This wednesday, I went to the Valencian web developer convention "App Trade Center". It is a 2-day-event taking place in the city's most splendorous hotel "Las Arenas", just a stone's throw away from the kilometer long sandy beach.

I saw a wide range of different speakers, and the majority was pretty decent and experienced. The talks were mostly technology related and covered topics from programming over entrepreneur secrets to commercial presentations. What follows is a summary of the talks that I considered to be most interesting.

Julián Beltrán - Google Glass

The first and probably most awaited speech was about the highly anticipated Google Glass. Julián Beltrán who is the CEO at Droiders, a Murcia based technology company specialized in building apps, gave a 30 minute overview of the product's use cases and features.

All major functionalities like taking a snapshot, looking for the closest McDonalds or sending an email to a colleague are purely controlled by voice input. This is also what makes the Glass so unique and has the potential to change peoples' lives.

As Julián said the Glass finally takes away the burden to permanently use our hands to control assistive devices and allows us to focus on the experience.

John Arnott Lynn - Generations 3.0

The talk was followed by the CEO of Grey España John Edward Arnott Lynn who introduced what he considers to be the 5 keys to success of online products, which I think can as well be regarded as abstract guidelines for the development of web pages and mobile applications:

  • Hyperconnectivity: Experiences are able to connect to other services through the network
  • People/environment relationship: Products should react intelligently to their environment
  • Multiscreen: The experience should be working on all devices
  • Ubiquity: The experience should be working in any location
  • Design as a discipline: Good user interface design is important
  • Content as a challenge: Convince your users by offering unique and compelling content

Javier Clarke - Annual study of mobile use

What followed was definitely an overload of information, but I tried to keep up with the speed of the talk and the amount of statistics provided in the slides. Javier Clarke gave a comprehensive 30 minute walk-through on the "Fifth Annual Mobile Marketing Study", conducted by the Spanish Office of Interactive Advertisting.

I have written down the facts that I considered to be most interesting, but you can also go and see the whole mobile marketing study on Slideshare.

  • Android penetrations is higher than iOS
  • Text ads have better CTR than video
  • 3G is mostly used on phones, while Wifi wins on tablets
  • Native apps beat web apps (in terms of access rates)
  • News sites are accessed more often in the browser
  • Freemium is generally more profitable than paid apps
  • Geolocation is regularly used by 21% of the users
  • Near-field-communication has very little penetration (6%)

Maximo Cavazzani - The key to success of Apalabrados

Another outstanding talk was held by the founder and CEO of the company etermax, Maximo Cavazzani. I guess this was one of the moments when everyone in the room was actually paying attention to the person on stage, first because he had an interesting story to tell, and second because he didn't use any slides. (apart from the fact that the way he speaks is very entertaining...)

He talked about the origins of his company and his time as a student, when he was desperately struggling to get things finished, until he discovered that this was actually his most critical flaw. After deciding to dedicate half a year to the development (and completion) of Apalabrados, things unexpectedly took off.

He gave many good advices on how to become better at what you're doing, such as to do one thing well or that failure isn't the consequence of lacking talent but the consequence of "not doing", but also on entrepreneurial lessons he had learned during his time at etermax, such as to "listen to your employees".

Carlos Hernández - HTML5 videogames for mobile

For those that don't believe in the power of web technologies, Carlos Hernández was going to prove you wrong. He is software engineer at the Bilbao and San Francisco based developer house Ludei.

15 million (!) is the number of downloads that their most successful mobile game "iBasket" has reached, a simple basketball simulator that is entirely based on technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript. A short demo demonstrated how accurately the developer team implemented the physics of the game, something which apart from the "one-finger-rule" can certainly be considered one of the reasons for the app's success.

Ludei even developed a JavaScript framework called "CocoonJS" for the purpose of developing and distributing games to all platforms. The most exciting feature for developers is probably the fact that it supports WebGL, something which allows for accelerated graphics on iOS and Android devices.

Conclusion

As with all conferences, spending an entire day outside of the office is always inspiring, especially when you can listen to the insights of some of the industry's important thinkers and game changers. Since many of them came to represent their company's product or services, the commercial taste of the event was unignorable, but probably necessary to provide such a stunning venue and good speakers.

During the event the attendees enjoyed free Wifi access (which occasionally collapsed) and could relax in one of the many lounge areas of the hotel. What follows are a few impressions of the event's location.