London – Day 6 – Future of Mobile

Future of Mobile 2007
Exterior of the IMAX Theatre Gareth Rushgrove and Chris Mills Daniel Appelquist of Vodafone Dave Burke of Google Mobile At the Pub after Future of Mobile Barbara Ballard and Kai Hendry Brian Fling talking to various folk
Photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N95 on Wed. 11/14/07 at the Future of Mobile.

Wed. Nov. 14, 2007 – Future of Mobile – BFI IMAX Theatre
Carson Systems / Carsonified put on the Future of Mobile today at the BFI IMAX theatre next to Waterloo station. Per my usual, here are my typed notes from the conference. Due to the theatre-style seats, lights directly in face, and IMAX screen, the likelihood that I will be able to type an accurate translation is very low. After the first break, I moved seats. Photos to come.
9:10 am – Tony Price – Keynote
AMF Ventures
Mr. Price talks very fast. Some of what he is saying is very good, but so fast, it is not sinking it. Some of what he is saying is cheesy. Cut out the cheese, slow down, and this would be a good talk.
“Who will I trust with my digital footprint?”
Tony states that the screen is not the thing, sound and uniqueness is the thing with mobile.

9:35am – Lucca Passani, Ad Mob
Creator of WURFL
One Look at Today’s Mobile Wed
*companies are trying to monetize before mobile browsing is an established consumer reality.
*From a usability view-point, support for Internet-related features is obviousl an “afterthought” in most mobile devices on the market
*Device Fragmentation: can’t find a device like the other!
* Also the result of technology innovation and evolution
* Drive to differentiate to make money.
*It’s a jungle
Stop VodafoneUK and Novarra!
*VodafoneUK has transitioned all of its subscribers to the Novarra reformatting proxy, hiding User Agent.
*Content providers can’t figure out what device has come to visit
Standards in Mobile: OMA and W3C
*OMA did a decent attempt to address device fragmentation by introducting UAProf – varying levels of support from OEM’s, Not always rich enough in terms of actual capabilities, Actual exploiting of UAProf left as an exercise.
*W3C answer to device fragmentation is One Web – That is denying that the problem is there in the first place!
*Neither OMA nor W3C, in fact no large org, has had the guts to tell VodafoneUK to stop messing with the HTTP protocol.
*Who will safeguard the mobile environment?
*Those who should are not doing that.
(Lucca is funny)
Mobile Developers and the WURFL Community
*WURFL – Wireless Universal Resource File
*Device Description Repository – Public Open Open Source
*WALL – Wireless Abstraction Library – Serving Different Mark-ups to different devicies in one easy step with on $5 a month hosting.
*Vibrant community of at least 3000 developers – probably many mroe
*Continuous Scrutiny of the Gory Details of Mobile Development – New Devices, new technologies, operator configuration changes
*Drive behind WURFL is not monetization – all members own or work for companies, but the spirit is to share…
From Current WALL…
(Lucca shows XML code) – 2004
… to WALL Next Generation
*based on concept of “validated” components, forward looking
*New categorization of mark-up family – XHTML-advanced, XHTML-simple, WML
*XHTML support_level WURFL capability
*Supports graphics multiserving
*Relies on Object Model
*CSS Focus
*Initially Java
*Integrates with JSTL for Powerful Conditional Programming
Amusingly, first questioner is from the W3C working group and he calls Lucca out on being angry and a load of rubbish. Lucca comes back. This is good – Mr. W3C is a diplomat and Lucca is a ball of energy.
11 am – Andrea Trasatti, dot Mobi
*Internet made mobile – Content and services are created to wrk on mobile devices
*Help mobile services to grow – For every computer sold, 4 mobile devices are sold.
* Help “mobile web” growth
dot mobi is active in W3c, and Mobile Web Initiative
* Best Practices working group – specifies best practices for web content when accessed from mobile devices
* MobileOK – defines machine tests based on the best practices to help identify web content developed with mobile devices in mind
* Core Vocabulary –
W3C Recommendation describing 60 Best practices, such as:
Exploit device capabilities to provide an enhanced user experience
Take resasonable steps to work around deficient implementations
Carry out testing on actual devices as well as emulators
Provide consistent navigation mechanisms
Do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window without informing the user
Keep the number of externally linked resources to a minimum
mobileOk basic Tests 1.0
* W3C mobile web best practices checker (Beta)
* T.A.W.
