Announcing Mass Mobile Month: A Celebration of New England Mobile Innovation in March 2010

Ever wondered how “official” events like National Poetry Month or National Corndog Day or International Talk Like a Pirate Day get started? We did too. Turns out all you have to do is get some people together and make a declaration. So that’s what we’re doing. In recognition of the fact that there’s an unusually large and rich variety of mobile industry events on the calendar around Boston next month, Xconomy—in collaboration with a long list of supporting organizations—is declaring March 2010 to be Mass Mobile Month.

That’s mass as in Massachusetts, but it’s also mass as in huge, because it’s going to be gigantic month of mobile-related activity around town and around the world. The list of events is too long to include here—which is exactly why we’ve created the Mass Mobile Month website, a clearinghouse for information related to the all of the mobile conferences, camps, seminars, showcases, and networking events going on in New England between now and early April. (We’re not being sticklers about our definition of “March.”) We urge you to check out the site and sign up for some (or why not all) of the events.

The Mass Mobile Month site is a community resource that aims to be as inclusive as possible. So if you want to add your event to the list, submit news for the blog section of the site, or join the distinguished group of supporting organizations, please feel free to contact me at wroush@xconomy.com.

We’re very excited to have a welcome statement on the Mass Mobile Month site from Gregory Bialecki, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in the Patrick Administration. Bialecki heads the state government’s efforts to improve the climate for entrepreneurship and business growth, and his statement underscores the importance of the mobile sector to the state’s economy.

The idea for Mass Mobile Month hit us when we were in the midst of planning Xconomy’s March 9 mobile event, Mobile Madness: The New Future of Computing. We’d heard that other organizations around town, like Mobile Monday Boston and MassTLC and MITX, were planning their own get-togethers around various aspects of the mobile business in New England. And we remembered the example of previous projects to highlight high-tech activities around Boston, such as last year’s June Innovation Month. So we thought it would benefit everyone if we coordinated an informal campaign to promote all of the March events together.

What’s so special about March? We’re not sure what explains the convergence, but I suspect that the excitement in Boston represents, in part, the additive effect of huge wave-making mobile industry events like the GSMA Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona, the CeBIT conference March 2-6 in Hannover, Germany, and the CTIA Wireless convention March 22-25 in Las Vegas. Then, of course, there’s the enormous buzz and anticipation around Apple’s iPad, which, if the timeline Steve Jobs laid out in January is accurate, will be in stores around March 29.

I don’t mention the iPad just because I’m an Apple fan (though I am, with reservations). No less an authority than analyst Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley argues that Apple is now setting the pace in mobile innovation. “Apple’s iPhone/iTouch/iTunes ecosystem may prove to the the fastest ramping and most disruptive technology product/service launch the world has ever seen,” the firm gushed in its Mobile Internet Report, released in December. (Meeker was lead author on the report.)

Whatever your personal opinion about the iPhone/iPad phenomenon, it’s hard to deny that Apple is setting the bar higher for all its competitors, whether on the West Coast or the East. And in a way, the series of mobile events around Massachusetts in March present an ideal opportunity for local entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors to collaborate on identifying the most sensible responses to Apple’s challenge. These could range from trying to beat ’em with competing platforms like Android to just joining ’em by contributing more cool apps to the iTunes App Store, or anything in between. But however the region responds, it might be smarter to try to build on Massachusetts’ existing strengths in areas like infrastructure development and mobile marketing and advertising than to simply emulate the type of activity going on in other areas.

In any case, there’s no shortage of burning topics to discuss during Mass Mobile Month. Again, we hope you’ll check out the website and attend many of the events. You can help support the effort by blogging or tweeting about the site and the individual events, and including the hash tag #massmobmonth. See you around town!

Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • —The idea for Mass Mobile Month hit us when we were in the midst of planning Xconomy’s March 9 mobile event, Mobile Madness: The New Future of Computing. —-

    ehmmm, i’m not sure, but it’s a good idea