I recently went to the inaugural Snow*Mobile mobile technology conference in Madison WI, one of the more unique technical conferences I’ve attended.
For me, the value in the conference was the exposure to different facets of mobile technology. Too often we’re heads down and immersed in our day-to-day development responsibilities to see how others are creating mobile experiences. This was a great way to find out more about a variety of mobile technology topics in a fast-moving, two day, single track conference.
During the conference, I was able to learn more about things like PhoneGap, RubyMotion and Firefox OS; these are technologies that I’ve been curious about but don’t currently use. Also, as a native app developer, it’s always helpful to see presentations on the mobile web and learn more about that aspect of mobile development.
More importantly, over the course of the conference we learned about uses of mobile tech that we may not be familiar with such as how the blind use mobile and how mobile technologies are changing and improving lives in less-developed countries. These two presentations were revealing and thought-provoking — I highly encourage you to look at the slides which are linked above.
Lastly, the conference was well-organized and strove to build a sense of community with frequent breaks for interaction and socializing. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to a conference where the attendees were so strongly encouraged to talk with the speakers after their presentations. Personally, I found them all to be both gracious (and patient) when I spoke with them during the course of the event.
Oh, and we had fun too — paper snowball fights, pinball, prizes and talks from a local coffee roaster and LEGO league students (who at their young ages were extremely inspirational.)
Snow*Mobile was a really great event — I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition.
A metaphor that I find useful for explaining the differences between the Apple App Store for iOS apps and the Google Play Store for Android apps is comparing them to a boutique and a flea market.
The Apple App Store is run more like a boutique. Boutiques tend to be pricier and they don’t try to be one stop shopping. Most importantly, their merchandise is specially selected – not everything gets in and it’s usually at the discretion of a buyer or owner.
In contrast, the Google Play store is more like a flea market. Items are cheaper but quality can vary wildly. Some purchases might be of dubious legality. It’s a bit more “buyer beware” but there can be bargains and finds.
There are certainly pros and cons to both approaches. As a user, it’s nice to know that the apps have been reviewed by Apple before they enter the store. On the other hand, anyone who’s had an app rejected for what seems to be an arbitrary reason knows it can be a frustrating experience.
On Google Play, it’s great as a developer to be able to get your app in the store in minutes. For users, they have to be a little more careful about what they download due to the lack of quality control. It’s less of an impulse acquisition at that point.
Keep this in mind if you have to describe the differences between the Apple and Android marketplaces to anyone who might be unfamiliar with them – they can go a long way in shaping your strategy as you develop, market and possibly sell your product.
This is a brand new conference so unfortunately, I can’t give a review or preview for it. I do know that it’s put on by the same folks who have done UXMad and Madison Ruby and I’ve heard nothing but good things about those conferences.
I believe the conference format is is single-track conference and includes presentations on various types of mobile development – iOS, Android, Windows Phone and mobile web.
One of the interesting things that they have done with their other conferences is to have additional speakers from completely different disciplines outside of software development. Given that the current speaker lineup features a coffee professional and an improvisational workshop trainer, it would seem that Snow Mobile will follow in that vein as well.
This is a independent iOS and Mac OSX development multi-session conference held outside of Chicago. I attended last year with a few other Milwaukee developers and had an informative and very fun time. They have a great speaker lineup from around the country including authors from the Pragmatic Programmer series of books. It has a solid technical focus so if that’s your goal, you’ll be very pleased with this conference.