OpenMIC #4 - Mobile Innovation Camp

I’m now a barcamper!

Today I went with Nick to our first OpenMIC BarCamp event.

I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience. Even though I am currently only a hobbyist and playing with the idea of mobile app development, it was great to hear from people in the know about new technologies and problems that are facing the industry.

Giles Turnbull - Tech writer gave us a brief introduction with his experiences of journalism and the take up of mobile content (or lack of). His notes can be found here. Richard Spence of Bluetrail opened up my narrow minded “iPhone and Android” world with Blackberry and Nokia having their own App stores as well - and development tools to match. He reminded me that Apple haven’t run away with the market completely, but have given, as he put it “a kick up the jacksie” to the competition.

The final presentation was given by Bruce Lawson from Opera and it included some user experience tips and tricks when it comes to writing websites with mobile browsing in mind. Slides are available here, thanks Bruce! During his talk, Bruce also announced OMOD - Opera Mobile on the Desktop. This isn’t a simulator, it’s the actual Opera Mobile application, running on your desktop. Cool!

Just before lunch, there was a panel Q&A session which was opened up to the audience with questions aimed at Bruce and people from Intohand (who are based at the Innovation Centre). This obviously had to include the required discussion about the Apple iPad. What will you use it for? E-book reading? While travelling? To replace your netbook? Or just for your wife to do the Tesco shopping from the comfort of the sofa?

After a lovely lunch at the Hong Kong Bistro around the corner from the refurnished Bath Innovation Centre, we broke off into BarCamp sessions. The first I chose was “How to make money in the app market” where people shared their experiences of releasgin Lite/Pro versions of their apps compared to ad-supported business models and where we thought that app stores need to develop. For the second session, I chose “Mobile Web Design (w3 standards)”. On a personal level, I wanted to see what I could pick up about converting a Magento site theme into a theme ready for mobiles.

This “un-conference” was also a brilliant chance to meet Laura Kalbag face-to-face. I got in touch with Laura to try and get her to re-design, and this should all be going ahead in March. She was really friendly and down to earth and can’t wait to be working with her over the coming months.

I’d like to thank Chris Book for organising such a fantastic event.

It would be rude not to mention Digital Communications Knowledge Transfer Network who sponsored the event. Thanks!

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