The countdown to the MobileBeat2008 conference continues.
Today we’re adding seven more companies to the list of nominees for best mobile company, or the one with the biggest, baddest idea and that has a decent chance at being a business hit. The top 30 winners will be shortly and invited to the conference. There, an overall winner will be announced.
The latest nominees, and the final ones to be added to our list, are as follows:
- mBit — a P2P search and file-sharing technology for phones, overcoming standard MMS limitations to 300kb
- SMS Gupshup — a twitter-like clone seeing heady growth in Asia
- Vlingo — a slick speech recognition interface for the Blackberry
- Yap — a mobile voice transcription service
- Greystripe — lets developers insert ads on the fly into their mobile games, bypassing carriers and other ad incumbents
- Soonr — a mobile document reader
- Bones in Motion — cellphone GPS tracking for athletes; still a niche, but attractive
We now have a total of 80 on the list. Voting on the list will be extended for one more week, until noon July 2. Then we’ll begin to select the winners, taking into account the late arrival of the recent nominees (we’ll give them appropriate consideration, even if they have fewer votes). We’ll also review signs of gaming our system (which we’ve tried to minimize by requiring people to register with names) and take appropriate measures.
I think this an excellent final nominee list. I’m not sure if any list can be perfect, but we gave our internal selection panel a mandate to take a hard look at the write-in submissions from you, our readers, and to let in only those that have big ideas and a chance to succeed.
The panel let in only a fraction of the dozens that were submitted.
Some themes emerge. There are way too many VoIP companies (up to 300), and so even though a player like Nimbuzz is doing a lot, the panel ultimately decided to reject it in this latest round. There’s also a plethora of location-based services popping up. So while Loopt made it to our original list, in part because Loopt has signed deals with all the major carriers (it launched on Verizon today), other similar companies had to exhibit other forms of excellence in order to make the list. So the panel rejected Brightkite, for example, and Geospot, which makes mobile maps interactive and provides local information. Making the list, however, are new services such as mBit, but also established leaders like DeviceScape. The requirement for submission is that the company be private.
Other trends are clear. Mobile search is hot, because of the very different mobile interface. Even second or third mobile search players — those without a brand such as Google — remain promising on mobile if they are clever enough. And yet mobile search company NearbyNow, which lets you search for items at your nearest mall, was rejected by the panel. Destination sites like this will have a tough time. Like I said last time, I hope these rejected companies can prove us wrong and go on to be huge successes.
The MobileBeat conference on July 24 will follow the release of the 3G iPhone, which is sparking a wave of developer interest. The conference aims to host a high-level conversation about the mobile landscape, including the iPhone’s impact. We’ll talk about how it stacks up against Android, what the Nokia-Symbian move means, and more. We have some great speakers lined up — from Rich Miner, of Google’s Android project, to Matt Murphy, of the iFund.
Sales of our earlybird tickets are moving quickly. Go here to get a $100 discount, which ends Friday.
Finally, thanks to our sponsors, Sun Microsystems, Norwest Venture Partners and Amiando for making this possible. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Jacob Mullins.