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RETROSPECTION: Back from Tel Aviv - on the way to Seattle
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 11.04.08 - 22:20:31 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 21853x
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Not sure if you have missed me the past days but as you might have noticed, I haven't updated the::unwired. Well, the reason was, as said earlier, that I was the whole week in Israel for the HANDY Tech 2008 to which I was invited by HANDY and
In addition to my presentation at HANDY Tech 2008, I've also visited a couple of Israeli start-ups like Modu and Fring and - for sure - I took the time to travel around Israel where I've visited Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and other great places here, just to mention a few.
Just arrived this morning with El Al (but flying El Al is another interesting story), I'm currently on the train to Frankfurt, from where I'm writing this article, to catch my flight tomorrow morning to Seattle where the Microsoft MVP Summit happens next week.

Before I was presenting at HANDY Tech 2008 last Wednesday, I meet two interesting companies: Modu and Fring. While you might know Fring already (we've spoken about it here a couple of times), you might haven't heard about Modu yet.

Modu presented it's Mobile Mobile concept first at Mobile World Congress in February this year where I unfortunately hadn't had a chance to catch up with them. Nevertheless, close to Tel Aviv I had the chance to meet the Modu guys at its headquarter and we had a quite interesting discussion.

(From left to right: Helio Diamant, Editor-in-Chief, me, Italy Sherman, Modu CTO)

If you haven't heard about Modu yet, at the heart of the Modu ecosystem is Modu - a tiny, sleek & sophisticated mobile phone which you can slip into a variety of stylishly designed Modu jackets to create a new look and provide added functionality that will instantly shape and reshape the way you communicate. Modu is planned to also have many mates - Modu-enabled consumer electronic devices such as MP3 players, digital cameras or even DECT phones.

At Modu I also had the chance to meet Dov Moran, founder, CEO and chairman of Modu who also invented at his previous company the USB Flash Drive (DiskOnKey) and FlashDisk (DiskOnChip) which was later acquired by SanDisk Corp for US$ 1.6B:

(On the left, Dov Moran, founder, CEO and chairman of Modu)

While Modu is (unfortunately for me) not based on Windows Mobile, it's quite an interesting concept I will follow-up later with a separate and more detailed posting. Nevertheless, long-time Windows Mobile users might remember the jacket concept as well, since the same idea was used by Compaq for its iPAQ-line of Pocket PCs already. Nevertheless, while Compaq never took the jacket concept too serious, Modu will, since it's the main part of the product.

After Modu, we headed over to Fring, a startup which is a mobile Internet service & community that enables users to talk, chat & interact with other fringsters and their online communities, from their mobile phones, including Windows Mobile which is supported as well:

Originating from a vision of freedom, fring was born out of a desire to fundamentally change the way people communicate. The fring founders, veterans of the mobile, Internet and high-tech industries, joined together to create an easy to use, consumer-centric, truly converged peer-to-peer service, enabling its users to take control of their online communications from one single place on their mobile phone, utilizing the handset's inherent internet capabilities to do so.

At Fring, I had the chance to meet Neal Fullman, PR director at Fring and we've spoken about what Fring is today and what's its direction:

(On the right, Neal Fullman, PR director Fring)

Quite interesting and important for me was the fact, that Neil underlined, that Fring is about mobile devices, phones and smartphones only. There is now Fring client available for PCs (and it's neither in development nor planned) but unlike many other VoIP services (while Fring is on the way to be way more), Fring was and is designed for mobile devices, with limited screen sizes and different behaviors to PCs. Again, more to come in a separate posting.

Next was the HANDY Tech 2008 which was held on Wednesday in Tel Aviv. HANDY has been established in 2001 and has organized in 2002 the first Windows Mobile event and brought to Israel former MVP Dale Coffing. At the time, the event brought around 100 people to the store. Following the good tradition to invite passionate geeks to HANDY Tech, I'm proud that HANDY and thankfully invited me this year and it's said that HANDY Tech 2008 has broken the 2000 visitors this year:

Beside the presentations, which took place in Dizengoff Center downtown Tel Aviv, a good amount of high-tech companies were presenting their latest technologies:

In addition to the exhibition, some companies have spoken about the latest developments and my fellow MVP Helio Diamant showed what you can do with Windows Mobiles. I was talking about connected devices and services and in this case about place shift media, the Slingbox and WebGuid4:

Unfortunately, the demo didn't worked as planned since there was no way to got an attach to UMTS or HSDPA anymore (thanks to so many geeks on one place) while in the preparation it was working so good. Therefore I had to use EDGE which slowed down the whole thing. Again, sorry for the trouble it might have caused...

But HSDPA is quite a good topic: Israel has an amazing wireless coverage. Nearly the whole country has HSDPA coverage (and where not, you have at least UMTS or EDGE) and while inbound roaming is quite expensive, thanks to Helio, I was using two data-enabled SIM cards from Cellcom Israel (one with my Xda star/Samsung i600 and one with my HTC Shift/Tablet PC).

Thanks to this connectivity, I was able to work from all over Israel (where I've also visited Jerusalem and some other places), as well as I was able to read my E-Mails on my Samsung i600 while taking a bath in the Dead Sea or on my HTC Shift while I had some spare time on the Tel Aviv beach:

At this point, I want to thank Navit, Ira, Avishay, Helio and Saar for being such great hosts. It was a pleasure to work and spent the time with you. Also I want to thank everybody who joined us at HANDY Tech 2008 and who gave me such a warm welcome. It was a great honor for me to meet so many readers of the::unwired in Tel Aviv.

As I initially said: I'm now on the way to Seattle where we will have next week the annual Microsoft MVP Summit. As always, the MVP Summit is an NDA event and therefore I don't expect that I will be able to share too much news here.

More detailed reports about Modu, Fring and HANDY Tech 2008 are coming soon - stay tuned.

Cheers ~ Arne


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