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Slush in Helsinki shows how to empower smartphones

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Slush in Helsinki shows how to empower smartphones

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Startup entrepreneurs gathered in Helsinki with one question – when is a mobile phone not a phone?

Startup entrepreneurs gathered in Helsinki with one question – when is a mobile phone not a phone? Why, when using an app – of course.

We are now using our handsets more and more as a ‘gate’ to access different services, such as shopping, music training, on line health check-in etc.

At the event in the Finland’s capital startups set out to show the full potential of their apps.

“Apps are really important to startups because they hold up this great promise: You can reach every single smartphone use in the world with your product. Of course, it doesn’t always really work like that, because if you think about your phone, how many apps do you really use? About five. So getting onto that homepage is so difficult, but if you can do it, it means everything,” explained Rowland Manthorpe, Associate Editor of Wired.

To keep ahead of the pack an innovative user experience is essential as is a touch of humour. ‘Yousician’, is an instrument-training app, and turns improving your guitar skills into a fun mobile game.

“It engages you. It is a gamified way to learn to play an instrument. You receive instant feedback, you can track your progress, you know how well you’re doing and where you’re heading, you feel you’re under control. And you’re having fun, you can have fun from the very first note and this is the best part of it,” said Elena Zozulya, ‘Yousician’.

Size and style is what is behind another app. Not sure what a piece of furniture will be like when you take it home? No need to worry.

“When they go to retail stores, they see a product and then typically it’s the wrong scale so they think; ‘Will this fit into my home?’ And typically the stores are huge and it’s really difficult for most human beings to just try to figure out how that will look at home, so that’s really what we try to help with,” explained Niklas Slotte, CEO of ‘Say Duck’.

And the Slush event – as it’s called – in Helsinki is itself a success story. It began in Finland with just six entrepreneurs. Now industry heavyweights like Spotify, LinkedIn and Skype attend regularly. Almost 2,500 startups were present this year.