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MAW kicks off in Berlin tomorrow with another awesome group of startups joining the event. Once again, the diversity of the participants is outstanding. From a mobile agency to an app download search engine to an online time tracking hub, these companies are sure to excel at this week’s event. MAW Berlin is packed with informational sessions, lectures, networking, and plenty of time for app development. Make sure to check out this week’s participants:

 AppSourcing GmbH, Leipzig

AppSourcing is a mobile agency that focused on .NET before but now focuses on WP7 and mobile.

BGI Solutions

BGI Solutions is run by a team of experts in Microsoft Bing Maps, Windows Phone 7, and Windows 8 development. The company was also chosen as a Microsoft Partner of the Year for Germany in 2010.

Xyologic

Xyologic believes that finding apps which are truly useful shouldn’t be hard work. The company has built the most detailed app search engine there is, and created innovations such as cluster technology which help extend user discovery far passed the input field.

LogMyTime

LogMyTime is an online time tracking hub for small to medium-sized businesses.

                           Kodira

Kodira is a German startup located in Dresden that develops applications for all major mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, Symbian and WP7). The main product is Tourschall, a platform for creating, authoring and publishing of mobile audio guides. Apart from that, Kodira also offers IT consulting services and custom project development.

twofloats

twofloats GmbH offers B2B partners unique location-based services solutions for mobile applications on smartphones, tablets or any other mobile devices. The highly efficient and scalable server solution notifies users about relevant information based on their current location.

Appseleration GmbH

 Appseleration creates, manages, and distributes mobile applications.

MobiLab Solutions

MobiLab has created apps for mobile payment, gift cards, and mobile ordering.

KI-Performance

KI-Performance is a Microsoft Gold Partner for business intelligence, portals, and collaboration. The company has a strong mobile focus.

Mobile Event Guide GmbH

Mobile Event Guide develops smartphone applications for conferences and trade shows. The company already has developed apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

Bonus Magnet

Bonus Magnet is working on developing an loyalty reward card aggregation app. Users can keep their customer cards, membership cards, and club cards all in one electronic place.

emotion touch GmbH

emotion touch develops mobile and multi-touch applications

 mark veys GmbH & Co. KG

mark veys is a digital product design company, which develops high-quality interactive user interfaces for successful and brand experience-oriented digital services.

As always, the event will be streamed live via Twitter. If Mobile Acceleration Week sounds interesting to you or someone you know, don’t forget to apply. Find out more about the application process here or on the MAW homepage.

In the three years we’ve been running Mobile Acceleration Week, we’ve interacted closely with hundreds of startups and developers. I’m seeing a strong move toward the “mobile-first” or mobile-only experience.  In my last post, I shared some interesting data on how our MAW startups have fared. In this post, I thought I’d share what really great app developers have shown me about making mobile work.

What is a “mobile first” experience?  Making something for mobile is more than just taking a web page and porting it to the phone. The really great developer teams like Soundtracker, Clever Sense, and  Entetrainer, to name a few, understand that it’s more about what are the mobile experiences and pain points a person using a handheld device goes through. Mobile is a real experience.  Even more, it’s an accelerated experience on a smaller form factor.  The truly great mobile apps know how to use the native sensors on the phone and contextual intelligence to improve the user experience, making apps, games, and tasks simpler and more engaging.  We’ve had many startups come through MAW that have really nailed these pieces, and they have produced with incredible results. Here’s a rundown of some of the facts:

Mobile Acceleration Week companies

  • Have raised Venture Capital funding >$700M
    • Backers include: Sequoia, Benchmark Capital, NEA, Lightspeed Ventures, Intel Capital
  • Have been downloaded over 500M times across mobile platforms
  • Have been acquired by major companies, with an aggregate value of >$500M
    • Clever Sense by Google
    • Flixster by Warner Brothers
    • GroupMe by Skype
    • Loopt by Green Dot
    • Networks in Motion by TCS
  • Have been featured across major media outlets in hundreds of articles, including TechCrunch, WSJ, NY Times, ABC News, Walt Mossberg, and more

What made these app companies attractive is that their developers get something very simple to understand, but hard to execute on – mobile is about creating an interface and a style that helps people experience what they want out of life, and are able to speed it up to happen right now.

