Mobile 2.0 2010 Silicon Valley is next week. We have the event divided up into two days again this year, with the developer day on Sept 20th at Microsoft in Mountain View and the business day on Sept 21st in San Francisco. You can use the code “friends” when you sign up for 20% off the normal registration price.
One of the major themes for 2010 that became apparent as we were putting together the lineup for developer day was the increasing momentum behind the mobile web. A few months ago it was looking like a pretty strong trend, and the last few months have seen even more activity than I expected. The folks at Sencha pulled down a bunch of funding, a formal release of jQuery mobile was posted, and we’ve seen folks like OpenAppMkt take the first steps toward paid distribution of mobile web applications. So I’m happy to say that with the benefit of hindsight, including a lot of mobile web focused content seems even more relevant than it did a few months ago. W00t!
There are probably a few major factors driving the increased attention that the mobile web is getting. There are two that I hear probably most frequently, with about a 50-50 split between them depending who I happen to be talking to. The first is that folks really want to get back onto a release cycle that looks like the web release cycles they’re accustomed to and not the shipped software cycles they’re bound to when working through the app store. Even if they can’t necessarily get everything done exactly the way they want to on the web, having to make a few compromises in terms of functionality is worth it to be able to update your application at will. This seems to be particularly true with folks who are already accustomed to web development, and just assume that iPhone dev will work somewhat the same. What I’ve been surprised by are the number of folks who jump into native mobile dev and only start to realize the problems after they have apps out. Eventually they say something like “Hey, how am I supposed to do A/B testing in an iPhone app?” and the problems start to snowball from there. I’m seeing an increasing number of folks in this category.
The second major driver is the increasing attention folks are paying to Android as a platform. Although tales like Advanced Task Manager has to tell of great revenue number on Android are few and far between, the increasing number of handsets out in market and the evolution of the platform are drawing more and more attention. It’s been true for a while that free apps from major plays will have an Android version to ensure the app provider gets decent coverage of their user base. But recently folks that are shifting significant numbers on iPhone are starting to look at Android as an additional paid distribution channel. Angry Birds testing out the waters of Android with a recent beta release is an excellent example of something we’ll probably see a lot more of. On the paid distribution side a native port is pretty much a necessity. But for folks just coming to market now, especially those looking to monetize through in-app sales or advertising, the mobile web is looking increasingly tempting as a way to go cross platform without having to plan for porting.
If that’s the kind of conversation you’re looking to have, check out the lineup we have for Developer Day this year. If you factor in the “friends” discount it comes out to $88 for the day. I think we’ve served up a fantastic lineup for the cost.
There’s also a Best Practices for Mobile Design event we have going on the evening after the Developer Day. It’s just down the road at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View and the schedule starts after the developer day program ends. So if you’re planning to come for developer day, please also join us at Mobile Monday by RSVPing at Eventbrite.