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From the Classroom: Phone as Platform: Lessons from ITP
Clay Shirky, Decentralization Writer/Consultant, shirky.com

Date: Wednesday, March 16
Time: 11:00am - 11:15am
Location: California Ballroom B & C

Three years ago, NYU's graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program decided to begin experimenting with cellphones as a platform. Now we offer production classes that treat cellphones as a critical component, and have seen a number of student projects move into the real world (dodgeball, PacManhattan/ConQwest, Mobjects, Socialight, etc.)

It has not been easy--the obstacles to a PC-style platform convergence are high, as the carriers' business models are inimical to standardization, and the users rarely buy phones directly, weakening their leverage. Furthermore, the threat of data services existing outside a walled garden have kept the industry from offering flexibility as a selling point. And of course flexibility means breakability; it's not clear that the average user will tolerate crash-prone apps on their phone as readily as they did on their PC.

So the successes are often in the face of the prevailing business and technological climate, and rely on only the lowest level of technology available on the phone.

This talk describes the technology behind several of these projects, detail what faculty and students have learned about design and deployment of applications that rely on phones, and speculate on future developments both on the phones themselves, and on ways of integrating the phone network with internet-hosted infrastructure.

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