This could be listening to music, finding a great restaurant, or getting ready to meet someone and needing to know the latest social update about them.

On mobile, information and device interplay with experiences and expectations in a way that makes each movement finding that information consequential to your next action in meat space.  Information on the mobile screen has to be much more actionable than desktop information, which can be much more like wandering the web.

We’ve seen a lot of MAW developers understand how to make use of the power of the phone.  Take GPS, for example. You have to think about taking advantage of sensors.  It’s a much richer experience when you can pair geo-location with a need, or a moment of execution. When I map something on a PC, I get a map of San Francisco and suggested routes. If I am on mobile, I am here right now, in my car, and I can’t really use my phone. I want the mobile to just take me there with minimal steps and typing.

The phone is a communication device and a social device, first and foremost. A computer can be used for work, but the intent on the handheld is different. A lot of times, using a mobile phone means connecting with people and going to meet people. People are the focus.

I’m thinking of Soundtracker, which has gone after the social radio mobile space. It’s about listening to music on the go, and doing it in context of friends andsharing with people around you. It’s quite different than having a Pandora app, or something on the desktop.

Cleversense is like an intelligent version of Yelp.  They use machine learning to pull in recommendations relevant to you and pinning them to a geolocation fix.

Entetrainer is another interesting company that came out of our MAW Helsinki event.  They are using the microphone on the phone as a virtual radar gun to record speed of hockey shots, tennis serves, and other sports to help you improve your game.  This is something that wasn’t easily done in the pre-smartphone era.

The pain point all of these apps tackle is time. Things are much quicker on mobile, because people are already moving. The tolerance for browsing and finding information is much lower.

The computer doesn’t know what I want to do.  It simply doesn’t have the same integration or available context.

We’ll be doing two more MAWs in May and June, and I’m looking forward to seeing people come through the door that want to tackle this challenge. It really seems like people have accepted the fact that we’re all migrating into the cloud and onto our phones. That’s where many consumers will be around the corner.

You can find out more information on Mobile Acceleration by following us on Twitter or checking out the MAW homepage.

It’s been three years since we ran our first Mobile Incubation Week, dubbed The American Idol for Mobile Apps. My, what a ride it has been. We’ve run 15 events since then, putting over 200 promising startups through our intense weeklong incubator.

Where are our startups now?

Mobile Acceleration Week companies

  • Have raised Venture Capital funding >$700M
    • Backers include: Sequoia, Benchmark Capital, NEA, Lightspeed Ventures, Intel Capital
  • Have been downloaded over 500M times across mobile platforms
  • Have been acquired by major companies, with an aggregate value of >$500M
    • Clever Sense by Google
    • Flixster by Warner Brothers
    • GroupMe by Skype
    • Loopt by Green Dot
    • Networks in Motion by TCS
  • Have been featured across major media outlets in hundreds of articles, including TechCrunch, WSJ, NY Times, ABC News, Walt Mossberg, and more

This year alone…

  • 10 events worldwide: San Francisco, New York City, Israel, Helsinki, Moscow, Bangalore, Beijing, Shanghai, Berlin, and London
  • 125 top startups, selected on strength of founding team, uniqueness of idea, ability to differentiate on Windows Phone
  • 35-40% of companies are building their first mobile app ever, choosing Windows Phone
  • MAW and apps have been featured in >100 media articles in the last six months
  • Live coverage of all events on Twitter

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Following a successful MAW event in Beijing, the MAW team packed their bags and headed to Shanghai for a first of its kind gaming event. The event took place on April 28, well timed with Nokia’s launch of the Lumia 610 and 800 the same week. Participants gathered for a special “MAW Weekend” focusing on game development for Windows Phone. The event was extremely well received, with over 150 developers in attendance! This was also the first MAW hosted at a bar, which just goes to prove that mobile apps and beer go well together.

