JavaExpo Madrid

I'm in Madrid for a couple of days to participate in their JavaExpo. I spent a couple of hours yesterday with a bunch of customer service engineers who where telling me about what's happening here in Spain. There has generally been an awful lot of everything, but it was real clear that the big thing that stood out for them was that this has been the year of enterprise applications on cell phones. Spain has more than 100% market penetration (i.e. more cell phones than people), of which the vast majority (>80%) are Java phones.

A lot of the cool applications have been enabled by the new generation of MIDP2 phones that have network access. One app that's become pretty popular amongst professional stock brokers is one that allows them to watch stocks and place trades from their phones - very popular over the lunch hour(s) :-)

There's a whole class applications that are for workforce communication, essentially taking the place of walkie-talkies. Cell phones work better than walkie-talkies in these applications because they're point-to-point, longer range, have better noise immunity, and they are app platforms; and they have better range and are much cheaper than WiFi PDAs. One that they discribed to me was a simple to-do list manager whose entries were things like "go to gate X to help unload plane Y at Z o'clock". It's dynamically and instantly updatable (they get updates to the phone in seconds). Another kind of entry is a broadcast like "Would someone near X do Y" which pops up a button that says "I'll do it" that when pressed cancels the request on all other phones and pops up a button that says "Done". Real simple, but if you're running something like an airport: it's real powerful.

A note about my previous post: a few people wrote in to say "huh?" about the title "1+1=i". I guess my lame attempt at geek humour was too obscure: I was commenting on people's ability (when reading stuff in the press) to add things up and get not just the wrong answer, but a wrong answer that isn't even on the number line.

June 17, 2005