Portland has more than its fair share of awesome mobile app development going on. But sometimes, there’s so much, we miss out on some of the amazing things our peers are doing. That’s why Portland Web Innovators and Mobile Portland thought it might be a good idea to combine forces. So that we could see demos of cool mobile apps.
Admittedly, a great deal of what we focus on in the mobile space has to deal with commerce or entertainment. Killing two pigs with one bird and whatnot. But fact of the matter is mobile platforms provide a cost effective means of connecting people—and providing access to information which they desperately need—especially in times of crisis.
While we all find a great deal of satisfaction and entertainment in mucking with technology day in and day out, every once in awhile, it’s nice to actually do something with it. Yes, yes. Even if it’s that shiny new mobile technology.
If you ask me—not that you did but let’s just pretend—what the hottest topic in the Portland startup scene is, I would be compelled—nay obligated—to say “Mobile.” And I would probably punctuate that with something terribly intelligent like, “… duh.”
But it’s true. Portland is crazy about mobile development. As such, it has managed to carve out a community that is doing some incredibly compelling things. And one of the most interesting new facets of mobile development? Augmented reality. So it simply makes sense that Mobile Portland—the best user group for mobile types—is providing some insight into augmented reality, tonight. Read More
Last week, iPhone users were all atwitter about upgrading to use MMS, the next generation of SMS messaging that allows messages to carry a bigger payload. That means the iPhone users can finally send attachments like images and audio along with the traditional text messages.
And while the rest of the mobile handset world may be scratching their heads as to why this is big news, it’s relatively certain that this new wave of iPhone users will be jumping on the MMS format—and likely taxing the already overburdened mobile infrastructure.
[HTML3]Looking to be a little cruel to your developer friends? Ask a mobile developer when s/he is going to take her/his application cross platform. If only for the entertainment of watching the pained expression cross her/his face. Because nine times out of ten, that’s the type of reaction you’re going to get.
[HTML2]There are usually three things for which I like to claim that Portland serves as the “de facto hub“: open source, OpenID, and mobile.
And tonight, two of those worlds collide—open source and mobile—thanks to Mobile Portland and Moblin, an open source project for mobile development hosted by the Linux Foundation. And it’s not just for phones. It’s for netbooks, as well.
[HTML1]Yesterday, it dawned on me that I keep an eye on a bunch of people who work on mobile apps. I’ve covered them from time to time—most recently with the Obama for iPhone app—but I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse of some of the folks who are making things happen in the mobile app scene.
And lo and behold they just happen to be from the Silicon Forest. Go figure.
Avatron Software (Vancouver, WA)
Talk about starting off on the right foot. Avatron’s first commercial application for the iPhone, Air Sharing (NOTE: iTunes app store link), is well on its way toward becoming the most popular iPhone application, ever.
“Founded in April 2008 by Dave Howell, a six-year veteran Apple engineering manager, Avatron is a leading developer of popular applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Avatron’s Air Sharing application, downloaded by nearly one million users in its first week, has raised the bar for iPhone application design and software quality.”
For more information, visit Avatron.
Cloud Four (Portland, OR)
The folks at Cloud Four have really come into their own in the world of consulting on mobile apps—especially when it comes to things like usability. (What? You actually want people to be able to use the app?) They’ve put in some impressive (volunteer) work on the Obama for iPhone app and equally impressive (paid) work on the interface design for the Mobile Wall Street Journal app.
“But what’s remarkable about Cloud Four is not our individual talents, as extensive as they may be. It’s where we overlap that we really shine. Instead of working separately in our spheres of aesthetics and engineering, we look at the building of Web sites and applications as a cohesive process, not just a series of database views or mockups. Cloud Four is proudly based in Portland, Ore., but we serve customers worldwide.”
For more information, visit Cloud Four.
FreeRange (Portland, OR)
If any company is the “founding father” of the burgeoning Portland mobile scene, FreeRange is it. With customers like the Wall Street Journal and the Portland Trail Blazers—and one of the most impressive mobile feed readers on the market—FreeRange is sure to keep Portland associated with mobile apps for a long time to come.
“FreeRange Communications was created in 2004 because using the browser to get information on a mobile phone didn’t work so well. It still doesn’t work well enough (no offense to the wizardy of Apple’s iPhone), and it’s not likely to become really great for a very long time.“
For more information, visit FreeRange.
GoLife Mobile (Hillsboro, OR)
The folks at GoLife Mobile are working to make mobile application development and adoption easier for both developers and consumers. And by building a Java-based framework that runs on practically any handset—and in so doing allowing practically any application to run on any handset—they’re moving down the right path.
“GoLife Mobile Corporation was founded by industry veterans with the desire to create a mobile lifestyle environment that enhances how people interact with technology, each other, and the physical world around them. This is the true birth of ubiquitous computing. We foresee information flowing smoothly between ubiquitous, integrated devices and networks, seamlessly converging to provide useful, personal, context sensitive services.”
For more information, visit GoLife Mobile.
Don Park (Portland, OR)
The owner of the first—and only—Openmoko open-source phone I’ve ever seen, Don is always working to make things as open as possible. His latest project? Developing a mobile social location application for the soon-to-be-released open-source mobile platform, Android.
In his own words (via the Los Angeles Times):
“But Don Park, an independent developer in Portland, Ore., said he would focus on Android phones for his location-tracking software because he likes that openness.
“‘Phones weren’t interesting a few years ago,’ he said. ‘Now cellphones have become the new personal computer.'”
For more information, visit Don Park’s personal site.
Raven Zachary (Portland, OR)
Ever since the iPhone was introduced, Raven Zachary has been leading the thought on developing for the platform. As the creator of iPhoneDevCamp, chair of the upcoming iPhoneLive conference, and consultant to a number of iPhone developers in town and around the nation, Raven knows everything happening in the world of iPhone development—and he’s influencing a great deal of it, as well. Not only that, he served as the project manager on the Obama iPhone app, one of the most popular iPhone apps in history.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Raven has to say.
“I love the iPhone. But that shouldn’t surprise you, because 90% of people who own iPhones love theirs too. But if you look into that 90%, I’m in the .1% of those people who don’t think of it just as a lovely phone, but as some agent of change that impacts us on a deep level – makes us more connected, more informed, more a part of the global network. And, hell, it’s wicked cool.”
BONUS! Mobile Portland (Portland, OR)
If you really want to stay in tune with what’s happening in the Portland mobile development scene, there’s no better place than the Mobile Portland group. The fledgling organization also holds regular meetings to discuss topics affecting the mobile scene.
“Mobile Portland is local user group focused on mobile development. We gather on the fourth Monday of every month for presentations, discussion and networking.”
For more information, visit Mobile Portland.
As I mentioned, these are the folks I’m tracking. No doubt there are countless others I’m missing.
Has someone impressed you with their mobile development fu? Or maybe you’re a mobile developer who needs to toot his/her own horn a bit more?
Please, by all means, link it up below.