Carnival 79 meets Route 79!

Route 79 is extremely proud to host the 79th edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists here this week!

A big welcome to the “mobilists” out there who rarely (if at all) visit here. Although a mobilist by trade, I only occasionally use this journal to blog about things market and tech in mobile, but I jumped at the opportunity to use the 79th edition of the Carnival to bring a little convergence to two different worlds of readership, and so here I attempt to theme this week’s Carnival on the impact that mobile has on art, entertainment and lifestyle.

And how profound an impact our industry has had on our lifestyle. You won’t need to be convinced by the fact that the majority of us (in the UK at least) treat our mobiles like we treat our keys and wallets; we don’t go anywhere without them, and we feel lost or panicky if we do. Not only do our wallets take a significant share of this seemingly essential habit, it pervades almost every aspect of our behaviour, wherever we go, whatever we do. Whilst “white van” drivers jump in and out of their vehicles with bluetooth headsets permanently glued to their ears, the younger ones will be replying to text messages without even looking, usually under the table whilst being lectured to by parents or teachers. We hold them up at concerts where we once held up lighters or other glow-in-the-dark objects, and we personalise them with all sorts of things that mean most to us: the way they look, the way they sound, and the intensely personal and private details that we store in them; contact details, text messages, pictures, games and notes. Some people carry more than one at the same time! And most people change them within 18 months. Whether it be talking, texting, surfing or snapping, whilst working, playing or even sleeping, these things are well and truly embedded into every moment of our everyday lives.

And amazingly, it only took around a decade to get to this stage! And you just KNOW when a “new” technology makes it into the mainstream; it starts to become caricatured in contemporary arts and entertainment. It starts to become the very subject of such things, or even the object of creation of such things. And it abstracts itself in ways only limited by human imagination. (Goodness, am I getting carried away by this or what.)

A decade. It was around a decade ago that I got my very first mobile phone. And although the nature of my work means I’ve tried loads of phones since, I’ve kept every one of the 16 phones I used for any significant length of time. So, to help get this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists number 79 started, click on the green button in the picture below to load a musical slideshow of the last ten years worth of my mobile phones pictured with household objects in situations so ordinary you wouldn’t normally think too hard about them. Wherever we go and whatever we do, our mobiles are always there. Turn up the volume and enjoy! (All pictures taken with the K800i pictured below, except the one of itself.)

At work I have the privilege to work in the same office as a highly-respected captain of our industry: Mike Short, VP of R&D at O2 and Chairman of the UK’s Mobile Data Association. Whilst chatting to him the other day about his thoughts about the future, it became clear to me that just as the last ten years has, for me personally, seen my use of mobile grow from verbal conversations through messaging and surfing towards visualisation and sharing, the next few years will probably see an explosion in the application of mobile technologies and propositions in areas such as health, transport and traffic management, connected cars, connected roads, pollution control etc. Mike’s Applications Anytime, Anywhere article first published in the Netsize Guide 2007 usefully summarises his thoughts, and that article can be downloaded by clicking here.

And so, on to a roundup of articles submitted by mobilists for this week’s Carnival:

Even those of you not well-tuned-in to the cut-throat frenziness of the world of mobile devices will not have escaped to notice all the chatter over the last 12 months about the upcoming Apple iPhone . Well, the day that product hits the streets is near. Yes folks, it launches this week. In North America at least. If ever there was a product that, when talked about, so characterises the convergence of art, entertainment and lifestyle in a mobile device surely it has to be the long-awaited iPhone? We wait upon our mobilist friends from across the Atlantic/Pacific to supply the ultimate verdict later this week.

So it’s particularly timely that Marek Pawlowski over at Mex should offer a bigger picture view of how players like Google, Adobe, Nokia and Apple could be positioning themselves to effect step-changes in mobile applications and user experiences, and that Zec at Zec Online should put up some though-provoking narrative on his belief that Google is the “secret”, “magic carpet” in the imminently-arriving iPhone.

And whilst Nico over at the About Nokia blog discovers some startling new research that reveals just how much of the Finnish population use the radio on their cell phones, Martin Sauter at his excellent Mobile Technology Page highlights briefly how much progress in transmission speed mobile networks have made over the years, so much so that you can do things on the go today that you previously would have waited to do until you got home.

