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Our man at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference

Our man in the Valley is conferenced and partied out. Until Monday when it all begins again.

Over to Mike…

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As your man in San Francisco, I was able to give SMS Text News a mole down at some serious schmooze-fests this week down in Silicon Valley.

For this post, I will talk about VentureBeat‘s MobileBeat 2008 this Thursday, then I will talk about Friday’s TechCrunch August Capital meet-up in another post. This was the first MobileBeat, and the first conference put on by VentureBeat. I have to say the event was really, really, really good. It was supremely well attended, and the list of speakers was really outstanding. Very top level folks from AT&T, Google, Yahoo… you name it. An excellent place to meet really influential people–you know, the kind who never return your emails? There were also some really interesting startups that presented, most notably AdMob and Loopt.

AdMob won the Best Infrastructure award, and demoed their shit-hot new iPhone ad network which was good enough to secure them the Audience award as well. Loopt also won two awards, Best Application award and Best CEO Under 35 for Sam Altman, Loopt’s two t-shirt wearing CEO. He lived up to his reputation and wore two on Thursday, a class act all the way.

So what about AdMob and Loopt? Why were they worth singling out? Well, because they carried the theme of the day–some new fangled gadget called the iPhone. Every panel was talking about the iPhone, in every way. Mostly, it was just a love-fest, with people claiming that apps now don’t have to face the walled garden of carriers. The few people who dared question the infallible iPhone said that the iTunes App Store was just a different walled garden.

So anyways, AdMob has these really cool new iPhone ads that allow users to interact with them in meaningful ways–not just a click. For instance, you can enter your ZIP code into an ad from Best Buy, and they will launch the Maps application on the iPhone and show you a pushpin scatter chart of the closest Best Buy stores. Or, the other example they showed was an ad for Loopt, which would launch the App Store and the user could download the app. AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui also said that you could advertise music, and then do a direct link to the iTunes music store. Very cool stuff. Watch the video.

The reason why I wanted to talk about Loopt was because of what Altman said about developing for the iPhone. He said that developing for the iPhone allowed him to innovate so much, that many of these new features made their way onto the Java version or the whatever version that apps are called that aren’t for the iPhone, I don’t know. He also said that iPhone users were more engaged than his normal users–they spent more time using the service, they invited more friends and they transferred more bits from the servers–to the tune of 47% more than average.

I’ve actually got some mixed feelings about Loopt, mostly privacy concerns and just general creepiness. I was able to obtain a special Loopt beta (read) at the TechCrunch event on Friday too.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I remain your SMS Text News mole, deeply embedded in the SF mobile scene.

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Nice one Mike. Keep ’em coming!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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