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THOUGHT: Möbius 2007 Conference Amsterdam, Netherlands [UPDATE]
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 03.12.07 - 12:49:11 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 17727x
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This year's annual Möbius event is over now and I came back late yesterday evening from Amsterdam (where I staid an extra night on my own bill). So how was Möbius 2007? It was great, as every year. Not only because of the presentations we got from Microsoft, HTC, Qualcomm and Forester Research but also because of the discussion we had during these presentations and between the sessions. Möbius isn't a one-way conference where you listen the presenter but the presenter asks for feedback and is giving a topic which the attendees are discussing with each other as well as with the presenter.

This year's list of attendees included a list of online writers, journalists and bloggers from all over the world including:

As always, Day 0 started with an evening come-together where John Starkweather of Microsoft and host of Möbius, again explained what Möbius is about:

Möbius is about a never ending conversation. A group devoted to following and reporting on topics and news related to mobile devices (not Windows Mobile only!) and consumer electronics.

After we had the chance to meet the other conference participants including representatives of Microsoft, HTC, Qualcomm and AstraWare and the evening ended - where else in the Hotel bar.

Day 1 was fully packed with presentations and discussion by:

  • Microsoft, where Jason Landridge from Microsoft UK showed a couple of interesting Windows Mobile software demos as well as passed some of the recently released Windows Mobile devices along. Nothing really new yet and nothing we hadn't seen already.
  • After, Derek Snyder gave us a NDA preview of what you can call (for now) "Windows Mobile Next" (see here for more information). Basically it was an overview what we can expect from next's Windows Mobile version and as I wrote before, it's nothing groundbreaking but the enhancements makes it worth anyway.
  • Paul Jackson from Forrester Research was talking about current and upcoming mobile trends as well as he gave an overview of some interesting figures. But I have to admit that I'm always skeptical about analyst's predictions. Nevertheless, he gave some interesting opinions which are worth to keep in mind for upcoming developments.
  • Steve Horton from Qualcomm gave us some interesting insights about Qualcomm, what Qualcomm's business is and how their chips works with operating systems (like Windows Mobile) and how to cooperate with ODMs (like HTC).
    Even if quite technical, this presentation was definitely interesting to get a better understanding about the chips, used in most Windows Mobile UMTS smartphones.
  • The last presenter was John Wang, Chief Marketing Officer at HTC and the brain behind HTC's TouchFLO technology (which was developed in HTC's Magic Labs - a second R&D arm within HTC which less focuses on technologies like antenna designs but on usability). I met John before already and the way he explained TouchFLO and why TouchFLO is working as it does today is quite interesting. Basically it's reduced to the idea of using a GUI without learning how to use it but using it in a native way a user expects to use it.
    Furthermore, and this was another NDA part of the day, was the showing of some HTC internal only prototypes which explained how TouchFLO was developed as well as how a device design in general is done (in general quite similar to car designs which also starts with renderings, followed by 1:1 models, before the first car hits the street).

The day ended with an Amsterdam Chanel Cruise and a dinner, hosted by HTC, where we had the chance to follow-up what we've heard before.

Day 2 started with an update about the "Möbius Project" which started during last year's Möbius events in Thailand and Boston and I will follow-up with this later.

  • The first presenter was Rafe Blandford (Möbius participant and owner of All About Symbian) who gave us an quite impressive update about the latest Symbian, UIQ and S60 developments in terms of platforms, GUIs, handsets and services. I always like to listen Rafe's experiences since it definitely better helps to understand what mobile devices in general an Symbian/UIQ/S60 in particular offers today and where it does better or worse. At the end it's always a question of taste if you use the one or the other platform but it cannot be something religious at all.
  • Jeff McKean from Microsoft's Windows Live team was the right one to bridge Rafe's previous presentation and the general Windows Mobile focus since he showed a couple of Windows Live services on different mobile devices, including Windows Mobile, Nokia S60 and a standard non-smartphone Samsung mobile phone. Windows Live, including Windows Live Messenger, is available for a broad range of devices and it was interesting to hear Microsoft's opinion about platform compatibility and interoperability.
  • Last but not least we finished the day with a break-out session where four groups had to discuss what we would do if we would be the management of S60, Android, Windows Mobile and Apple in terms of improving the brand, customer perceptions and the OS in general. Was quite an interesting and vital discussion with Jenneth, Nghia, Ryan, Andrew and Jason (we was the Windows Mobile management team).

Day 2 closed with a dinner invitation by Qualcomm where we had another chance to review the past two days with all the Möbius attendees and we had some interesting ongoing discussions on our part of the table where I sat next to Ryan Block, Derek Snyder, Eric Lin, John Starkweather and Steve Horton.

And now the disclosure: Airfare, hotel and conference was covered by Microsoft (including free WiFi access during the sessions). Day 1 dinner was sponsored by HTC and day 2 dinner was sponsored by Qualcomm.
While no carrier took the opportunity to present, Vodafone NL was kind enough to gave each attendee a free data-only enabled USIM card to be used with Vodafone NL's (excellent) HSDPA network. HTC thankfully gave each attendee an HTC Touch Dual 10-keys version and Microsoft gave away a full version of Windows Vista, Office 2007 Ultimate, Mass Effect for Xbox 360. Skooba provided a Shuttle bag, SanDisk provided a 8 GB microSD memory card with miniSD and SD adapter, CoPilot provided CoPilot Live 7, Qualcomm sponsored a 1 GB USB stick and a (paper) notepad and AstraWare sponsored a VIP membership and Soduku Revolution voucher.

Thanks a lot to Microsoft for hosting another Möbius conference as well as thanks to all the speakers and participating companies for taking the time to present their latest views and developments as well as sponsoring this year's Möbius event in Amsterdam.

Cheers ~ Arne

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