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Well, we did it — VentureBeat held its very first conference, MobileBeat 2008, and it was a smashing success. I can say that, because all throughout the day people kept congratulating me on what an amazing event it was, and I kept telling them that I didn’t have any part in organizing it. Their response? “Maybe you should just pretend you did.”

MobileBeat, for all you poor souls who didn’t make it, was a daylong discussion about the burgeoning mobile market, focused specifically on three questions: Is now the right time to make it really big in mobile? How is mobile different from the Web, and how can developers exploit this difference? And how do you make money on mobile? Luminaries like Rich Miner of Google/Android, Matt Murphy of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers’ iFund, Mike Baker of Nokia Interactive and many others weighed in on-stage, while 30 up-and-coming mobile startups showed off their wares. A panel of experts also gave out some awards, naming location-based social networking startup Loopt the best application at the conference, and mobile ad network AdMob the best infrastructure startup. Via American Idol-style SMS voting, conference attendees selected AdMob as the best company overall.

A small crew of staffers from VentureBeat and the Plug and Play Tech Center worked like crazy to pull this off — again, I can say that because I was watching from the sidelines, mouth open in awe.

It took many others to make MobileBeat work, though. So thanks to all of our speakers for giving us their time, and for letting us pick their brains. Thanks to the companies who showed off their cool products, and to the panel of experts who selected the best of the bunch. Thanks to our sponsors, Blackberry Partners Fund, Forum Nokia, Sun Microsoystems, Norwest Venture Partners, Amiando, Zanox, mTouche, Mippin, Augmentum, My247.mobi and Mozes for making this possible. Finally, thanks to the hundreds of people who attended.

To give everyone else a taste of what you missed, here are some links to our event coverage, followed by photos:

Nielsen data on mobile Internet
VCs to developers — The iPhone is great, but hedge your bets
Loopt strikes a deal to make massive use of GPS data cost-effective
“Bang or Bust” panelists bullish on more open platforms
A new top iPhone app emerges following the simple game + free formula
Apps, advertising and the “golden age” of mobile; plus Skydeck opens to the public
Congrats to the winners of the MobileBeat Tesla Award: Loopt, AdMob and more

The venture capital panel: from left to right, Rick Segal of the Blackberry Partners Fund, Shawn Carolan of Menlo Ventures (he’s kind of hidden), VentureBeat Editor Matt Marshall, Rich Wong of Accel Partners and Rupert Young of AT&T.

Sam Altman of Loopt, who won awards for best application and best mobile person under 35.

During the panels, the fight for a good seat got pretty competitive. By the way, you can see me blogging away at the far end of the table on the right.

Omar Hamoui of AdMob leaves the stage after accepting the best infrastructure award.

The web vs. mobile panel: from left to right, Brandon Lucas of MySpace, Om Malik of GigaOM, Jason Devitt of Skydeck and Mike Baker of Nokia.

Mei Lin Ng of Mig33 accepts her awards from Lars Kemp of Accenture.

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