A unique MAW venue

Windows Phone has a unique game development platform, with XBOX Live integration and an active gaming community which was a point of interest throughout the day. The event focused heavily on content, with 11 separate sessions, ranging from XNA to HTML5. Partners Nokia and Tencent attended throughout the day and presented at the event.

Brian Hoskins, SEBT at Microsoft, kicked off the event with a welcome presentation about the unique format for this event and an overview of the MAW program. Leody Fu, Microsoft, and Tim Xiong, Microsoft DPE, then took the stage. They presented on the BizSpark program, Be Top opportunities, and introduction to the Spring Phone Program. Michelle Wei, Nokia EDX, made a final presentation before a short tea break. Wei talked about the Nokia strategy and trend on the Windows Phone platform.

Eager participants

Following a tea break, Tory Xu, Microsoft DPE, was up next. Xu talked with the participants about game development on Windows Phone. Attendees then took a break for lunch, networking, and Q&A.

With full stomachs, the participants settled in for an afternoon of presentations. First on the docket was Tory Xu who spoke on the benefits of WP SDK for game developers. Zhi Li, Vice GM of CT Game Center, was the second presentation for the afternoon. Li presented on the CT Game Center on WP. Tencent representatives closed out the afternoon with two presentations. Benny Meng, Director of Tencent Wireless, spoke on the Tencent Game Center on WP. Carlin Shu, Technical Director of Tencent Weibo Open Platform, then touched on Tencent Weibo on WP before participants took another networking break.

Presentation time

Following the break were three final presentations before the day came to a close. Ronghong Huang, cocos2d-x Community, took the stage to address the audience about the WP game engine: cocos2d-x for XNA. Stephen Wu, CTO of Muhe Game, then presented on MMO mobile game on WP with HTML5. To finish out the busy day, Jianying Li, WP Expert, spoke on WP game development with XNA.

Hard working developers

Overall, it was a very busy and informative day. The participants had the opportunity to network and listen to development and gaming experts speak on a variety of topics. We are excited what the developers will produce with all this new and exciting information!

Next stop for MAW? Berlin!

Make sure to check back for event updates or stay tuned to Twitter for updates. You can also find more general information about MAW on the homepage and application information here.

Thursday marked the final day of MAW China, and what a day it was! The morning kicked off at 8am with members of the Chinese press in attendance to hear 2-3 minute summary pitches from the MAW startups. Press members were particularly interested in Mobile Acceleration Week, the BizSpark program, and support Microsoft is giving to attract developers. Many commented on the quality and rapid progress of the companies during the week.

Members of the press

Demo Day started just before 9am.  Brian Hoskins, SEBT at Microsoft, gave welcome remarks to congratulate the startups on their efforts during the week, and to review the rules for the day.  The startups had six minutes to present their company and app, followed by three minutes of Q&A from the judges. The judging panel included eight industry experts from top venture capital firms, partners, and Microsoft.

The judging panel

In total, 19 companies presented in front of the judges. The panel members were highly impressed with the creativity of the ideas and the quality of the apps.They were also impressed how quickly the startups had not only built working prototypes but also how fast they had picked up the unique Metro UI, taken advantage of hub integration, and employed other APIs on Windows Phone. The judges were extremely happy with progress, especially considering some participants had only worked on their apps for four days!

A startup demos their app

MAW China offered a unique opportunity for the 5-8 winners. The top companies will be candidates for the Be Top Program.  They will have the opportunity to compete at the BizSpark semi-final contest for a chance at the finals in late May. Windows Phone Be Top is a program for top Windows Phone apps jointly launched by Microsoft and Nokia. Be Top startups receive Microsoft’s technology support at no cost and Marketplace promotion, as well as the opportunity to win a $30,000 prize.  Once a quarter, the overall winner receives the grand prize of $500,000. This is an incredible opportunity for these companies!

Another startup demo

After the demos were complete, the startups and judges participated in a farewell luncheon with Microsoft China execs. Brian Hoskins, SEBT Microsoft, and Tim Xiong BizSpark China, stayed on for press interviews. Their interviews included a one hour dialogue with Qi Ping, senior reporter at the Business Times, one of the top business and technology publications in China.