Core Vocabulary
Core properties to create or adapt a mobile web site
*Screen Size – width and height in pixel
*Markup – XHTML Basic 1.0, XHTML-MP, etc
*Image Formats – png, jpg, gif, etc
*Style Sheets – CSS 1.0, WCSS 1.0, CSS 2.1
Standard API to access device descriptions
*Identify a device
*Get a property value
*Extended functionalities such as device groups
The Truth about Standards
*Creating a standard is a HARD job
*Standards should provide direction, tools help build applications
*Standards should provide interoperability, fragmentation is not good for anyone,, device database
The territory dust up between Lucca Passani’s position and W3C position continues in the most diplomatic way by Andrea Trasatti. Ha! Our row of sitters think that we need either hot oil wrestling or Mexican Lucha wrestling between Lucca, Andrea, and Joe from the W3C to solve the Future of Mobile territory issue! Or even better a mash up between Future of Mobile with Lucha VaVoom. This would be very good.
11:35 pm – Panel with three presenters
Steven Page of Mobile Commerce – mobile search
Prashant Agarwal of – Will content be king on Mobile? It is king.
Mobile Internet stars aligning
*Market timing is excellent with a number of waves
*Mobile Internet usage growing rapidly
*Users accessing news and information via browser in their mobile phone – us 11% of total, uk 14% of total
*Network operators provide affordable / flat rate data tariffs
*Faster networks, twie as many 3G users browse for information
*content proliferating
*growth in RSS & microformats
*Platforms maturing
*Monetisation happening early
Mobizines to Mippin
Takeaways: Design matters, applications are great but hard for users to get, you need to give people choices – people expect infinite choice.
Mippin is browser based – mental model of the user – they understand a url, it is hard to download and install a mobile app.
Experience still maturing – what are the options
*Transcoders (Novarra, etc)
*RSS readers
*Service providers
Design for mobile context:
*Clutter free
*It is about the conten
Don’t design to lowest commonest denominator
Design to Devices – meet the user’s expectations of what the device can do (!!!!)
Prashant is the best speaker of the day so far, would like to have seen him speak more than 10 minutes.
Guillaume Peersman of Dialogue – PayforIt
payForIt – started work on WAP billing 2 years ago, significant investment so far circa 200k pounds, fully accredited and tested on all UK operators
1pm Daniel Appelquist of Vodavone
Beyond WAP: Mobile AJAX, SVG and the Future of the Web
“I am not here today to defend the indefensible, I am here to talk about the future.”
What is Vodafone doing in teh Web?
* Participant in W3C (2003)
*Investor in dotMobi (2004)
*Founding sponspor of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative (2005)
*Active Memober of the Open Mobile Alliance – Pushing forward XHTML Reunification (happening Now) – important to defragment Mobile Web Standards
*Convened “Mobile AJAX Summit” meeting at 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona
In 5 years time, will the majority of web usage be from mobile devices?
Yes, I believe that is the case. There will be one web, the mobile web. We won’t think of the question of mobile vs pc, we are moving to a converged spaces. There is a huge culture clash between the mobile vs web, and one between the orthodoxy of mobile web and mobile content – operator services vs. open choice. In this culture clash, it is understandable that there are speed bumps along the way.
Why is mobile different?
*Limitations – small memory footprint, lower cpu speeds, small screen, not always connected
*Unique Device features
Mobile phones and other mobile connected devices are personal communication and information tools.
W3C mobile web initiative
Mobile web best practices working group
Design for one web
rely on web standards
stay away from know hazards
be cautious of device limitations
optimize navigation
check graphics and colors
keep it small
use the network sparingly
help & guide use input
think of users on the go
Thematic consistency: Ensure that content provided by accessing a URI yields a thematically coherent experience when accessed from different devices.
ex: see the same news story in a different context
Valid markup: Create documents that validate to published formal grammars.
Style sheets use: use style sheets to control layout and presentation, unless the devices is known no to support them.
Cookies: do not rely on cookies being available
Objects or script: do not rely on embedded objects or script.
MobileOK launched today on the W3C website.
What about mobile web applications?
*Applications written using web technologies – The AJAX platform, Key “Web 2.0” plank, Desktop bound
*What is different about AJAX on Mobile? – see device limitations and capabilities, most AJAX libraries and toolkits don’t work on the mobile web due to huge downloads (Dojo has scaled a small one)
*AJAX applications will replace a class of application currently written in Java or natively
*Reduce time
Two Mobile AJAX applications
*Soonr – allows you to access your desktop from your phone
*Facebook – written specifically for iPhone
“I have been using the iPhone lately, don’t tell my boss” – Daniel A.
Where is more work needed?
*Current AJAX toolkits don’t lend themselves to use in current mobile browsers – getting apps to work across browsers is a porting exercise
*Access to device features (camera, etc) – New APIs? The DOM?
*Privacy / security issues – code signing?
*CPU / Battery – Javascript optimization?
*Network – Offline storage, mobile devices are not always connected
*Developer guidelines – W3C needs input from developers
SVG Advances
*SVG 1.1 is deployed in Firefox, Opera, and Safari browsers
*The Introduction of the uDOM
Keys to AJAX in SVG Tiny 1.2
Bundesliga – mobile device portal for football using SVG Tiny 1.2
The Future
*SVG based application experiences like bundesliga become funny linegrated into the browser context
*Rich media experiences become as common on the mobile web as they are on the “fixed” web.
