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Roundup of the first Mobile Breakfast Series event September 29, 2009

Posted by chetan in : 3G, 4G, AORTA, ARPU, Carriers, Enterprise Mobility, European Wireless Market, Japan Wireless Market, Location Based Services, M&A, MVNO, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Content, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Search, Mobile TV, Mobile Users, Privacy, Speech Recognition, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , trackback

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The views from the venue are stunning both at the crack of dawn and as the sun lit the valley

The first Mobile Breakfast Series Event was held at the beautiful Newcastle Golf Club on Sept 22nd with our elite panelists - Marianne Marck - SVP, BlueNile, Michael Mace, Principal, Rubicon Consulting, Mike Woodward, VP, AT&T, and Jim Hudak, VP & GM, INQMobile. Before I get into what was discussed, would like to thanks the founding sponsors - Openwave, Motricity, and Clearwire who stepped in right away to make the Mobile Breakfast Series possible. Also, Jeff Giard and Brendan Benzing helped shape the event along the way. Finally, thanks to the extended pacific northwest mobile community for such a tremendous response. Hope you guys keep coming back for more.

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The diversity and the experience on the panel was apparent. Mike Woodward has a long history with ATT and has been managing the broad device portfolio for the company. Michael Mace with Rubicon worked with Palm and Apple and is a veteran of the mobile industry cycles, Marianne Marck with BlueNile has seen the growth of mobile digital content like few have and brought in the perspective from the developer and content provider point of view. Finally, Jim Hudak has worked in a wide variety of roles and is now with INQMobile which won the best handset award in Barcelona. This gave us a good forum to explore the various aspects of our evolving industry (Moconews coverage here).

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The salient points of the 90 minute discussions were:

· The panel thought the big opportunities are in:

o Specialized devices, though there is little VC investment in the area, there is an opportunity to build something unique by verticals or segments

o Network Optimization and Management, given the tremendous growth in mobile data usage, more technologies are needed to effectively manage the growth

o Besides voice and data, location based services represent the biggest opportunity in mobile

o Empower Impulse buys, embed technology to make it simple for users to buy

o Taking advantage of the mobile browser economy. Companies like Skyfire are expanding the capabilities of the browser that enables better application reach and penetration

· ATT has experienced 5000% growth in mobile data usage in the last 12 quarters. And it is good for business but the future growth needs to be more effectively managed.

· Mobile data is clearly taking off but are there limits to this growth? Will everyone pay $50/month extra? It is probably not for everyone.

· LTE brings down cost of delivering the bits. If EDGE costs $1 to deliver one MB, then HSPA costs 13c and LTE is around 3c. There is significant motivation to move towards LTE.

· While the total number of apps downloaded have exceeded 2B, it is not clear if there are new companies emerging out of the app economy. Developers are still struggling to make ends meet and if we don’t cultivate the ecosystem, very few will be left at the end of the day

· For developers, browser provides the broadest reach but for some apps the richness of the feature/functionality is only available in client apps. Over the long run, browser platform is preferable and is likely to win out.

· Carrier billing is essential for the app economy to survive. Not everyone has iTunes interface for their appstores.

· Femtocells/WiFi play an important role in offloading traffic and providing consumers with better bandwidth and coverage options.

· 75% of ATT’s devices are converged devices. Significant uptick in the last few quarters. Data consumption has been growing as a result. ATT is investing $18B or so in upgrading the network as well.

· Mobile OS becomes less relevant over time.

· Cloud Computing is important for mobile to help with network management, storage, and user experience.

· Microsoft was a freakish event in history, something similar is not going to happen in the mobile space and the fragmentation is not going to go away any time soon.

· Developers like to get access to UI APIs that give them more control over the user experience. Access to location

· Mobile advertising promising but not there yet. Metrics and standards issues need to be worked out.

· TV is a passive experience, Online is less passive, and Mobile is interactive experience. We should be designing apps and services keeping that in mind.

· Handset has become a software business. Companies not having a concrete s/w strategy will be exposed

· We live in interesting times

If you liked the first event, you would love the next one.

The topic is Mobile Broadband and we are getting some of the top notch experts to discuss the very important evolution of the global mobile broadband markets. Date: Dec 4th.

Our good friend Om Malik has kindly consented to moderate the event. Current confirmed panelists are Scott Richardson, former Chief Strategy Officer and now Strategic Advisor at Clearwire and Ken Denman, CEO of Openwave. More panelists to be confirmed in the coming days. Registration is open at http://mobilebreakfastseries.com/

Finally, we would love to hear your feedback. Please help us shape the event and make it your own. How can we make it better? What topics would you like to see discussed? Which speakers would like to hear from? What venues work best for you, etc? Answers will help shape the future events so every bit of feedback is much appreciated. If you could please take a short survey and let us know what you thought of the event as well any guidance on future events, that will be great.

Thanks and see you on Dec 4th.

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