BREW 2008 - My Thoughts

I attended my first BREW conference in San Diego last week. It was an excellent event by all measures - good sessions, announcements, and people. It's easily one of the best wireless events I've ever attended.

Qualcomm introduced a number of new components into the BREW platform. I had seen many of these concepts before, but from smaller companies. When I see them added into the BREW platform, I think, "OK, this is going to be mainstream. We're not simply talking about the dreams of a handful of entrepreneurs."

One of the first introductions of the week was with Adobe.

Full support of the Adobe three screen initiative with FLASH is big deal. A richer media environment eventually making it's way on to a lot of cell phones (Qualcomm stated that they had 100M devices in the market) is a good thing and will drive use of data services. Also made me wonder what else Qualcomm has in mind longer term - they had a demo of MediaFLO in the car. Will we see the BREW platform move beyond cell phones to portable media players or into the living room?

Support for off-deck content sales. This should open a lot of opportunities for smaller publishers as well as brands to get their applications on to more handsets.

Widgets ... I feel like I've been speaking about the power of Widgets to drive adoption of data services on cell phones for a long time. I've been speaking about why it's not a great idea to try to shrink the desktop experience on to a small screen. (See research) However, when Andrew Gilbert and Paul Jacobs say the the mobile browser is not the future and that they don't believe in shrinking the desktop experience ... wow, a lot of people listen. This was one of the best things I heard at the conference. Adding widget support to the BREW platform (with Plaza) should be exciting news for publishers.

Fierce has a thorough write-up of the news.