Ok, part two of our round-up from last week’s Mobile World Congress. First off, I thought “The Social Phone” had a good show. By this I mean there was quite a bit of activity around new phone models that support or enhance social networking, about mobile social networking, and general continued buzz on that “space” as the analysts like to say.
In the run-up to the show, we had some great stats emerge, like the fact that Facebook has 25 million mobile users per month now, up from 5 million at the start of 2008. MySpace is at 20 million a month. And Bebo? Well – it’s hard to tell as numbers seem to be thin on the ground. Given the growth rates however, it’s small wonder then that there’s buzz around trying to create a “joined up” experience for people accessing their favourite social sites from the phones. Motorola has openly declared that their new Android phones will have quite an emphasis on “social”, and witness also the success of apps like the Facebook app on the iPhone. While the iPhone as such, hasn’t gone hell for leather for social features built-in, look at the rang of apps that populate the store.
You get the idea – phones are of course a brilliant tool with which to update and review your social network activity, because of their characteristics: they’re with you when you’re out and about, being social, they let you capture audio, video, text “at the point of inspiration” – when you have an idea, a thought, a feeling or just see, hear or notice something that you want to share with your mates. Increasingly, apart from vertical social networks, the idea of one without a strong mobile component, or even a mobile “centre of gravity” will seem odd.
Anyway – in to this fray steps the INQ1, winner of the Phone of the Show award at MWC09.
I have to say I think this was a well-deserved award. INQ1 have tried very hard to really stitch social networking, and especially Facebook, right in to the DNA of the INQ1. They’ve tried to help figure out things like connecting your address book (on the phone) to your contacts (in your social networks). And they’ve made a great start. It’s not perfect, but then few things are in this very-quickly changing area, and they are to be congratulated for what they’ve got right. Such as? Such as:
- Yes – you can pull your contacts in to the address book – right from Facebook
- Your address book as a result “comes alive”. So first, you don’t have to set photos for your contacts (duh, as Martin Geddes pointed out a long time ago) – those photos are pulled from profile pics on Facebook. Nice. In addition, you can see latest status updates from your contacts right in the address book, one of the places that it’s really useful (“um, better not call John, seems he’s in Oz and it’s 3am there….”)
- Push updates on Facebook activity. Tricky to strike the balance here between “shut that goddamn phone up” and “why does no one update” – but I think they’ve done a nice job. It beeps with “stuff” you might want to know about every so often.
And there’s more – you get the idea. Suffice to say though, I think the devil is in the detail. There’s lots of small things about the way the INQ1 does its business that takes a while to appreciate. They team show that they “get it” and may have actually used a social network site in anger at some point, as opposed to some implementations we can think of. Award well deserved imho. And yes, I plan to try and do a full, detailed review of the INQ1 in a future post.
Back to the show. We were exhibiting on the Enteprise Ireland Stand at the show. They threw a party on-stand on Tuesday evening – and it was MOBBED!!!
Seriously. Hundreds turned up to sup Guinness and mingle and munch canapes. And then we headed to the Irish Bar where the real trouble began 🙂 A very well-organised event, and kudos yet again to Enterprise Ireland, who consistently outclass other Country Pavilions at these events and punch way above their weight.
Speaking of countries – there’s been some good chatter on the MoMo London newsgroup after MWC with a good debate about whether MWC09 was good (or indeed, whether it’s ever good!). It was kicked off by this blog post. And then the group has dived in either echoing these comments or in defense. Mostly in defence so far it has to be said. My favourite bits:
It doesn’t matter how good your new handset is; the CBoss dancing girls in Hall1 are still the most photographed feature of MWC.
A dry ham baguette is not lunch.
Ouch! More to follow….