uplinq, wipjam and echoecho…

Thanks again are due to Caroline Lewko (@mobilejam) and her WIPJam team (Carlo, Jeb and errm…I think that was it)

I was part of the WIPJam un-panel at UplinQ

Interesting time to note that we have officially decided to change the name of Purpose Wireless (as seen – perhaps for the last time in the banner picture above) to echoecho

It’s been a while coming but we finally put pen to paper last week.

So the panel was quite entertaining – beach balls and all…(from left to right it’s me, Sean Thompson (GOSUB360), Antoine Wright (Mobile Ministry) and Greg Meyer (Aepona).

The most interesting thing for me was comparing the difference in the attendant’s vibe between a Qualcomm sponsored event like Uplinq and the two previous mobile related events I had attended (the two RWW events – west coast and east coast)

Caroline and Carlo did a good job soliciting opinions from the developers (and/or carrier representatives) in the audience – I was astounded to hear developers moan about non-carrier controlled application environments (e.g. Itunes AppStore or Android market) – to the point of saying words to the effect of

“But mommy when I put my application on Verizon’s appstore then people will actually find it – whereas when I put my application on the Itunes AppStore there are hundreds of competitors.”

Oh boo-fucking-hoo. What kind of a defence is that?

You don’t want to put your apps on an open market because of competitors??

WTF??? – What are you – a large brick and mortar store courting AOL to be on its home page…in 1997?

Guess what – one of the big points of the entire conference was for mobile operators to court developers to make more apps for their new (and existing) platforms – so you’d better get used to competition.

What happened to actually making a better product that people wanted to use?

And don’t think the operators get off scot-free here. Oh no. Carriers are starting to remind me more and more of Hollywood film studios who have all the control and all the content…yet can’t see the wood for the trees with regards to new distribution models – almost like they would rather die than change.

Well perhaps die they will – or at least transform (explosively) into a different business.

As for mobile carriers (sorry for the slight sidetrack ;))…I pointed out during the panel (the comment fortunately got me a decent round of applause from the audience) that if they want developers (like us) to develop to their featurephone platforms they can’t simultaneously want to control the distribution (via direct handset install or operator controlled appstore) AND want to charge developers for app submission and testing (often up to $100 per device – and that’s if they accept your app first time!!!).
If they do not relax one of these requirements (yes Verizon/AT&T/Sprint and everybody else) – they are going to lose both of them.

The phone manufacturers will take over the appstores and the carriers will succeed in only one thing – accelerating the process of becoming a dumb pipe.

there you go. My rant is done for tonight.
Oh btw – Kevin from ConnectedPlanet seemed to find at least one aspect of my comment memorable – cool.

Nick Bicanic, CEO of Purpose Wireless, a location-sharing app developer, said that the tide has turned on the operators — rather than developers seeking operators out to find a distribution channel for their apps, operators are now courting developers in an effort to populate their dying app stores with content. If operators like VZW are serious about rejuvenating the feature phone category and re-establishing their themselves as application providers, then they need to fund the creation of BREW themselves, paying for all certification and testing costs, Bicanic said.


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