Yet another successful MAW comes to a close!  Next stop is Shanghai as MAW will bring a shortened version of the program to over 150 game developers. So, make sure to check back for event updates or stay tuned to Twitter for updates throughout the day. You can also find more general information about MAW on the homepage and application information here.

Day three was another busy day at MAW China! Developers from the 19 participating companies arrived early on a beautiful day in Beijing. After yesterday’s rainstorm, there were clear blue skies and the sun was shining down on MAW. In contrast to yesterday’s development time, day three was more heavily focused on the business side of applications.

Welcome to day three of MAW!

Brian Hoskins, SEBT Microsoft, kicked off the morning with a detailed session on Marketplace and Monetization. He covered statistics on application downloads, user engagement, and the momentum on the Windows Phone platform. Over the past three months, Marketplace submissions have increased 60% as new Nokia Windows Phones have hit markets worldwide. Nokia recently released the Lumia 610 in China as well as the higher end Lumia 800 phone. There’s a lot of excitement about the Nokia launch in China and new opportunities for developers. In the second half of the presentation, Brian focused on the ways Microsoft is helping improve app discoverability and user engagement, including special merchandising on Marketplace using the Metro UI, Marketplace Extras website, App Connect integration, and Live Tiles. Brian discussed developer success stories to date and best practices for how to monetize both free and paid apps.

Attentive developers

The remainder of the day was spent on development, including individual sessions on UI and UX, as well as coding support from Microsoft. Participants are working hard on app development, design, and architecture. In the late afternoon, startups gathered to do dry runs of their presentations for tomorrow’s Demo Day. Microsoft and other developers were on hand to give feedback on the presentations and apps.

Development session

In addition to the development work, 16 more startups participated in 1:1 business consulting sessions with Brian Hoskins and members of the local Microsoft team in China. The companies are taking full advantage of these MAW opportunities, including the valuable 1:1 consulting sessions. Needless to say, it was a busy day for everyone involved!

Tomorrow promises to be a big day, with all 19 companies ready to present in front of Microsoft, Nokia, industry partners, and the press!  The Microsoft team will be conducting interviews with the local media throughout the day as well.

Check back for more updates on MAW China or stay tuned to Twitter for updates throughout the day. You can also find more general information about MAW on the homepage and application information here.

Day two was another successful one for MAW China. Following a content-heavy first day, the companies came into today ready to work hard. The day’s activities were focused around unstructured development time and 1:1 business consulting sessions. The participants arrived early in the morning to begin their development time and take advantage of their time at MAW.

Day two registration

The majority of the day was spent on individual development time for each of the 19 companies in attendance. The participants had the chance to work with Microsoft technical experts throughout the day. The experts were on hand to answer questions and assist with the design and development work.

Development time

Throughout the afternoon, Brian Hoskins, SEBT Microsoft, conducted multiple 1:1 consulting sessions. The companies who participated included: Beijing QFPay Technology Co., Beijing Science Technology Co., and GuoRuan.  QFPay is working on a mobile payments system that that supports major credit and bank cards. Beijing Science Technology is working on developing a mobile app, iKnow. iKnow is an English study app that is accessible via mobile phones so users can study on the go. The app has already been downloaded over 2 million times!  GuoRuan has a set of tools for mobile game developers and has built over 1,000 mobile games to date.  Needless to say, there is an impressive group of companies at MAW!

A happy face from MAW China

The companies are making steady progress on their app development. Several of the participants stayed late into the night to continue development. We have already seen impressive work on design and UX/UI concepts and can’t wait to see what these companies produce by the end of the week.

Check back for more updates on MAW China or stay tuned to Twitter for updates throughout the day. You can also find more general information about MAW on the homepage and application information here.