Moving on; a major annual 4-day rock music festival held in London’s Hyde Park last week admitted festival-goers who had their tickets issued solely as 2D barcodes on their mobile phones. For those tracking the increasing use of mobile barcoding check out, Scott P. Shaffer’s article over at The Pondering Primate where he offers a stimulating answer to the question “Why cant they all just standardise on QR codes and be done with it? And since we mentioned music festivals at the start-point of this segway; Helen Keegan of Musings of a mobile marketeer who is probably right about now returning from the mega-huge (and mudded out) Glastonbury Festival wrote recently about her awesome experience at the Knock Knock Future of Music conference in Denmark.

In the product review corner we have Zach at Symbian in Motion who reviews (complete with screenshots) the handy new “multiline” feature in the latest version of the Talkplus “Voice 2.0” app for Series 60. And continuing with the subject of voice, Fraser MacInnes at Pocket Picks discusses how all is not quite what it might seem in a beta product called “IM+ for Skype” for Symbian.

Also, Dennis at WAPReview comes up fairly positive on a review of a fairly seasoned Slashdot-like service called Tribes. I shall be trying that out myself at some point as a result. Thanks Dennis.

And whilst the intrepid Darla Mack the Mobile Diva shows you how to go about customizing the template for the new Nokia Mobile Web Server (yep, you read that right: as in a web server for your phone), Ricky the Symbian Guru (digg the logo!) explores where things could be headed with this stuff.

Finally in this mobilist roundup, as is customary in Carnival tradition, we will try to nominate a “post of the week”. This was particularly tough, as all the submissions touch upon topics we must all take notice of at some point in the lifestyle department, but there were two in particular that caught my “I” in this week of the “I” phone and what the “I” phone stands for (which is more than just the Apple iPhone if you get my jist). So it is with a sense of toil and resignation that I will have to nominate two posts of the week for this week: Michael Mace over at Mobile Opportunity, returns from the Global Mobile Opportunity Roundtable conference with a fascinating insight and commentary on how the industry is treating Mobile Video and Andreas Constantinou’s VisionMobile forum’s well reasoned Five upsell strategies for mobile ISVs. Enjoy!

So, to finish off this specially-themed Carnival, I offer a little linky goodness to remind us mobilists that we can often get so immersed in the world of market, technology and political developments and opportunities of our industry, that it is sometimes helpful to remind ourselves (as well as showcasing to the non-mobilists who visit these pages from time to time) the impact of it all on our lifestyles, particularly in the areas of art and entertainment. For example:

Blog Til you Drop a little while back explored answers to the question: do British consumers really have a ‘relationship’ with their phones?.

What really fascinates me though is how the mobile phone can play a pivotal role in the “work of art” itself. Take for example the case of the 2001 Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria (yes it was that long ago) where the mobile phones of members of the audience were used as part of the production itself. Or in the case of a service called Start Mobile, where if you’re fed up of tacky wallpapers repurposed for the standby screen of your mobile phone, you can choose from works of art made specially for the medium.

Or how about cases where the mobile phone plays a central role in the actual production of art and entertainment? Check out the the movers and shakers at the International Festival of Films Made With A Mobile Phone: the Pocket Films Festival held in Paris earlier this month. The results of these amazing efforts by artists are inspiring and sometimes breathtaking. And be sure to examine SMS-Enabled Interactive Street Performances by TXTual Healing, perhaps coming to a city near you at some point.

And to illustrate how the pervasiveness of the products of our industry can lead to them being caricatured in the fields of sport and entertainment, be sure to pencil the 25th August 2007 in your diaries: for that’s when the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships will be taking place. Where? In Helsinki of course, where else?!

But it’s when you get a glimpse of what designers and artists come up with when they look into the future that you come across some really exciting possibilities. Yes, concept mobile phones. Open your mind and have a look at these. Or how about this masterpiece of a design concept by Dennis Hopkins – simply brilliant.

With that we close the Carnival this week. Hope you were entertained, and hope you learned something new, or even better, both. Next week’s Carnival of the Mobilists, number 80, will be over at Mobile Jones. Be sure to check it out. And if you wish to submit an article to the Carnival, don’t forget to do so by the end of this week, either by email to the usual address (mobilists at gmail dot com), or using this increasingly popular online Carnival submission form.

Thanks for visiting.

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