Nitobi’s PhoneGap takes top spot at Web 2.0 Launchpad

Last week we wrote about Vancouver’s Nitobi participating in Web 2.0 Expo’s Launchpad today at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Techcrunch’s Jason Kincaid was there and has reported the results.

I’m at today’s Web2.0 LaunchPad, where five startups have been selected to present pitches in the keynote room of the Moscone Center. At this point the name ‘LaunchPad’ is a bit of a misnomer – companies don’t actually have to launch here to get accepted. Rather, it’s more of a place for companies to showthemselves in the public eye, in front of a crowd of VCs, members of the press, and a panel of judges. This year’s judges include VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall, Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb, and Anand Iyer of Microsoft BizSpark. Federated Media’s John Battelle is acting as the MC.

Here’s Kincaid’s summary and a couple of the questions that were fielded by the Nitobi team:

PhoneGap is a ‘cross platform for mobile applications’. There’s lots of hype around the iPhone, but there are other devices: Nokia, BlackBerry, Palm, Android, Windows Mobile. We need to write in all of these different languages. PhoneGap, you write in HTML+JavaScript, works on all of them. It’s open sourced, has native API access. Community is growing quickly. Today they released an emulator that allows developers to jump between different interfaces so they can see what their application will look like in each phone on the fly. PhoneGap is funded by Nitobi, which has been around for ten years.

Kirkpatrick: I like it. I was wondering if you could speak to what people wer saying when the Pre came out, about not being able to create heavy-duty apps.

A: I think we’ve seen that you can. TIt would be difficult to do 3D games, but for social network, etc HTML and JavaScript are more than you need.

Marshall: Any other companies doing this?j

A: Yes, there are a few doing the multiplatform approach, not aware of any that are doing HTML/JavaScript model.

After all five startups had a chance to present, a real-time audience poll awarded Nitobi’s PhoneGap with the top prize.

Congrats guys. Andre Charland is indeed one of the Digital Media People to Watch in BC in 2009.