MAW kicked off in China this week with 19 companies in attendance. The event is being held at the Microsoft offices in Beijing and is the second largest MAW to date, coming in just behind the large Moscow event. The kickoff day was primarily focused on content, with multiple presentations and a few hours of development mixed in. The lectures covered everything from the basics of developing on Windows Phone and the Metro UI to advanced sessions on Developer SDKs.

Welcome to MAW China!

Following registration, the week began with an official welcome and introduction from Brian Hoskins, Strategic and Emerging Business Team at Microsoft. Brian gave an overview of the week and expectations about development. A presentation by Felix Yan, Microsoft DPE, was next on the docket. Felix spoke on the strategy for developing differentiated Windows Phone applications. A few of the participants plan on releasing multiple WP apps so this was a valuable lecture for those companies in particular.

MAW Registration

The participants took a short tea break and then jumped right back into the schedule for the day. The Microsoft DPS China team took the stage to speak on Windows Phone UX best practices. The morning concluded with a short presentation on developing Windows Phone applications with Silverlight.

The participants then enjoyed a lunch break before diving back into the schedule. With stomachs full and minds racing, the participants sat down to hear more about the WP lifecycle and the distinctive features of the WP platform. More specifically, the presentation focused on live tiles and notifications that are unique to WP. Leody Fu, Microsoft, then took some time to speak on the WP SDK gallery. The gallery was a new topic for many of the participants, particularly those who have not developed for WP previously. Before another shot tea break, Robin Huang, Nokia WP Maps API team, took the stage. Robin talked with the participants about the Nokia Map SDK and also touched on the role Nokia plays in MAW.

Presentation Time

When the participants came back together after the tea break, they heard from a Tencent representative. The speaker talked with the companies about Tencent Weibo on WP7, which was an important lecture for those who were unfamiliar with this before the event started.

The day finished out with some unstructured development time. The companies had a few hours to start the development process before heading home for the evening. Some participants used this time to focus on app design while others zeroed in on app UX/UI. Tomorrow is sure to bring even more development time for the participants, and everyone is excited to see what these companies are capable of.

Check back for more updates on MAW China or stay tuned to Twitter for updates throughout the day. You can also find more general information about MAW on the homepage and application information here.

Mobile Acceleration Week travels to China this week with another great group of startups joining the event. The companies range from educational tools for children to a gaming portal to a smart dialing service. We are thrilled by not only the large number of participants but also by their diversity. We have some exciting plans for the week and can’t wait to see what these companies develop. Congratulations to all our China startups! Make sure to check out all the great participants:

Beijing Borgge Technology Co., LTD

Borgge Technology Company creates software for mobile internet and consultant services. The app, BanBao, is a free personalized social information companion for your Windows Phone that compiles all your friends, news, and Twitter in one place: anywhere, anytime.

Shanghai Hotelvp Technology Co., LTD

The mobile app helps users book hotel rooms around various cities for a highly discounted price.

     Beijing Science Technology Co., LTD

The company is developing the mobile app, iKnow. iKnow is an English study application that is accessible via mobile phones, so users can study on the go, and teachers don’t need to have access to a computer lab. This means the app can be incorporated into the activities of a normal face-to-face classroom.

                       Goreat Lt. Co.

GuoRuan is a leading software outsourcing brand with 20 years of industry experience. The company has developed  online, mobile, board and sports games.

Shanghai Hanxiang (CooTek) Information Technology Co., LTD

CooTek is dedicated to improving the usability, functionally and overall value of mobile devices via innovative software. TouchPal Input, which is based on CooTek’s multiple patented technologies, delivers a powerful, easier-to-use alternative to traditional hardware keyboards.

                     Beijing RYB Co.,LTD

RYB has already had success in mobile app development with four released apps. The latest mobile app, White House, helps parents choose child education products.

Sinofloat Technology (Beijing) Co., LTD

Sinofloat Technology (Beijing) Co., LTD is a leading global provider of mobile video technology. Their wireless video platform also offers a video audio service system.

Beijing MobiStone Information Technology Co., LTD

Dian Dao is an application that helps users find their way around various stores. The app provides maps of the stores, detailed information, discount offers, and advice from other users.

