Mobile Madness Speakers Dissect 4G, Enterprise Apps, New Interfaces; Zizzout Destealths with Mobile “Visual Marketplace”

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don’t have the time or patience to set up complex listings on auction or classified sites. “We are simplifying what is now a fairly annoying and complicated process of posting things online for sale,” he says.

The final and most amusing segment of Mobile Madness was the “Location Smackdown” refereed by serial entrepreneur and investor John Landry, with contestants from AOL, Locately, Skyhook Wireless, and Where. As Landry pointed out, these four companies don’t directly compete with one another, so there wasn’t any built-in animosity for us to amplify the way we did for the “Mobile OS Smackdown” at Mobile Madness 2010. Nonetheless, each panelist made a strong case for how his company’s brand of location technology helps consumers and mobile developers, and how location technology is likely to figure in future devices and apps. By crowd acclimation, Landry handed over the first Xconomy Mobile Smackdown Trophy to Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan, though Where’s Walt Doyle, pictured above, was a close second. (We aren’t big spenders here at Xconomy: the award was an old golf trophy that Landry said his wife had long wanted to get out of the house.)

Before signing off and heading back to San Francisco, I want to underscore how grateful we are for the support of all the organizations that helped make Mobile Madness 2011 possible, starting with Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center, which was both the event host and an event sponsor. Our other valued event sponsors included A&T, Turnstone, the UK Trade & Investment Agency, and the Winter, Wyman Companies. Our partners for the event were Mass Innovation Nights, the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, and Mobile Monday Boston, and the sponsors of the mobile showcase in the NERD lobby area were Microsoft, Mofuse, and Pyxis Mobile. Thanks also to Keith Spiro at Kendall Press for handling photography at the event.

Of course, we’re also grateful for the ongoing support of our charter underwriters Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Biogen Idec, the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and WilmerHale, and our underwriters Aderly/OnlyLyon, AT&T, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Cisco, Goodwin Procter, Invest Northern Ireland, J. Robert Scott Executive Search, the Kauffman Foundation, Latham & Watkins, Schwartz Communications, Turnstone, and UK Trade & Investment. We also appreciate the support of Xconomy’s venture capital members: Advanced Technology Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, Avalon Ventures, Boston Millennia Partners, Flagship Ventures, LaunchCapital, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Polaris Venture Partners.

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

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  • One theme I heard from several people was “question answering”. On a mobile device, you don’t want to type in “search terms” and get back a list of links. And typing in a natural language question takes too long. What you want is to speak a question and get an answer. Vlingo and Nuance both brought this up. Wolfram Alpha is also about answering questions but (correct me if I’m wrong) I don’t remember him specifically mentioning voice recognition.

  • Absolutely, Dan. Much more to come from us on that. We just had a long meeting with the CTO of Nuance, and they and other companies are busy at work on speech-driven question answering of the sort you’re talking about, in partnership with wireless operators and device manufacturers.

  • I really enjoyed the format – the fast-paced panels, mixed with the “bursts” topped off with the really great Wolfram keynote made for a great day. My only disappointment was that there wasn’t a lot of “throwing down” during the LBS throw down. I would have loved to see more real, engaging debate.

  • @Shannon — Agreed! As John Landry noted, there wasn’t much built-in competition between these four speakers. We were very pleased to welcome Skyhook, Where, AOL, and Locately, but since they all do such different things it was hard to get them to disagree violently about anything. The ideal “smackdown” lineup in the location space would probably have been Foursquare vs. SCVNGR vs. Gowalla vs. Facebook. Next time around we’ll aim to line up a more antagonistic group of people!!

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