Fire alarms, pints of beer, and app development. Today turned out to be quite the exciting day at Mobile Acceleration Week in London! The participants arrived early this morning after a long day two of app development, looking forward to another great day of sessions and 1:1 consulting. No one was expecting what the day would actually bring.
The day started with java and morning app development. It’s only Day 3, and several of the startups already have working prototypes, all the while participating in our educational sessions throughout the day. With the Windows Phone 8 and Surface announcements last week, we’ve been getting a ton of questions on the new platforms. In particular, we’re seeing a lot of interest in support for native code and the new mobile wallet solution, which will allow for credit card payments, in-app purchases, and physical transactions. Joe Belfiore, CVP of the Windows Phone division, joined us virtually with a demo of the new platform. The NFC integration will be a boon to many of the developers here, including Blue Butterfly, which is developing an easier way for people to connect to WiFi in coffee shops, restaurants, and other locations.
The next session of the day was Marketplace and Monetization with Brian Hoskins, Director of Business Development on Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team. Today’s presentation covered how to launch and get promoted, what makes a great app, and what the merchandising team looks for when featuring apps on Marketplace and Marketplace Extras. The three criteria for Marketplace are functionality, utility, and delight. Apps that have seen the most success are those that are taking advantage of unique features of the platform, including Live Tiles, Hub integration, and App Connect. Brian discussed the importance of building a mobile first application and cited examples of MAW companies that have been successful in this area, including Entetrainter (MAW Helsinki) and Soundtracker (MAW San Francisco).
The big excitement of the day was a fire alarm in the building, which forced all of us to evacuate along with the other 800 employees in the office, in the middle of Brian’s presentation. We all knew our apps were hot, but no one expected them to set fire! Not to be deterred, the group headed straight to a local pub for pints. The Brits sure know how to run a fire drill. Fortunately, it proved to be a false alarm, and everyone returned safely to the building.
Today, Brian had the opportunity to meet 1:1 with Frootfal. Frootfal is developing an intelligent shopping engine for consumers to discover the best deals, including cash back offers from merchants. They have built their service on Windows desktop and are moving to the Windows Phone platform this summer. The new application will be running on Windows Azure, ensuring a safe and secure way for consumers to shop. They just signed a major distribution deal with Daily Deal Superstore in the U.S. and U.K., promoting them in over 6,000 cities worldwide. Watch for great things to come from this startup in the coming months.
After a busy week of content and presentations, most of tomorrow will be spent with development time, technical support, and 1:1 business consulting sessions. Our group of startups has been particularly active on Twitter. Follow along for our updates throughout the day, using the hash tag #MAW. Check back tomorrow for a day three update or Twitter for the most updated info.