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We’ve added some more speakers at our MobileBeat 2009 conference on July 16.
Christy Wyatt, vice president of software applications and ecosystem at Motorola, is among the executives trying to turn around the company’s mobile phone division — in part by placing some bets on smartphones. The company’s phone division is deep in the red, but Motorola has a history of making amazing comebacks, including when it launched the Razr phone years ago. By capitalizing on Google’s Android platform, the company is now trying to avoid being overrun by the Apple iPhone and other competitors.
Motorola is expected to launch two Android phones on the AT&T network this year, both with full keyboards and slider designs. According to reports, one, called the “Sawgrass,” will include integrated blogging features and threaded text-messaging conversations, while the second, Heron, planned for Nov. 2, will have a 2.8-inch touchscreen, and advanced social networking and location-based services.
Wyatt, who has worked in the mobile industry for more than ten years, is also on the board of the LIMO foundation, the group that offers an open source Linux software for mobile phones, and which is preparing a new release later this year that boasts improved multimedia and application developer standards.
Wyatt will be a panelist on our panel “The Battle for the Mobile Ecosystem” at 9:15 am on July 16, which will assess who are the winners and losers of the latest mobile developments. Two years ago, the U.S. was a laughing stock when it came to mobile innovation, and its networks are still outdated. But since then, the locus of mobile innovation has shifted to the US and, specifically, Silicon Valley — with Apple, Google and Palm, and thousands of developers leading the way.
One underlying theme of MobileBeat 2009 will be the continued “ecosystem battle” for developers, where leading device makers and carriers are eagerly fighting to be the most attractive. Having the best developers on your platform ensures popularity among subscribers and positively affects the businesses of the players in that part of the ecosystem. With Palm launching with a sexy phone, for example, the main damper on enthusiasm among consumers is likely to be the lack of applications it offers. (Wyatt, it should be noted, was previously director of developer relations at Apple and senior director of OS licensing at Palm).
What is the cost of this battle for some of the incumbents? Who will be the biggest, most compelling players in the fragmented market? This panel will look for answers to these questions from the perspective of operators, new device makers, mobile internet companies, developers and other infrastructure players.
Another speaker will be Michael Rayfield (left), general manager of the mobile business unit at graphics chip maker Nvidia. He is responsible for helping Nvidia break into the mobile business at a time when the company is in a fierce war with Intel on the PC. Intel isn’t fulling around, having just acquired WindRiver for $884 million, in an effort to go big in mobile.
Nvidia isn’t sitting back: It’s on a mission to prove its chip technology can be cheaper and more powerful than Intel’s. Rayfield runs the division that launched the Tegra processor for cell phones, mobile Internet devices and other mobile gadgets. Rayfield’s job is to attack the cell phone business, where there are a bunch of other entrenched competitors too, such as Texas Instruments and Qualcomm. Tegra-based smartphones and devices running Windows Mobile are expected to debut later this year. That will give Rayfield plenty to talk about on our panel on the latest in mobile chip technology.
That panel is entitled “New technology: Chips and new platform infrastructure create new opportunity!”
New technology is the lifeblood of economic opportunity. Moore’s Law governing semiconductors, for example, has spawned huge advances in computing, the Web, and now in mobile. The latest generation of specialized chips are being exploited by manufacturers to create a host of new features that could catch on big. Already, Apple offers cool features in the iPhone such as the shake control system by adding a simple $2 accelerometer chip. In the future, new chips could add the ability to receive calls and data on a worldwide basis. They will lead to more sophisticated, interactive displays, multi-function radios. Finally, shrinking the existing chips into smaller devices will cut costs and generate still new form factors. The competition is fierce because the traditional cell phone chip makers are now clashing with the PC computer chips, as both they meet each other in the middle. Leaders from all these constituents talk about these future developments — what it means for the chip industry, but also what it means for cellphone users.
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