Updated: We've added a ton of photos to the liveblog, after the break. Don't forget - there's real live shots of the all new Blackjack II in red inside!
We're waiting for Steve Ballmer's keynote to start. We're expecting him to announce some server-side services for Windows Mobile to compete with the Blackberry Enterprise Server stuff - device management and whatnot. But you never know - this is, after all, a conference dedicated to “Wireless IT” and “Entertainment.” Dieter wants Slingbox capability built into Windows Media Center - but that's shooting the moon.
In any case, click through and get ready to hit that refresh button. We're starting up in 10.
(all photos by Joel Martin)
We're starting in 5. The Tilt failed us for DUN for some reason, so we're stuck updating over Internet Sharing on a Touch. Oh EDGE, how I hate thee.
I don't know who thought these pre-event commercials were a good idea, but when your “texting” commercial makes me think of a Mattress Warehouse commercial, that's not a big help to your company.
You can tell we're starting because they're shining a bright, white spotlight into the crowd and playing some song with deep bass. So much for saving my vision and hearing. Here comes Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA.
We're at the “largest data event” in the world. New keynote format this year - just one speaker per day. That's a nice change, it got a little schizophrenic before. About to list some stats from CTIA's wireless survey. Let's see:
- Subscriber count: as of June 30th, 243 million wireless subscribers in the US. About 81% of the population.
- text messages, about 1 Billion per day in the US. That's a lot, baby. 28.8 were send in 2007.
- the full survey is at http://CTIA.org
...and now the Ballmer intro.
- that's new, ain't it?
Ballmer's on stage! He's looking sharp. Plans on talking about “trends” in an “increasingly mobile” world and the change from “software” to “software services.” Code for: We still want to take on Google, eh?
How have things changed in 6 years? 6 years is an eternity in the mobile space. He's showing off the Sprint Touch - retail on November 4th (we knew that). It's a “crossover” device that's good for business and also TV, video, etc. Small, lightweight, and sexy form factor. You damn skippy, Ballmer.
Talking about how WiFi was just getting popular 6 years ago, but now we got ourselves 3G and WiFi isn't as important.
User expectations have changed, too. Thin vs. Thick clients in PCs
Top, most-desired item in every emerging market: smartphones. Yep. 6 years ago, Microsoft had ONE phone, ONE model, on ONE model, in ONE country. Today: 160 models, 140 form factors, 20 million WM will be sold this year. Don't forget that when you next hear iPhone sales numbers, folks, 20 million WM phones.
Microsoft's improvement over the past 6 years - they're getting interested in cellular networks and providing services over that. Models of computing:
- desktop computing (thick clients)
- online (services in the cloud, talking to thin clients)
- devices. (Pictures of WM devices, Zune, XBOX 360)
Devices are #1 on Microsoft's innovation agenda. Yesterday's idea: having all these models separate, having multiple email, text, phone accounts. Will advertising work with devices the way it does with online? Maybe not so much - there needs to be a more sophisticated meld of business models (am I stretching too much to read Google digs in all these).
Mobile phones are the most popular device out there, period. How to we get it to “fully participate” in the same experiences you can get in the other computing models? That's Microsoft's target. Enterprise brought to the phone.
Oh, there's a picture of a Blackjack up there, it's red? It has a few different buttons - looks like a Blackjack II to me.
“In many countries, the phone will be the PC, for people with less money.” Talking about a “docking station” to turn your phone into a PC. Basically he's talking about opportunities for growth in the mobile space. “Think of it like a universal remote” for your business and personal phone. The phone needs to be able to cover both sides of your life.
Making fun of people who carry multiple devices, well, not mocking so much. “It strikes me as odd.” Pushing multiple form factors to meet multiple tastes. Yet despite that, the basic services and things you want to do are often the same from person to person. In other words - he's fond of the Windows Mobile busines model of licensing the OS to partners who innovate on form factors.
“Microsoft has a fairly expansive view of the mobile space.” Focused on partnership with operators, developers.
Work, Life, Platform: the themes for today.
Security management, deployment, applications, communication, IT integration. Listing through th myriad of types of communications and applications necessary in enterprise computing. Need to offer tools to IT departments to manage all that. See's a “clash” coming - IT needs to manage some things, but end users want to control the devices they're using (especially in their personal life). Need to balance IT's need to manage with personal users' need to customize.
Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008. Helps IT manage, secure, and provide secure access for smartphones. Will work with “forthcoming versions of WM devices.” Versions coming in Q2 next year to support this service.
It will manage the phone like it would manage “mission critical data” on a PC. What can it do? Provisioning, data encryption, password requirements, data compliance, mobile VPN management. They're trying to make it standards-compliant, too.
The idea is to bring devices (from the 4 above) closer to enterprise.
Brian Hoskins up for a demo!
Setting up a new device, in case you lose yours. “Self enrollment website” You can create an “enrollment request” yourself - anybody who can log into active directory can request to set up a new device.
You get the password from the site, punch it into your new phone, and it automagically enrolls into your management system. Sets up policies, password settings, the whole shebang. Fast, easy, cool.
Showing stuff on server side now. Device status, device history, blocked devices, pending enrollment, recently wiped devices. Ha - Steve Ballmer has had his wiped a buncha times for this demo.