WICD – Web Integration Compound Document
Integration between SVG, XHTML, AJAX
The WEb is evolving towards mobile.
Vodafone betavine – – opening up the dialogue
1:30 pm – Charles McCathieNeville – Opera
Mobile Browsers: the future
Where is the Web?
In your hand – esp. Japan and developing countries
In your office – the “traditional” web isn’t going away
In the living room (and home theatre) – DTV, games systems, slides, …
Mobile means – you fancy smart phone and a cheap basic phone
But it is also:
The information kiosk, my girlfriend’s house in Marana, the web in your car, or wherever else you go
Why mobile?
A lot of people carry a phone, it is a relatively cheap device, reliable, multi-use device
Most phones run real browsers – Opera mini does more with less, Firefox needs powerful devices, HTC/iPhone/N95/etc are nice… but cheap?
PDAs are turning into phones and vice versa.
Not just phones
The phone is a platform
Screens are growing. but my hand isn’t (Jen says: many phones are too big for my hands)
I can work efficiently at a desk
I want to do things with friends or family
more web enabled devices available
Phones drive innovation, they are one of the platforms
The Web as a platform
Why develop on the web
Widespread adaptable technology
Easier development for portability
Still developing power and ease of use – AJAX, SVG, ES4, Widgets, WebFroms2…
Search, discovery, re-use
Develop using the web standards you know!
Mobile Web Applications
People want their data and services – but still need security
Context depends on what I want
People move from device to device – so should their data
Deliver to phones… but not just to phones
Portability relies on Standards
Put existing content on new platforms
Make applications for new devices
Ensure a variety of tools and platforms – the market for the iPhone and the Wii are very small
A solid base to support innovation
More metadata from more sources
Standards is not about inventing technology – is is about making it work better
Standards gives you a base to build on
Some new stuff for mobile:
Web APIs – drag/drop on a phone is kind of odd, XHR, etc
ECMAScript 4 – real programming
SVG (Sexy Visual GUIs?)
Video (oh, the patent thing)
Widgets – web applications (hype! 2007 was supposed to be the year of the widget)
Device APIs (keep users secure!) – your phone holds a lot of personal data
One Web, or adaptation?
The answer is yes… but you might want to adapt it for mobile
Simplicity : @media handheld
Media queries? (ala iPhone/S60)
Free stuff (WURFL/WALL)
High-end services?
It depends on your use case
Short list of take home things
*Open Standards help developers
*Adaptability => Good Design
*Label content (tagging is a start)
*Diversity is increasing – fundamentally you will have more platforms, devices, browsers, etc
*But there is only one web
Better standards support is important
2pm Brian Fling – How the iPhone will change the mobile space
“Because we couldn’t get someone from Apple, you have me” – Brian Fling
Web 2.0 – a funny term.
The Blue Flavor office has a banned jargon bucket – you owe a $1 every time you use a banned word – Web 2.0 is the first word on the list
Web 1.0 Web 2.0
Proprietary Standards
Walled Gardens Web Services
First to market Web as a platform to connect people
Brand-Centered User Centered
Jargon alert: Mobile 2.0
The convergence of mobile services and web services. The promise of Mobile 2.0 is to add portability, ubiquitous…
10 things I learned at Mobile 2.0
1. Mobile 2.0 = The Web
2. The mobile web browser is the next killer app
3. Mobile web applications are the future
4. AJAX is the next frontier
5. Javascript kills battery life
6. The mobile user experience sucks
7. Mobile widget were the next big thing back in late 2005 (hasn’t happened)
8. The Carrier is the new “C” word
9. People abuse the podium (this one I will skip)
10. We are creators not consumers (the big shift in the mobile medium)
Save comparisons between Web 1.0 to 2.0, can be applied to the mobile space.
But can it actually happen?
Brian shows a video of Jason Devitt testifying in front of Congress – “I am mad as hell that I have to ask for permission to innovate.” Mr. Devitt is very bristly (was he a porcupine or hedgehog in another life?). [Best video I have seen in a while]
The iPhone – a shift away from the old model.
Brian makes a confession, “I am a HUGE Apple fan.”
From many perspectives the iPhone is not revolutionary. But it is creating a revolution nonetheless.
The iPhone is shifting perceptions of what mobile technology can do.
China, the US, and India make up 1/3 of the worldwide mobile market – many of these folks see the device as just a phone.
In the UK folks love sms, but they don’t rely on the mobile web.
An important shift needs to happen.
375,000 iPhones are being sold per month.
