This past week, Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team hosted Mobile Acceleration Week at our Silicon Valley Campus in Mountain View, CA.  The purpose of the event was to accelerate development of applications in advance of our Windows Phone 7 launch this fall and featured 13 of our top mobile startups.  The companies represented a diversity of applications, from a mobile social networking app for sports (CrowdZone) to an application designed to monitor vehicle safety and health (Motolingo).  The startups ranged from stealth mode startups building their first mobile application (Cellixis) to more established companies with successful iPhone and Android titles (Digital Chocolate, UStream.TV).

Modeled after our popular Mobile Incubation Week program, the event offered startups on-site technical and business assistance from Microsoft, as well as third-party support from partners iLink, Muranosoft, and Corpus Mobile.  In addition to development workshops, the week featured educational sessions on the WP7 Application Lifecycle, User Interface and User Experience, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and the WP7 Partner Perspective with guest speaker OpenTable. Feedback from the participants and partners has been extremely positive.  Many startups commented on the value of having real-time access to Microsoft staff and technical experts, coding support and business advice they received during the week, and the opportunity to network with other startups.  Some selected quotes:

    • “I was shocked in 8 days that we’ve been able to port everything over and have a working application. We’re believers now!”
    • “This is our big bet for the year. The backing of Microsoft makes this really exciting for us.”
    • “This has been a perfect crash course to get us up to speed and get that much further down the road to take advantage of the platform.”
    • “We found it invaluable to have everyone (vendors, Microsoft support) in one room for a week.”
    • “It’s been a really successful week for us, especially considering we just started development three weeks ago. We appreciate Microsoft’s openness. Having an event like this gets us in front of and access to the people we need to talk to. It’s a very different environment.”
    • “This week on campus was a big help. We would never have gotten this far without it. Having access to engineers, connecting with other startups, etc., it was a great experience.”

Press Coverage

Harry McCracken of Technologizer interviewed the startups on Thursday, following with an article on PCWorld, Windows Phone 7 Apps: Third Party Early Birds Arrive.  In the PCWorld article, McCracken notes the importance of third-party applications to the ultimate success of phone operating systems.  In closing, McCracken wrote: “If the WinPhone programs that are available on day one live up to the promise of the ones I saw, I think there’s a good chance that people will be pleasantly surprised by the third-party software solution.”

Who Participated

  • Cellixis: Personal mobile concierge to find restaurants, bars, entertainment
  • CrowdZone: ‘Mobile crowd network’ that comes alive during sports events, fans can check into games, post photos, text ShoutOuts, and connect with friends
  • Digital Chocolate: Leading publisher of games for mobile phones
  • Flixster: Social networking site for movie fans where users can create their own profiles, invite friends, rate movies and actors and post reviews
  • Provides an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise.
  • Loopt: Location-based social mapping service that allows individuals to use their location to discover the world around them – enabling them to find and enjoy the friends, places, and events that mean the most right here and now
  • Motolingo:Connects your car’s computer with your smartphone to offer information on your vehicle’s location, fuel consumption, and other key metrics
  • PageOnce: Developed an internet ‘assistant’ that helps both consumers manage their online lives and marketers connect with those same consumers
  • Retrevo: Consumer electronics site that aggregates product information, reviews, articles from blogs, forums and websites to help shoppers make smart, confident decisions on what, when, and where to buy consumer electronics.
  • Soundtrckr: A free geo-social music service for smartphones and the web
  • theChanner: A social TV platform to enjoy and participate in watching Internet television on your phone
  • Ustream: An interactive platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection quickly and easily to broadcast to an online global audience
  • YomoMedia: Automatically downloads news, blogs, podcasts, audio and video so they’re available when you want, without waiting.