Microsoft Möbius 2002 conference
Redmond, WA - 11-12.10.2002
What is Möbius?
Möbius is an invite-only conference for leading influential publishers in the mobile arena. Microsoft wants to provide them with latest information about their wireless projects and also listen to all their opinions, suggestions and get a solid feedback. Möbius conferences are held two times a year: in Redmond, WA, USA and in Germany.
One may think that Microsoft only wants to "capture" people and win them over to his side. Well... that's not true! You can have an Apple laptop or Nokia cap on your head and prodly present it to all keynote speakers during the event. You can talk about Symbian OS, Linux, Steve Jobs and whatever else you like as long as it is about WIRELESS. One of this year's keynote speakers - Doc Searls (Linux Journal editor and author of The Cluetrain Manifesto) and his theory show a wholly new approach to making business by big and small corporations, with big regard to community and community sites.
Möbius Redmond 2002
This year's conference took its place on October 11th and 12th in Redmond, Washington, quite near Seattle, at Microsoft headquarter. All attendees were accomodated in Bellevue Club Hotel - a member of "Small Luxury Hotels of the World", which should tell you everything about it.
Throughout the weekend, attendees were taken to Microsoft campus, Microsoft Company Store (available only for employees, with great prices like 20 USD for Windows XP Professional bundle), Microsoft Consumer Experience Center, downtown Seattle, GameWorks and much more).
Möbius Redmond 2002 gathered people from the following web sites: Ed Hardy (Brighthand), Reggie Suplido (Cliesource), PDABuzz, Stephen Wellman (Fiercewireless.com), Phillip Torrone (Flashenabled.com), Judie Hughes (The-Gadgeteer.com), Joel Evans (Geek.com), Peter Ojas (Gizmodo), Howard Chui (www.howardhui.com), Jorgen Sundgot (Infosync), Chris Pirillo (Lockergnome.com, TechTV.com), Ryan Kairer (Palm Infocenter), Alan Williams (PDALive), Derek Mitchell (DevBuzz), Ryan Mock (PDA Blast), Steve Sande (PDAntic.com), Rich Brome (Phonescoop.com), Jason Dunn Pocket PC Thoughts), Justin Reid (The Feature), TreoCentral.com, jpzr (WirelessSoftware.info), Jeff Kirvin (Writing on Your Palm), ZaurusZone.com and us - Michal and Beata Jerz (My-Symbian.com).
Whom we met and what we've seen - Day One
Presentation of over-the-air system and application delivery for MS Smartphone platform. Personalizing smartphones - downloading ringtones, graphics etc.
Their Bluetooth or WiFi devices allow turning any whiteboard (or even a wall) into an "input surface". All text or drawings written on it are being immediately sent to PC. One can also record them and send such presentation so that it can be played back anywhere else.
Digital Concepts – Douglas Beck (www.dig-concepts.com)
Digital Concepts presented some nice games for PocketPC and MS Smartphone. Their presentation showed us that the performance of MS Smartphone is quite similiar to that of iPAQ. Motocross racing game at 70 frames per second on both Smartphone and iPAQ looks amazing! Douglas also showed us how existing PocketPC applications can be easily ported to MS Smartphone platform. It seems that all APIs are pretty compatible and porting applications requires only redesigning their UI.
Viewsonic (www.viewsonic.com) -
David Feldman – Senior Product Manager
Viewsonic are just entering the PocketPC market with cheap, $299 device. It features 64 MB RAM and brilliant display (well, Viewsonic ARE display kings after all) and is among the thinnest and lightest PocketPC devices ever made. David promised to send us one unit when they are available, so expect a detailed review as soon as we get it.
Verizon Wireless - Randy Walter
Randy told us about Verizon plans related to fast wireless network. It seems that times of slow and expensive wireless connections are slowly going by.
Beth Goza - Product Manager
Organizer of the event and our host. Beth provided us with all this fun and took care of every detail of our stay. She is a Product Manager of Microsoft Mobility Group. Beth also runs Club PocketPC. Seems to be The Most Devoted PocketPC Person In The World, carrying 10 kg of PocketPC devices in her bag anytime and anywhere :-)
Jonas Hasselberg - MS Smartphone Product Manager
Jonas carried out a presentation of MS Smartphone 2002 operating system. He also presented some Smartphone 2002 OS based devices running software in comparison to a PocketPC 2002 based iPAQ. Jonas was using a Microsoft reference design smartphone. You can see it on the picture below. This is a triband device and it looks very solid. The performance seems to be similiar to that of iPAQ. Current version doesn't support Bluetooth and doesn't have built-in camera. Microsoft say, that these features (as well as eg. memory card slot) can be added by vendors. We will publish a detailed review of MS Smartphone device as soon as we receive it.
