Mobile Madness Motor City: Highlights and Takeaways

1/22/13Follow @XconomyDET

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all, a great user interface. Jacobs said the worst apps his company has developed are the ones with too much going on; developers would do better to really understand what the consumer wants and then build an app that’s a joy to use. As
much as we tend to romanticize the idea of the kid who builds the next Instagram in his parents’ basement, Parvataneni said the fact of the matter is that without a multi-thousand-dollar marketing budget, developers are in a tight spot because getting people to know your app exists is a big challenge. Cervenan agreed and said it’s important to have the company name and what the app does in the title. “It has to be easy—if I have to tell you how to use it, then I haven’t done my job,” she added.

The future of lithium-ion batteries is … consumer electronics? Ann Marie Sastry, president and CEO of Sakti3, an advanced battery manufacturer that has done a lot of work for the auto industry, seemed to suggest in her presentation that consumer electronics are the next frontier for the rechargeable battery technology currently being used in cars. Battery cells inside consumer electronics essentially have the same technology as those in vehicles, and Sastry estimates that by 2020, consumers will own more than 1 billion devices, all of them needing a better way to store energy. (In aggregate, she said, it represents a “decabillion dollar market.”) And it’s not just the first-world problem of wanting your iPhone to hold its charge during a night out on the town. In emerging economies like India, Brazil, and China, Sastry said. the ability to walk away from the power supply—to sustain power drawn off the grid for increasingly longer amounts of time—enables more people to enter the middle class. Although Sastry didn’t come right out and say that Sakti3 would be shifting its focus exclusively to consumer electronics, it was clear that the company plans to pursue the market.

The once-secretive auto industry is now prioritizing open technology platforms. We’ll have more about this tomorrow in our report from the 2013 North … Next Page »

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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