Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mozilla Maemo Danish Weekend

This weekend we will be in Copenhagen at the developer camp organized by Mozilla and the Maemo community. I don't think I need to present Mozilla. On the other hand, Maemo is the operating system of the Nokia Internet Tablets based on Linux and an active community of developers has been developing mainly open-source applications and improving the platform. Maemo is the first platform where Fennec, Mozilla mobile browser, has been released. So Mozilla will have some talks, hands-on sessions on Fennec, how to develop add-ons, etc. We are looking forward to meet the open-source community and put our hands on those great projects.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The future of Mobile is Social and Contextual

There are a few people sharing our vision of the future of mobile. One of them is Rudy De Waele who is, among a thousand things, author of the mTrends blog, the european blog that you should read if you're interested by mobile technologies and future. Rudy is also behind the Mobile 2.0 Conference Europe in Barcelona where we might go in June. But I'm not writing this post to advertise his work (I don't think he needs it) but to share through him a great presentation that summarize very well out daily work at Future Application Lab, from the Mobile 2.0 project to the LIREC project.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thoughts on Mobile Internet

On the flight back from Boston, I was reading Smart Mobs, the next social revolution by Howard Rheingold (on and found this very interesting quote:
The telegraph, like the Internet... transformed social and business practices, but it could be used only by skilled operators. Its benefits became available to the public at large only when the telegraph evolved into the telephone - initially known as the "speaking telegraph". The Internet is still in a telegraphic stage of development , in the sense that the complexity and expense of PCs prevent many people from using it. The mobile phone thus promises to do for the Internet what the telephone did for the telegraph . to make it a truly mainstream technology.
Because it used the same wires, the telephone was originally seen as merely a speaking telegraph, but it turned out to be something entirely new. The same mistake is already being repeated with the Internet. Many people expect the mobile Internet to be the same as the wired version, only mobile, but they are wrong... Instead, although it is based on the same technology as the fixed-line Internet, will be something different and will be used in new and unexpected ways.

Tom Standage The Internet Untethered

In our little bubble, western-developed bubble, we tend to think that PC Internet is universal. And in our countries it kind of is. But thinking that Internet is a mainstream media is approximately neglecting 2/3rd of the world. We know as a fact that people in African countries and India are getting access to the Internet on their phones before owning a computer. Think one second about their conception of what the Internet is and how they can or should interact with it...
Most of Internet actors are mistaken by trying to move the desktop on mobile phones. Look at the first mobile version of facebook (can you actually do something on it except checking it out?). Look at Opera with its way of interpreter of pages to make them look like on the desktop. Look at Microsoft (why would you need a start menu on Windows Mobile?). What we are aiming for with the Mobile 2.0 project is to explore the limits or the future uses of the mobile. We know that we can't predict it but, by developing new applications and new approaches, bit by bit, we can maybe influence it and see it coming. Some initiatives are encouraging, we at the Future Applications Lab are really excited about the coming Palm Pre with WebOS as a huge crossover between the Internet and the mobile.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mobile 2.0 team at CHI2009

See You on the Subway: Exploring Mobile Social Software, the paper submitted as a work-in-progress on the Subway Friend Finder application, will be presented as a poster at the CHI conference in Boston next week. We will all attend the whole conference together with most of the Mobile Life researchers, so feel free to come talk to us if you're there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rui Xue Xia joins the Mobile 2.0 Project

Rui Xue Xia is a new master student at the Future Applications Lab. She's finishing the Information and Communication Technology for Development master program at Stockholm University, a master that mixes IT, business and management. She'll be doing her Master Thesis on the Mobile 2.0 Project for 6 months. She will focus on business models in the mobile ecosystem, studying the different business possibilities for mobile applications including GeoChat, Portrait Catalog, Colombus and the Subway Friend Finder. Her knowledge in Mobile Business will bring a different angle to the project and we are really looking forward to work with her.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Two videos of geo chat and subway friend finder

We made two videos demonstrating the geo chat application and the subway friend finder.

Mobile Life Open House

On wednesday we had an open house here at the mobile life centre!
We demoed four applications from the mobile 2.0 project: GeoChat, Portrait Catalogue, Subway Friend Finder, and Columbus.
There were a lot of interesting discussions around the applications and mobile 2.0 in general with interested people from industry as well as people from the general public.
For those who couldn't make it you can find video-demonstrations of both subway friend finder and the geo chat application at the mobile life website under our project page.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Demoing at JFokus

Mattias and Nicolas attended JFokus on January 27-28, and demonstrated both GeoChat and Portrait Catalogue.

The conference had a quite wide focus and was not as focused around Java technologies as one might think. From a mobile 2.0 perspective it was interesting that the keynote talked about JavaFX which has one of the aims to challenge Flash Lite for mobile devices, but also wants to create a framework for enabling cross device user interfaces.

There was also an interesting presentation on HTML 5, which showed some really promising features of the upcoming standard. Although the discouraging fact that w3c has stated that the standard will be complete in 2022, it was nice to hear that most browsers actually already have started to implement parts of the standard as those parts become ready. Furthermore, the two guys who presented came from a company called Kaazing who are offering open source solutions for creating web applications that utilizes parts of HTML 5 already today, without the need for any browser plugins.

Among other things being presented at the workshop there was a short presentation of Microsofts Silverlight, a look at the new stuff being presented in Java SE 7, and also an in depth presentation of what you can do with JavaFX.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is the Mobile 2.0 project about?

This is the first post of the Mobile 2.0 project blog at the Mobile Life Centre. The project aims to explore the next generation of mobile services and applications. What follows is a short presentation of the project.

The market for mobile devices is fragmented and there are many barriers to development and deployment. At present, it is difficult to create efficient and attractive mobile services that make use of advanced capabilities of modern terminals and servers, such as absolute location, sensors, near-field communication, proximity of other users or services, etc. We call these Mobile 2.0 services, since they represent as much as a quantum leap from current mobile services as Web2.0 represents from the original World Wide Web.

In this project, we envision a new type of environment where advanced mobile services run on a common platform, similar to a web browser on traditional computers, but with added capabilities for the mobile domain. We want to make it easy for creative actors to create new services quickly, making mobile service development more like web design than application development. We also want to make it possible to distribute services to a large number of different services, and thus achieve critical mass.

We are approaching this problem from two angles: first, by prototyping a set of examples of Mobile 2.0 services based on a variety of different platforms and technologies; and second, by creating a standardized environment for rapid development of such services. We have prototyped a number of example services, including native applications, Java applications and completely web-based mobile services. The applications use a range of technologies, such as location awareness and local sharing. They cover various media and domains, such as photography, chatting and social awareness. We are now going to user test these services and deploy them to a wide range of users. This work will help us understand and hopefully address some of the problems that are currently facing developers when trying to reach mass-market.

Furthermore, we are developing an environment that will make it easy to develop advanced mobile services as it already is to create advanced web services, and builds on the expertise of web developers and interaction designers. This requires a standard that is closer to HTML and existing Web development tools such as Javascript, Flash and Ruby, than the advanced development environments of iPhone and Android, or web add-ons like Google Gears.To this end, we are now in the process of specifying a Mobile Markup Language (MML).