Orange Code Camp Spurs Mobile Apps

During the first U.S. Based Orange Code Camp, some 250 devs received NDA-caliber updates from Symbian, Microsoft, Palm, Research in Motion among others. And, Orange received some 110 new mobile application candidates for their growing catalogue. See how Orange, one of the largest mobile carriers in Europe and Asia, is helping mobile developers bring solutions to market.

Tags: Orange Code Camp, Developers, Mobile, Mobile Apps, Applications, Handsets, Symbian,

Last week, Orange held its first "Orange Code Camp" in North America, where some 250 devs received NDA-caliber updates on tools, handsets and infrastructures from Symbian, Microsoft, Palm, Research in Motion among others. In addition, devs brought some 110 in-work proposals for new mobile apps, for review during the Orange Code Camp.

For Orange, one of the largest mobile carriers in Europe and Asia, the idea behind Orange Code Camp is simple: Help U.S. and Canadian developers and ISVs tap into exploding worldwide mobile apps businesses for enterprise IT and consumer markets.

Despite having no carrier footprint in North America, Orange execs say U.S. and Canadian devs are a rich source of new ideas for mobile content and applications for its European and Asian GSM and CDMA global networks. "This Orange Code Camp was our first in the big event on in North America, which is an important market for us even though we don't offer services here," said Steve Glagow, director of the Orange Partner developer program.

Developers received several key take-aways during the Orange Code Camp, including:

  • Market Trend and Insights: Real world data on user habits and adoption trends among mobile users, highlighting "hot" opportunities for mobile applications development and important differences between the U.S. and overseas markets.
  • Mobile Architectures - Campers learned about what are some of the baseline configuration and app profile issues that make a successful mobile app.
  • Latest Technologies: Briefings on the use of Microsoft's Mobile 2 Market, Symbian OS v8 and v9; Palm OS' MIDIlets, Open Source Eclipse for mobile development, and a look at some of the newest protocols for mobile apps (including SIP, VoIP) and even how to use SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) for better customer experience/GUI work.

  • Why hold an Orange Code Camp for US and Canadian developers and ISVs, when Orange infrastructure is solely in Europe and Asia? "Developers here are very important to us," Glasgow said. While today our developer base is smaller in the Americas than in other regions, we have a higher percentage of applications for our [mobile apps catalogue] coming from this group of developers than anywhere else," he added.

    And the inventory kept flowing during Orange's Code Camp. "Many of the 110 applications that were brought to Orange Code Camp were well-along the way to completion," Glagow said, "But many developers with yet-to-be-completed applications also brought partially-completed code to the event and wrapped up their work here. This was one of the goals of Orange Code Camp - to let developers get ideas from our partners, and other developers, on how to complete their application."

    The next Orange Code Camp is coming Oct 15-17 in Opio France (at Club Med). There, Orange is inviting mobile application devs, games publishers and content providers to learn more about offering their mobile apps and/or content to Orange's customer base of some 60 million mobile subscribers. Orange Code Camp offers more than 70 sessions that look at all aspects of developing and commercializing mobile solutions. Attendees also will be able to code and test your products against the Orange networks and devices at the on-site Orange Code Camp developer centre, as well as talk with the experts to get one-to-one advice, technical and commercial support…on the issues that have been bugging you. Get more information on Orange Code Camp - Opio, France.

    How U.S. Developers Benefit from Orange Code Camp
    Mobile Digital Media is a mobile ISV based in Plano, Texas, that builds mobile apps for the Symbian OS. One of their business mobile apps received special attention from Orange Code Camp. MDM's application enables cellphone users blend "live conferencing" with sharing/updating desktop-based Microsoft Office apps - while on the road, said Craig Senick, MDM's director of business development. "We think of it as a webinar on a handset," Orange's Glagow said. "The broadband technology [Mobile Digital] allows the end user to communicate simultaneously by voice, and send data at the same time."

    For Orange and MDM, Orange Code Camp was a unique opportunity for the U.S-based developer and Orange execs and partners to all meet and discuss prosepcts for testing, deployment and large-scale rollout of such an application.

    "Orange works as an intermediary [between the developer and the mobile handset/tools firm]," Glagow said. "so we support all those operating environments, and we give developers [and ISVs] access to those organizations. And, while their developer programs (Nokia, Sony Ericsson etc) offer OS-specific information of interest to the developer, we show developers how to build or adapt their applications for Orange's 25 specially-designed handsets, and there by greatly expand their return on their investment. We want to make it easy for developers to understand any special things we require, and we want to have ways to share this know-how with the entire community," Orange's Glasgow added.

    Inside MDM's Quickoffice, "Webinar on a Handset" Mobile App
    The Orange Code Camp award-winning "webinar on a handset" concept is an upgrade to MDM's existing Quickofficeapplication, which lets mobile workers connect to their Microsoft Office documents (Excel, Powerpoint or Word) from the road. The application is written in C++ and runs on the Symbian OS, Senick said.

    MDM's Quickoffice started out as a Palm OS application, the company quickly found some strong opportunities with Symbian. "While Symbian may not have a big footprint in the U.S., Symbian is a dominant platform in Europe and is making significant inroads into Asia. The mobile applications business is a global business, and so we want Quickoffice to be on all the high-volume handsets," Senick added.

    Senick added that working with Orange gives MDM some extra technical, distribution and overall customer research support that his company can benefit from. "We've only been a partner with Orange for 3-4 months, and never been to an Orange Code Camp until now, but already we are seeing some big benefits," Senick said.

    "Orange is helping us get our Quickoffice application into their distribution channel, which will greatly help us as a company. And, also Orange is sharing their technical and market demand information on where they would like to go as a company, and how apps like ours can help. Moving into Java more aggressively is one area where Orange would like to go, and we are also looking at that."

    Orange's whole concept of developer support is to offer a combination of online and offline experiences that help instruct and train developers of the latest technologies, but also incubate ideas for new applications and share customer research and mobile user adoption trends, Glagow added.

    "Through Orange live in-person events, such as the Orange Code Camp, as well as portals, webinars and such, our goal is to provide our partner community with information, technical support and feedback on their work. It's all about getting more good ideas into good applications," he said. For more on Orange Code Camp, visit the wesbite.