The countdown to MobileBeat2008 continues.
Today we’re adding nine companies to the list of nominees for best mobile company. They’ve been selected by an internal VentureBeat panel of experts that evaluated dozens of write-in candidates over the past couple of weeks. Our panel has kept the standards high, selecting only those startups that really have bold ideas and a chance to build a significant business.
Meantime, readers can continue voting, and we’ll give special consideration to these late additions when tallying the results. We’re busy catching up, and we’ll be adding the newcomers to the voting list by the end of today.
Notably, one area in which the panel found itself divided was mobile VoIP. Panel members had a difficult time understanding how any of these mobile VoIP can really hit it big as businesses when there are so many players, prices continue to head toward zero, and technology is getting commoditized. Mobile VoIP is a useful service, but there’s no evidence there’s a breakout winner in this category. And in the end, the panel ruled out several players submitted from this area. It was torn on Fring, in particular, which appears to be quick to innovate (it was fast to produce a version for the iPhone) and has a solid team and so would otherwise deserve to be on the list. Another company, Eqo, is interesting too. Let’s hope they can prove the panel wrong and turn into break-out successes.
Again, the top 30 winners of the voting process — voting will continue at least through next week — will be invited to participate in the MobileBeat conference July 24, and the top ten will be invited to pitch directly to the entire audience. We have some great speakers lined up — from Rich Miner, of Google’s Android project, to Matt Murphy, of the iFund.