CES and the AT&T Developer Summit
I always love the start of the year. Not only is it NFL playoffs time, but also CES and the AT&T Developer Summit. For those who are not aware of our summit, we have held this the day before CES the last few years. The idea was that developers could come and learn about our new APIs and focus areas on Monday and then enjoy the show at CES which this just so happens to also benefit me and my love for gadgets and devices.
As far as the AT&T Developer Summits, I really believe this was our best one yet. We started on Saturday with our hackathon. With 28 hackathons under our belt for 2012 we have been getting good at organizing them and were able to attract 472 developers. It was incredible seeing all of the work getting done and it resulted in over 70 application pitches and some really amazing apps. The three overall finalists appeared again in keynote, where Ruggero Scorcioni won with his super cool Cat Ears hack.
There were a few big announcements in the keynote on Monday. Ralph de la Vega introduced Digital Life, Connected Car, and ISIS initiatives. David Christopher introduced some developer-centric plans including the webRTC Call Management API Alpha—that featured the demo by Myanumber which allows customers to use (and just need to remember) one mobile number to more easily take and manage calls on any device. I expect many other carriers to follow. Also introduced was our Alpha API Program, where we want our APIs to be developer-driven.
Our Digital Life announcement fit in well with one of the themes I saw at CES. This year was less about big cell phone announcements and much more about smart devices in the home. Every major OEM seemed to have intelligent washing machines and televisions that can manage other devices. One of the challenges for OEMs is the proprietary nature of the approaches—are users looking to purchase all of their home furnishings from Samsung or LG? It will be good when there are some standards because this technology is definitely interesting (I can see in five years when I will not need to get off the sofa at all).
Connected Car is another really interesting area. At our summit, GM helped sponsor the hackathon and gave away a Chevy Volt, which is an incredible prize. This is clearly a great area for devs to be looking at. Ford opened up a developer site and I understand they had 10k developer registrations the first day. I think there is both opportunity for existing apps—where customers want to access and use these apps anyplace—along with new, disruptive apps that great devs will come up with. What is fascinating as this evolves is what Google is doing with their driverless car. The car has already been autonomously driven over 300k miles (three states allow this). It seems that if this does take off that it offers a ton of additional app opportunities. For any devs who feel stifled by application store crowding, I would certainly be looking closely at Digital Life and Connected Car (and I should also add, NFC).
What were your favorites of the Summit or CES this year? Post your comments below.