The theme this evening: entertainment and games.
First up: Henrietta Wendt, Motorola on the Z8
The smartphone market is growing faster than mobile as a whole. In EMEA most smartphones are Symbian-based. In N America RIM, Microsoft and Palm have a much higher market share. Symbian users make heavier use of multimedia (though the graph she shows make the additional usage seem incremental rather than really significant).
We watch a Motorola advert.
The Z8 is preloaded with a full film on it - The Bourne Identity. They're launching an online store to provide ringtones, wallpapers, and applications for people who like to do things on their handset. They're preloading an application built by WeComm to allow Sky viewers to record TV. There's a podcast application which takes podcasts from the PC and sideloads them onto the handset. They have a new syncing application for PCs. Namedrops Shozu.
Not much new here, really.
Tim Closs, Ideaworks 3D
Ideaworks are a gaming studio. They're doing native gaming rather than Java or Flash. Low, medium and high-end handsets are supported: ARM9, 150mhz (e.g. LGX WC8000) up to Nokia N95. High-end mobile will soon exceed the power of the PSP.
Is there a business case for native gaming, given the number of handsets out there? End of '06 there were 112 handsets available, end of '07 340 (est.), end of '08 600 (est.)
Rich games command higher price points, and offer more compelling purchases (apparently - not sure I see a link between game complexity and enjoyment myself). Handsets supporting native games tend to be owned by folks who are comfortable downloading such games.
V fragmented: port to one out of Symbian, BREW, Windows or Linux and then port to others later. Some operators don't like native downloads.
OpenKODE: an effort to abstract away underlying hardware. But err won't this incur a penalty in the same way that a VM would?
The Nokia N-Gage platform relaunching in Sept/Oct offers a much improved user experience for native mobile game downloads - lots of "try before you buy" etc.
Steve Townsend, Symbian Developer
Wanted to make a game which felt like racing, not looked like it: how you get sliding round corners when you control with a keyboard?
It's important that your opponents work on the same physics as your own car.
Oscar Clark, nVidia
"Rich media: we all know this is the soul of the machine"
Phone design is changing. The radio component is now a separate piece of the puzzle. Native gaming meets customer expectations. In a previous life, Oscar saw 26% of his revenue come from software-rendered 3D games.
Mobile media acceleration improves cameras (better quality, low power consumption); high quality video; usability (because it allows user experiences focused around discovery rather than lists).
Mixed media applications will take vector drawing, GPS, and connectedness... and produce better UIs. Better consumer experience produces content revenues. NEC 616 handset had a circular rocker but worse UI than a comparable Motorola handset, and saw 2.5x the content revenues.
OpenKODE is important because it lets you do source portability. Java was supposed to do this, but hasn't delivered the full power of it.
Gaming is 1/3 of content revenues for most operators - but it's important because if you get gaming right, you unlock all sorts of other stuff.
Bill Pinnell, Product Manager, Graphics & Gaming, Symbian
By 2008 consumers will expect slicker GUIs from devices beyond the desktop. Transparency and alpha blending is important because of context: on a mobile screen, even if high-resolution, you need to be able to know what you're doing whilst you operate in the same screen area. "Young people like eye candy".
WVGA screens need better graphics processing - and there's also often a move to 24-bit colour.
Khronos API allows hardware manufacturers to target a single platform as well as software developers.
DRM for video won't go away as easily as DRM for audio.
An example: hardware which scales video and funnels onto the screen to avoid software having to get involved with this.
Concept videos. Look *really* Apple-y, nice though.