Image by Mark Bridge via Flickr
By Jeff Peel – I’m at that point – just two weeks before Mobile World Congress 2011 – where my head is beginning to swim given the volume of PR pitches from exhibitors. Sometimes wading through the barrage of hyperbole is a challenge. And I plan to meet with several companies in the limited time I have available at MWC11 to check out some of the claims.
However, for those of you who might be attending the Mobile World Congress this year and may want some guidance on companies to watch, I thought this Top 10 list might be of some interest. Or if you’re not attending, here’s what you might be missing.
I don’t need to make any disclaimers about this list – I have no financial interest in any of these companies. By the same token I have not undertaken any in-depth due diligence either. Rather, these are companies that appear to have interesting products and are able to articulate their product messages succinctly (always a challenge). Some are big, some small and their product focuses vary significantly.
The list is in no particular order.
This Israeli company connects smart phones to big screens. If you want to know what this means just check out the company’s web site – there’s a handy YouTube video right on the home page that explains the idea. The vision is an ambitious one (and the video is a tad cheesy) but the company is definitely onto something (if it can deliver).
http://screenovate.com/ or Follow on Twitter
OK-Labs (Open Kernel Labs)
OK – so it’s rather dull platform technology but important all the same. Chicago based OK Labs is well positioned to allow mobile phones to take advantage of virtualization technology for enterprise applications. Many of the leading market analysts say that mobile cloud is the next big thing – especially for enterprise apps – but the delivery of the mobile cloud depends on virtualization technologies.
http://www.ok-labs.com/ or Follow on Twitter
Apple has established the concept of mobile apps for the iPhone. But the volume of apps is exploding and users are getting confused. Moreover, with multiple platforms going app-centric, app development platforms that are multi-platform is becoming a bigger deal. Enter appMobi – a Pennsylvania based firm with an integrated, cross-platform app engine.
http://www.appmobi.com/or Follow on Twitter
Synaptics is hardly a new company but with touch-screen becoming the definitive UI for mobile devices (and even static devices) there’s only one place for this company to go (provided it can continue to be innovative in the face of competition). The rune-stones look good and the company is offering lower price-point OEM products for lower end phones. Worth checking out in my view.
http://www.synaptics.com/ or Follow on Twitter
This San Francisco based company is a bit of a one-trick pony at the minute – with a handy app for automating expense reporting – but is positioned to play in the rather sexier ‘augmented reality’ space. Augmented reality apps take dull spatial data and add value to it. ‘Dull but handy’ today could be tomorrow’s killer apps for business productivity.
http://abukai.com/ or Follow on Twitter
Freescale is an industry stalwart and has been pushing hard into areas such as eReaders as well as its traditional stomping ground of the mobile sector. The company is heavily trailing a big announcement at Mobile World Congress – and I’ll admit to being a tad curious as to what it is.
http://www.freescale.com/ or Follow on Twitter
Gintel has been around for years with its virtual PaBX solution – but perhaps 2011 is the year for the company. Everything is going mobile at the start of this new decade and it seems to me to be a no-brainer for mobile operators to offer centrex services for mobile devices. Because, increasingly, traditional PaBXs are bypassed by most employees who much prefer their mobile devices. Gintel has a proven solution but needs to achieve greater critical mass.
http://www.gintel.com/ or Follow on Twitter
Google Translate has helped tear down language barriers on the web and social media. myLanguage is attempting to become the lingua franca of translation apps across mobile platforms. The company claims it has the most powerful translator on any mobile platform and plans to announce several new features at MWC including “translate anything you can see or hear”.
http://www.mylanguage.me/ or Follow on Twitter
Canadian based Poynt is one of a new breed of players to create location-focused search. This is likely to be a hot technology area over the next few years. Location is all when considering advertising and coupon-based sales promotion. Poynt’s targeted advertising model uses key word search and location to profile users in order to deliver relevant offers from restaurants and retailers nearby.
http://about.poynt.com/index.html or Follow on Twitter
WAN optimisation is ten years old but cell based data optimisation is only really beginning to emerge. Flash Networks – another Israeli outfit – has a solution that it claims reduces cell congestion and improves users’ data experiences by reducing traffic bottlenecks. Not that sexy, I admit, but a big deal for operators reluctant to invest hugely in additional network capacity.
http://www.flashnetworks.com/ or Follow on Twitter
So that’s it – my initial 10 companies to watch at Mobile World Congress 2011. If you want to suggest others please feel free to comment with your suggestions – but don’t just post a URL. Please tell me why your suggestions are worthy. Or let’s have a Twitter debate.