My week in mobile: SXSW, start-up sales and a time for reflection

So, SXSW created a lot of buzz, but unlike the other big shows this year, it is more of an incubator for ideas and about forming new companies than doing the big reveals. We were very pleased to see that they have FINALLY developed Instagram for Android, and have touted that it’s better than the iPhone version. Which is rare!
There was a distinct lack of Apple alternatives in an audience full of tablet users. Although these are the tech guys, this is pretty telling of the wider problem. Today Nokia became the next player to suggest that they might be working on a competitor. Good luck.
While we were there, perhaps one of our favourite start-ups, a blogging site founded by a boy in his bedroom in Scotland made front pages in the UK as it is reportedly being sold to CNN for $200 million. From humble beginnings, Mashable’s owner Pete Cashmore has become the Brad Pitt of the blogosphere.  Probably beyond every geeky kid’s wildest dreams. But why not?
Despite little more than gimmicks coming from the event, you could get a worse job than one that involves you meeting people, partying and having dinner. And the subject of gainful employment was actually the thing that spurred the most controversy at the trade show – ‘Homeless Hotspots’.
BBH hired people who were sleeping on the streets of Austin, Texas, to wear wireless routers, giving connectivity to the wealthy and, fully-homed audience. At the very least it sparked controversy, which I’m sure it was designed to. But hearing that a man, Clarence, who lost his house during Hurricane Katrina, was one of those who’d been recruited, was really saddening.
Although highlighting the plight of homeless people to a rich crowd might not have been one of their aims, it certainly gave us something to think about upon leaving one of the world’s most indulgent cities.
Written for Somo and first published here:

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