Mobile Monday is an unusual event: half tech startup, half corporate suit. It brings together the great and the good from the London mobile scene – everyone from senior Telco network types to journalists, app developers and agencies. 

Once a month, everyone comes together at the etc. venue at CentrePoint, Tottenham Court Rd tube (although this isn’t completely reliable, so do check first).

The format is usually a panel discussion, with a broad range of participants.  Today the discussion was on the future of tablets, with participants representing Barnes & Noble, as well as the agency and journalism wings of the industry.

The format is coffee, plus an hour or two of panel discussion and questions, then drinks following.  It’s an opportunity to associate with some serious players, but it can require quite a bit of work to access the right people. The format is free-form networking, which doesn’t directly encourage new connections among the audience.  So if you don’t want to end up sitting in the corner checking your emails, you’ll have to make an effort….

To capture the entirety of a two-hour event in a few lines is pretty tricky, so without too much structure, I’ll give a few titbits to communicate the scope of the event.

One of the key takeaways for me was the gulf between Android and iOS on network type. Apparently, 70% of tablet use is on wifi for Apple’s platform, but with Android the reverse is true – with 70% of traffic on 3G. I personally can’t quite explain this, but it’s well worth knowing – and you can check the facts on Comscore if you don’t believe me…

Another interesting fact was the use time of tablets. After the ‘9pm Watershed’, tablets become dominant over ‘proper’ computers, as the nation switches off and kicks back onto the sofa. This is well worth remembering if you’re trying to format pages for time-sensitive traffic.

Turning to Barnes and Noble’s Nook, which is expected to be significant here fairly soon, we heard that the persona used in design is ‘Julie’, a 25-45 year old woman. It’s unusual to see a firm with such a clear focus on a single market segment, but it seems they know which side their bread is buttered.

Personally, I regard Microsoft as the embarrassing uncle, dancing drunk at a wedding, trying to impress the youngsters. Their software is just institutionally awful. However, Dell is currently making a strategic move to incorporate Win8 into its next-gen tablets. Whether this is a commercial disaster remains to be seen. The logic cited is that Enterpirse doesn’t ‘do’ the app store, and the Men In Grey Suits want complete control over the devices they issue to their Borg-like minions.

To finish off, one final factoid: 30% of tablet viewing is two-screen, with the TV on at the same time. So if you’re coding for a tablet audience, make sure you link in TV content strongly where relevant, and design for an audience that’s half concentrating.

In summary, I usually try to make it – so it is probably worth you coming down, too.