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All roads read to the Parc 55 this Thursday: MobileBeat

MobileBeat is taking place this Thursday in San Francisco at the Parc 55 Hotel and it promises to be a brilliant event.

If you’re quick, you can still get a ticket — but you’ll need to be ultra quick.

The keynote is going to be particularly interesting. Three chaps, one from Google, one from Palm and one from Nokia are having a fireside chat. Without the fire, I suspect. It’s going to be a particularly difficult one for Nokia’s Dr Tero Ojanpera, given the fact he’s going to be stuck in a room with a few hundred people, most of whom wrote Nokia off about 5 years ago.

Browsing the speaker list, I’m interested to see the arms-crossed figure of Ben Piilani, Zer01 Mobile’s CEO. That’s a very defensive position. And for good reason. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about Zer01 is telling me ridiculously negative things.

I have it on good authority that Dave Katz, VP of Mobile for Yahoo, is what we in England call ‘a good Egg’. I’ve never met the chap, but I will look on with interest to see what Yahoo have got to say for themselves. They were a player, a big player, in mobile. When Terry Semel stood up and did a Steve Jobs years back (announcing Yahoo Go 1.0) they really could have been a player. That was back when they created a brilliant applications set for S60. It synched everything. Your mail, photos, the whole shebang. Then they chickened out for the next set of versions, deploying services on the browser which, although nice, reduced them — in my eyes — to also-ran status overnight.

Donald Pitt, Senior Director of Business Development at Samsung should be smiling brightly. I’m looking forward to seeing their first Android device hit the UK next month.

Eric Chu, Head of Google’s Android App Store has got some explaining to do. It’s widely accepted by many as a piece of bollocks. It’s certainly improving incrementally but it’s got some way to go before you could call it an App Store. A ‘list’ might be a little bit more accurate. I trust he’ll be explaining what’s coming soon.

Henri Moissinac, Director of Mobile at Facebook, deserves a round of applause. In fact I think we should aim to cheer Henri for his entire speech, continuously. Facebook has done more to push the adoption of mobile data services by the rest-of-the-planet (i.e. normobs) than almost anything else. I trust Henri will shower us with ridiculously exciting statistics about how the normobs of the planet are using FB mobile more and more.

Props to GerJar’s CEO, Ilka Laurs, who’ll be proudly explaining that his site accounts for something like 30-40m application downloads every month. GetJar’s portal has been helping hundreds of independent (and massvie) application developers get their apps into the hands of consumers, particularly those consumers without app portals on their devices. Don’t forget Patrick Mork, VP Marketing of GetJar. Patrick — another ‘good Egg’, has just moved to the Valley. If you catch him, tell him hello from me.

Jason Devitt, a MIR favourite, is CEO of Skydeck Mobile. He’ll no doubt be telling us all about Skydeck’s next generation of services. If you’re US based, you should definitely check out Skydeck.

Jason Spero is AdMob’s General Manager of North America. I reckon he’ll be focusing on their rather successful mobile application monetisation offerings — and giving us a super perspective on the mobile advertising marketplace. How many billion impressions are they serving now? I’m not sure. MIR’s mobile website earned a cool $120 last month thanks to AdMob.

I’m not quite sold on CBS Mobile yet. So if I can I’m going to pop along and watch Jeff Sellinger. We’ll see what he’s got to say. Could be good, could be good.

I’m also not sold on Qualcomm. Keith Kressin, the Senior Director of Product Management, is speaking. Go on then Keith, surprise me.

I’m hoping that Matthaus of VentureBeat has arranged for the bulletproof vest and a SWAT team on standby for Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation. It is good to see Symbian getting out and about in the valley where they are completely, wholly, massively and unreservedly irrelevant. It is laughable. I’d like to point out that I am seriously impressed, daily, at the ability of my trial Nokia N97 to run background applications whilst all the iPhone chappies here in the Valley have to keep on pressing the central-button-of-death every time they want to check their email. Or do anything. The entire Symbian offering needs a complete rewrite. Telling people in America that Symbian is the ‘most widely used operating system for mobile products and services’ doesn’t do much for them. Accurate, yes. But try getting an iPhone developer to wrap his or her head around the Symbian development framework. Yeah. Canny be done. So every success Lee. If you’re looking for a friendly face amidst the crowd at MobileBeat, you can count on me.

Luke Bao from China Mobile will, I imagine, sweep into the conference on a cloud of mobile angels. There’s not many companies that can be successfully relied upon to make the Americans completely irrelevant. China Mobile is one of them. Bring on Luke’s presentation.

Richard Wong of Accel Partners, always has something intelligent and interesting to say. It was Richard who moderated the AdMob mobile apps panel back in April. The one that generated a ton of controversy regarding iPhone developers and their perception of Nokia/Symbian as irrelevant.

Spare a thought for poor Peter Barry of Vodafone Ventures, who — at time of writing — has no profile up on the speaker list. He is a partner at Vodafone Ventures… and… well I’m sure he’s a lovely chap. He’s not on the first page of Google so I’m led to wonder whether he’s entirely irrelevant or whether Vodafone Ventures haven’t quite got the internet as yet. Let me click to page two, just in case. Nope. Let’s try ‘Peter Barry Vodafone’, that should work. Rubbish. He’s mentioned at a few conferences. I wanted you link you to his profile. Would you believe that a search for ‘Vodafone Ventures’ doesn’t return you their website? In lieu of this, here’s their email address.

OK on with the speaker list.

Russ McGuire of Sprint Nextel will, I’m sure, be telling us all about the Palm Pre success. But I’m sure he’ll also highlight Sprint’s super job at converting its customer base over to mobile data. Their Samsung Instinct device range has been particularly successful over the past year.

Sam Altman, CEO of Loopt, has got explaining to do as well. The market rumours I keep hearing aren’t entirely brilliant at all. What’s next with Loopt, Sam?

I see that Stephan Noll of T-Mobile Ventures also has no profile listed. Another faceless wonder. His LinkedIn profile is, at least, the first result on Google.

I’ve got a little bit of my heart reserved for Stephen Saltzman, Head of Mobile Investment at Intel Captial. You can always rely on Intel to chuck a bit of cash into a happening startup. I’m a particular fan of their Soonr investment. I’ll be paying attention to what Stephen’s got to say.

Steve Boom of Mig33 deserves a lot of attention for the success story that is Mig33. We’ve been following mobile instant messaging player, Mig33, for quite a while. Bring it on Steve.

Kudos to Pandora’s CTO, Tom Conrad. They’ve done a brilliant job of mobilising their music service — just, I’d like to see them leap the licensing issues preventing them launching in Europe.

Venetia Espinoza is T-Mobile USA’s Director of Product Development, Mobile Apps and Partner Programs. So she’s the lady you want to be speaking to if you’d like to do business with the operator. Likewise Will Lowry, VP of AT&T Mobility. Both of them could make you famous.

So that’s a potted list of names that popped out at me. You can browse the full list here.

See you there..

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