Arabnet urges regional developers to lead change
Beirut, March 22, 2011
Arabnet Digital Summit kicked off on Tuesday at Habtoor Hotel in Beirut with nearly a thousand delegates registered for the event.
On its first day, Arabnet gathered developers from around the Arab world for a ‘Developers Day.’
Founder of Arabnet Omar Christidis, started the day by welcoming the developers and said 974 people had registered for the conference.
“Arabnet is a forum for executives to meet and a platform for entrepreneurs to launch their ideas,” he added.
Developers Day, according to Christidis, is a day when different developing companies come under one roof to meet people from different companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft and others, and discuss a range of different subjects.
"We feel that developers are building the web, we want to make sure that you have the knowledge of cutting edge trends and that you are connected to the people in business," he said.
The first panel on ‘Mobile Platforms’ discussed the market, apps, developers and opportunities in the Mena region.
Gilles Fayad, director of VAS, Middle East and Africa, Qualcomm, said the infrastructure for mobile platforms is improving. However, the progress was not homogeneous across the region. He added that the search for data plans in the region has increased by 200 per cent lately.
According to Fayad, Saudi Arabia has highest usage of video usage, and is the number one broadband community in the Arab world, highlighting the importance of Facebook, twitter and YouTube in making this growth happen. “Social networking is our DNA," he pointed out.
“You don’t need to follow, you can lead,” Qualcomm director told the developers, “we don’t want to be ‘me too,’ just have the user experience, and seek opportunities.”
On Amazon’s new application, Fayad advised developers to take advantage of the opportunity and said Amazon sold e-books in 3 months more than they ever sold hard covers in 15 years.
Rob Janas, VP and managaing director, Europe and Middle East, InMobi, said the Middle East has achieved 25 per cent growth in mobile smart phones usage in February.
He described the situation in the Mena as changing as people are buying applications more. He also highlighted the importance of Arabic content in apps and said that in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, 70 per cent and 80 per cent of searches are made in Arabic.
Ghassan Chahine, DPE Lead, Lebanon and NEPA – IM, Microsoft said his company has sold 2 million devices in 2 months and is working with 30,000 developers in the market and has produced 10,000 applications until now.
He added that this company has launched yallapps.com to support developers in the Mena who do not have access to the market place. They just have to submit their windows app, he said.
William Kanaan, new business development manager, Mena, Google, said his company was committed to the region and that android has already launched free apps in the Middle East.
Kanaan added that paid apps for the Middle East were coming soon, without specifying a time frame. – TradeArabia News Service