Transmission #3: ‘Device & Conquer: Tales from the front-line of mobile innovation’

A Thursday night out? Drinking? …Again?

But wait, you were out on Monday night too… what gives, Smith?

Ok, I will come clean. Monday’s drinking was less about the drinking (hah!) and more about talking with Chris Mills and Patrick Lauke about presenting, presentation material and subjects around validation and general geekiness. We did not at one point mention any rumour or conjecture about the iPad, which I feel is very important to mention. Leffe and Hoegaarden were order of the evening!

However the Transmission 3 (#tx3) event was different. It was all about the mobile web, the pleasure and the pain of being in this field. There were 3 speaking slots, starting with Chris Mills from Opera giving an overview of mobile to date. Peter-Paul Koch of Quirksmode whose done a ridiculous amount of research on the state of mobile browsing. Finally, two likely lads from down south, Polls and Mills from usTwo, would look at the world of iPhone app dev.

Transmission 3Developing for Mobile Platforms – The pleasure and the pain (ker-tsscchhhhh!)
The talks kicked off with a good overview of mobile history from Chris Mills, the beginnings of mobile browsing, the reasons why it’s prevailant and reasons why it’s a current fave for marketing folks. Good content from Chris, like WAP, earliest networks and general do’s and dont’s about developing for mobile platforms. Interesting to be reminded how far we’ve come with mobile browsing in a short space of time.

PPK on the state of mobile browsers
The amount of time PPK has put into testing mobile browsers is insane. He’s tested, prodded, poked and broke pretty much every flavour on every device. A very interesting sentence from PPK was something along the lines of “on the mobile web, IE does not matter”. IE on mobile is so utterly shit, everyone who has it instantly goes and gets something like Opera Mobile.

The mobile browser usual suspects usually fall into one of two camps, Opera or WebKit. However, that’s not quite as simple as that sounds, there’s about 10 flavours of WebKit browsers, running various Javascript engines, with different switches set at compile time. Still, 95% of what you do in a browser will work on all WebKit devices.

PPK also got quite excited about Widgets and their future potential. Supported by Opera, a widget is a collection of HTML, images, CSS and JS, which is zipped and the extension changed to .wgt. His main gripe is that at the moment wdigets are not allowed device level access, to things like GPS, address book etc, as it’s a massive security concern, but if this can be solved, it’ll be quite the revelation, apparently.

usTwo and a story of iPhone how not-to’s
Polls and Mills were the only iPhone specific talkers of the night, and they had some stories to tell! Completely self-depreciating, the lads put a very funny spin on all the things the did in terms of marketing that would do amazing things like generate sales of… 150 apps.

They build the apps out of pure love, as they don’t spin much money, but as a marketing tool, they get their name out and in the press and chip chip chip away at the media. The apps are cool toys to show current and prospective clients, and open the door to branding and promotional opportunities.

They openly admitted they from a design background, and didn’t talk technical, but their approach to everything was very funny, beating themselves up, but with the underlying current of “yeah, but we’ve learnt loads in the process”.

Comedy moment, when they were talking about their Ben10 MouthOff app, I had bought it a week earlier while sat on the couch on a saturday morning with my son. I fired the app up and had it ready when they asked if anyone had seen it, it was only right to respond with the MouthOff app over my mouth!

Conclusion
All in all, tx3 was great. Very insightful, very inspiring and an area that we as JP74 are actively getting into, very important. More of this please, Digital Sparks!