How do you get me to post a write up about your conference? First, make me a media sponsor (hint hint, PR people). Two, offer me an invite to a conference I am actually interested in attending.
Appnation did that, and with press pass in hand, I traveled the long trip to San Francisco to attend. Here are my thoughts:
1. The theme of the day was that the world of apps (iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, etc) is similar to Web 1.0. Meaning, its very fragmented and very Wild Wild West. People are searching to create the simple “Yahoo!” like hit as happened when the Internet first hit mass market in the 1990’s. I agree with this assessment, though the difference is that there already exists many big players with tons of money in the app world, and multiple walled gardens (e.g, Apple, Facebook).
2. Investors are interested in the future of TV apps. The way we watch TV in 5 years will be different then it is now, in same way that it’s different now than 5 years ago. Right now, the majority of TV watchers are playing with their smart phones and tablets while they watch TV and are watching TV on demand (when they want) with their DVRs. 5 years from now, the apps will be within the TV set and the prediction is that the TV will become a truly two-way communication medium. Two things need to happen for this reality to come true: One, Apple needs to release their Apple TV product. Two, enough people need to replace their existing brand new plasma and LCD TV’s with smart TV’s with app’s. The latter will happen by next year (my prediction) but the latter will take a much longer time — maybe 5 years.
3. The most interesting part of the show for me was walking through the exhibit hall where there are hundreds of new social apps, game apps, and the companies that support them, showing off their wears. The most interesting were Banjo(a social discovery app that is growing at a faster rate than Foursquare by pinging you when your friends are closeby and check into Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare).
4. Finally, W3i announced a new $10 million marketing and development fund for social game developers. Freemium games make lots of money once they get off the ground, but development costs are high. Anyway a developer can get funding and expertise in a project’s start up phase is a good thing.