Chris Hill – Lead Product Manager - PocketPC
Chris was talking about the past and future of PocketPC OS and revealed some news: Windows Media Player 8.5, PocketPC 2002 End User Update no. 3 and 802.11x. Each attendee has been given a T-Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition device (XDA). Detailed review of this device (with comparison to Nokia 9210 and Nokia 7650) will be available shortly.
Ed Kaim – Product Manager - .Net CF
Ed showed some client-server applications and how little effort it takes to develop them. He quickly wrote a map program, showing locations on a server-based map according to location names entered by the user on his handheld terminal.
Megan Kidd – Product Manager - Smart Display
Megan presented us with Microsoft's wireless monitors, that can be taken anywhere in your home or office, providing access to your Windows XP based desktop. Great idea!
Chris Barry – Product Manager - Tablet PC
Another great idea put into life. Fully featured notebook, that can be easily turned into a touch sensitive tablet. Tablet PCs run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, being extended version of Win XP Professional. There exist two different versions of Tablet PC devices: standalone tablets and laptops with monitor part that can be swivelled.
Beth Goza and Ed Suwanjindar - Q & A session
Beth and Ed answered many questions like MMS support in PocketPC and MS Smartphone, MS plans regarding WCDMA/UMTS networks or integrating imaging devices (camera).
Juha Christensen – Vice President, Microsoft Mobility Group
Juha is ex-Symbian. He is quite a VIP in Microsoft and it was great to hear him talking about Microsoft plans and replying to numerous questions.
Juha was the last speaker during the first day of the event. All attendees were then taken to....
Microsoft Company Store
Great place. Each attendee got a $60 coupon, allowing to spend 60 USD in the store. Seems strange, but only at first sight. Microsoft Company Store is for MS employees only and the prices are truly great - Win XP Pro for something like 15-20 USD, Office XP - 10 USD, cool t-shirts and mugs for few bucks, X-box games for 15 USD... Spending 60 USD in their store was like ten times more in an ordinary computer store, which is quite a bargain!
Microsoft Consumer Experience Center
MCX is a place filled with Microsoft goodies like X-Boxes, TabletPCs and SmartDisplays, PocketPCs and every other electronic device Microsoft ever made. And they are all there just for you - you can try them and play with them as much as you like! Fantastic end for a busy day, especially with great food and drinks served there.
Rainier Plaza - exlusive members only club located on 25th floor with stunning view over Seattle. Breakfast and a keynote speaker: Doc Searls - Senior Editor of Linux Journal, author of The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Doc presented his theory that nowadays the approach to making business by big and small corporations has to change. Big corporations can no longer ignore community activities and should make their business with them. That's exactly what I think. And that's exactly what some companies still seem to ignore...
Free time. At last :-) Finally we could go for a walk to take a look at Bellevue and some Seattle suburbs. I managed to find a CompUSA store and spent 79 USD on a 128 Meg SD card for T-Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition given to us by Microsoft (detailed review will follow soon). I already filled it with software and it seems that I need a 256 MB one :-)
Burger Master. Beth took us all for dinner to a place where Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer used to eat "at the beginning". Funny feeling :-) They take orders wirelessly using iPAQs. Hello future!
GameWorks - the biggest arcade entertainment, bar and restaurant in one I have ever seen :) Tens of arcade machines, hundreds of people dressed up in funny clothes... amazing. But that's not all. We have seen Bill and Melinda Gates there sitting right behind us! I don't know if it was a pure coincidence or whether Microsoft arranged this, but it was simply unforgettable. I can only say that Bill is a human and not a blood sucking beast as some people use to think :-)
Möbius Redmond 2002 was a truly magnificent event. Actually, it was among the greatest events I have ever attended. Unlike other conferences where people just sit and listen to numerous boring speakers, Möbius was a "dynamic" event. People were asking questions and loudly commenting what speakers say. There was also a Q&A session. We had a unique chance to meet quite a number of VIPs during just two days. It seems that Doc Searls' theory is beginning to work and big companies start to appreciate the role of community and community sites. Besides the conference, we have also been given a great time. Microsoft did everything they could (and more) to make this event unforgettable.
Each attendee was given following goodies:
- Pocket PC Phone Edition (AKA XDA)
- Swiss Army Mobius Luggage
- Club Pocket PC Pocket PC carrying case
- Mobius Pen-Stylus combo
- Mobius Branded SoundBug
- ViewSonic Pocket PC (when they come out)
- MS SmartPhone 2002 (when available)
We have received PocketPC Phone Edition (XDA) device and we are currently preparing a review of it, with a detailed comparison to current Symbian OS devices (9210i, 7650). We will also publish a detailed review of MS Smartphone 2002 device as soon as we receive it. Polish visitors can also find my articles about Möbius and reviews of both PPC Phone Edition and MS Smartphone in forthcoming editions of the most popular Polish IT magazine "Mobile Internet". Stay tuned.
Michal and Beata Jerz