The iPhone is the first mobile device to be worthy of being labeled “Mobile 2.0” device. The impact of the iPhone is just going to sell better phones for other manufacturers.
iPhone Uniqueness
1. Smart phone for the masses
2. Flat rate data
3. Device sold and supported outside the carrier (Jen refutes: not true, Nokia is selling N95s separately in the US)
4. No Subsidization
5. Updateable Software (jen refutes: Nokia provides this)
6. Location awareness
7. Bandwidth expectations
8. Portable device convergence
9. Web & Mobile Standards
10. Impact on web communities – has gotten the web community excited about mobile
Leaflets : iPhone apps that grow on you – made by the folks at Blue Flavor
A Successful Experment
Being backwards compatible – @media handheld
3pm Google boy (Dave Burke) talking about Android
(Mr. Burke is frighteningly good looking… who knew… More conferences should have such male geek hot toddies speaking.)
He is going through his slides fast…
Handset Alliance:
Currently software is a growing % of device cost.
Why is Google doing this?
Promote openess in an industry that has historically been seen as closed.
Create large, loyal developer community.
Android Platform:
Phone design objectives
Multiple processes
phone application must always be responsive
Wayward applications can’t crash phone
Google Experience
phone stack will include google apps
complete two-way sync for user data
Open APIs to export application functionality
Open Architecture
(showing graphs of software stack – will not try to reproduce)
OHA/Android Status:
* platform development is continuing
* OHA announced Nov. 5th
* SDK released Nov. 12th
* Phone to be released next year.
SDK Demo
3:30pm Simon Rockman – How Devices will Evolve
Sony Ericcson
2012 – what will mobile be like?
In the last 5 years we have seen color come in, WAP come and go, and the beginning of texting trend.
Ericsson T86 – Pitching when consumers were ready for something at the right time.
Time from first introduction of a feature in a device to widespread adoption: 3-5 years
Hard thing about predicting the future: predicting what will fail
I don’t think UMA will succeed, because people have pigeon holed phone different from home. What do people want? Cheaper phone calls.
Nokia 5100 – huge success in India because it has a torch/flashlight
Motorola – has been a disappointment in sales because it does not have a torch/flashlight
Big trend: fashion
Nokia struggled with 3G early on. Christmas 2005 Nokia did 3G right but didn’t sell well, but Motorola sold a 1.5 million pink Razrs that season.
Fashion can be difficult and a manufacturer can make a real mess of it (a funny slide of really bad phones)
More devices – Tomtom just announced a GPS device with a sim chip.
The real trend: Building phones/devices that does what people want it to do. 60% of qwerty Blackberry owners have a separate phone for calls.
(Ms. Jen says give me a 10-8 megapixel camera with telescoping lens, photo editing software, internet connection, wifi, bluetooth, GPS that automatically embeds geo-tags into EXIF data, a phone, and I will be happy.)
4pm Julie Strawson – Mobile Typography
Monotype Imaging
“Let’s get our minds into thinking about text” – Julie then shows slides of typeand then images with no type where there should be, and company logos all in courier.
Getting mobile type right or textual healing
really it needn’t be this way.
Has your text got style?
Bring mobile alive with scalable fonts
Adding design to words make them much more powerful, that is where typography comes in.
Beautiful – Do we have to live in a world of device fonts? No, we don’t.
The mobile world
* Our font choices… normal, bold and large
are they friendly exotic romantic?
* We have normal italic, bold italic & large italic
* Imagine if we could move the desktop world into the mobile world.
(Jen asks: Practical mobile typography or a shill for Monotype Imaging?)
Text performance when…
– it overcomes barriers in language or technology
– It makes products more useful
Displaying scalable fonts on mobile
* Significant challenges, as TrueType was developed to print type from a computer
* mobile range of deviced – legibility and consistency across displays
* text layout (height restriction)
* memory footprint
* clear display of east asian characters
Need to establish international standards
We need to:
* ensure clarity and readability at any size
* broaden choice of typefaces
* reflect brands through fonts
* serve global markets
A closer look: scalability
* bitmaps not required
* one font per typeface design
On-screen text fidelity
* characters need to fit in a defined space
* not all true type fonts work well in mobile
* East Asian text needs to remain clear
* at small sizes, intricate shapes can blue
Complex scripts are unique (arabic and indic)
* Input differs from output display
Monotype Imaging’s ESQ Mobile Fonts
A collection of optimized of fonts for mobile
Demo time…
More notes to come, as computer ran out of batteries at this point and I moved to pen and paper.

2 thoughts on “London – Day 6 – Future of Mobile

  1. I agree some good old wrestling match would have made the day way more fun, unfortunately we did not have a place to fight! 🙁
    I agree that in reality what will most likely happen is a mash up, at the end of the day we all think we can do better than the guy sitting next to us, don’t we? Standards are the solid basement where you want to build, but from there, creativity is the only limit.

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