I wasn't horribly interested in the subject matter per say - the main event was getting to preview Ubuntu on mobile and tablet (yes, this is a big thing for some but I'd been following the industry enough for my job to understand that it would likely be buggy at best and no one was really watching it that closely for the sake of making a difference in the market). But it was still a chance to meet new people and hopefully more people that were like me - nerdy on the inside and maybe on the outside. At the very least I wouldn't be judged the same way I tend to feel judged at work in the design department everyday.
So I went. The theme was Davids versus Goliaths: A new set of OSs coming to challenge the incumbents. I did find this topic particularly relevant for my field, given that we are one of the Davids, so well, here goes nothing.
Needless to say some of it was interesting. There were a few intro speakers talking about developer trends, HTML5 and its trends, and then there was a panel of experts that talked about what an OS may need to make it in this marketplace (there were representatives from Mozilla and Ubuntu, the big forerunners for the Davids team in this Goliath battle, plus a guy who was previously Symbian, who I guess would be the rooter for my team...generally speaking).
What I learned was this (in a nutshell and sorry for the nerdspeak):
- Developers who planned to adopt any OS and were forward thinking showed a strong interested in W8 (Windows8) and WP (Windows Phone).
- Generally these thought that there was too much competition between iOS and Android and they were looking to move beyond all that.
- Interestingly Blackberry was third place.
- iOS definitely lead in monthly revenues for developers but not in average downloads, where Android was still the leader (this was no surprise).
- Developers use an average of 2.9 platforms, which is a shift towards diversification (which is an increase from before).
- Most developers are still prioritizing iOS over Android, even though more are developing on Android.
- Developers are motivated by personal fulfillment, not cash/fortune.
- Developer tools are a must-have for experienced developers.
- As they get more experienced they use more tools - it's seen as a competitive advantage, need tools and the ecosystem around you to be competitive.
- And finally, to be a good David and really get into the game you need:
- Good execution
- A clear market proposition
- And an ecosystem that has continuous improvements (unleash the ecosystem)
After the speakers and panel it was time to roam free, get a hell of a lot of free wine and some snacks and check out Ubuntu on phones and tablets. All of them were on the Nexus line: Galaxy Nexus, Nexus4, Nexus7, and Nexus10. Easy to root, easy to get Linux on, easy to re-image if something goes wrong.
Btw, Ubuntu is trying to attack the emerging markets side of things, cross the barrier of a lot of users still using feature phones. Makes sense and it's a good philosophy. They're using HTML5 as the gateway - something open and flexible. I want it to work but I don't believe that it will given the way of things. I have a feeling someone else larger will pick it up and run with it. I guess that's part of their plan as well. Only time will tell.