          Snack Limited

Snack Limited has developed apps such as Lockscreen and Moments. Lockscreen lets users customize their locked screen with beautiful wallpapers, while Moments helps users easily record every good memory in the life.

WITSHARE IT Talent Incubator

WITSHARE IT specializes in software talent training and employment centers. The company also produced the software ZhangZhongBao, which provides information for travel enthusiasts.

   ShangzhiHongxian Technology Co., LTD

ShangzhiHongxian is an online Q & A community. The website offers instant replies to questions as well as discussion boards for its users.

Beijing Qfpay Technology Co., Ltd.

Qfpay is a new mobile payment solution provider focused on small micro-businesses, mobile businesses and personal users. The app, Qian Fang QPOS, helps users complete payments by smartphones and supports payments by major credit cards.

Beijing Youcan Communications Co., LTD

XingShuBao is an educational media reading application for children. The app will support features like music, game, etc. for children.

Upright Harmony Company

Upright Harmony Company develops software for online commerce. The company also provides professional online services as well as a social network.

Beijing Fulcrum Mobile Networks Inc.

Fulcrum Mobile Networks develops applications that include Chinese input, soft recommendation, and games. The app, I’m Chinese, is an easy-to-use Chinese input tool for both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. Users can send Chinese content through SMS or email, and can also search by keywords in Chinese.

Mianyang Tongheng Software Co.,LTD

Mianyang Tongheng is a software development company specializing in IT services.

    Beijing Inspus Technology Co.,LTD

Inspus developed an application for smart dialing that will make dialing and texting more effective.

Beijing Unique Technology Co.,LTD

The company developed Weifeng Inn, which is the first Windows Phone Chinese Apps Store. The app provides users with the latest WP7 app information, including the latest release and version updates.

Debug Technology Co., LTD

Debug Technology Co., LTD is a social network to introduce Chinese culture and E-commerce website. Chinese Opera Project introduces opera-related knowledge, video, and e-commerce websites.

As always, the event will be streamed live via Twitter. If Mobile Acceleration Week sounds interesting to you or someone you know, don’t forget to apply. Find out more about the application process here or on the MAW homepage.

Throughout the past few months, MAW has traveled around the world. With an event in China next week, the team is gearing up for some more intensive development (and fun!). Each event, MAW brings together a great group of developers and entrepreneurs eager to bring their app idea to Windows Phone. While the week entails hard work, startups are quick to jump at the chance to attend MAW. From the presentations to the UI/UX consulting to the development time, past participants have some great things to say about their experience. Read on for some comments from our Moscow and Bangalore participants:

  • “We never thought of Windows Phone, but this event changed our perceptions completely and we love the new Windows Phone.”
  • “We had no Windows Phone development background. If we hadn’t been invited, we probably wouldn’t have done an app.”
  • “Thank you for a great jumpstart week at MAW. It has certainly helped us accelerate our product development for Windows Phone.”
  • “The support has been outstanding. MAW was an amazing experience for our startup.”
  • “Having no prior experience on the platform, we were surprised at how much we accomplished! Thanks for all the assistance and support.”
  • “It helped us understand the Windows Phone, especially how to build our app with the Metro UI.”
  • “We appreciate the commitment shown by the MS team towards helping a startup like ours.”
  • “First of all: metro design concept, simplicity of iconographies. Frankness of realization, in four days it is possible to make a working app with front end and back end. The third: a direct way of promotion through marketplace. These are three key points.”
  • “Our developers had no experience but in four days made an app, and the prototype is already working! It seems to me that everyone who wants to start to create mobile applications should begin with Windows Phone.”
  • “The new platform is pleasant because the interface works very quickly. Thanks to animation, it gives the impression that everything simply flies. And of course, settings, subjects, new approach. I now believe there will be a worthy competitor of iOS.”
  • “Windows Phone allows you to create stylish and various apps from a functional point of view. I’ve already created a working app during MAW and plan to launch it on Windows Phone Marketplace very soon.”

And, if you speak Russian, you can watch firsthand what our MAW Moscow participants had to say:

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