mobile first’ simply because it’s time to be proud of what we have built together. Our job is to make mobile be the answer to everything.”

What is the meta-story?

  1. We’re seeing the largest internet businesses move aggressively into the mobile space
  2. The mobile-web will be at least as important as mobile apps, and the large web properties are converting their sites to work accordingly
  3. There is a shake-up in progress of the smartphone value chain. The role of the platform, OEM, carrier, and application developers is shifting, and this is resulting in questions about which apps will be allowed on each platform (skype, opera, etc). It also creates tension between the carriers, oems, and platforms all of which would like a bigger piece of the pie at the end of the day.

There is still one more day to go in the conference — we’ll see what else develops.

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