3logo I spent an interesting and enjoyable couple of hours at mobile operator 3‘s UK headquarters in Maidenhead last week in the company of a handful of bloggers and some executives from 3.

Arranged by Parys Communications, one of 3’s PR agencies, the meeting was an informal get-together to exchange some views and hear 3’s thoughts about their plans for 2008.

I have a connection with 3 as I’m one of the group of bloggers and journalists who are trying out 3’s new Skypephone. The phone’s on free loan for three months courtesy of 3. I’ve already written a bit about the Skypephone and I may well write more in future.

So, to the meeting.

An immersion into a disruptive company’s business thinking, is how I might summarize it. We heard thinking and received detailed information on the types of handsets 3 might be offering during 2008 plus a glimpse into 3’s roadmap ahead.

Adam Davis, 3’s Head of Marketing and Product Management, is a man whom every gadget geek would envy as he pulled from his case prototype phone after phone from Nokia and Sony Ericsson that may end up in 3’s handset lineup.

Much of the talk was about the Skypephone and 3’s plans for it next year.

It’s quite apparent that 3 want this phone to be a big market success. Indeed, they said the greatest attention will be given to improving aspects of the Skypephone such as a better camera, HSDPA connectivity and maybe the ability to make and receive SkypeOut and SkyepeIn calls respectively.

The latter is extremely interesting. I wonder what we’ll see there. If you can make and receive low-cost calls via Skype to and from normal phone numbers, where’s any incentive to use the Skypephone to make regular calls via 3’s cellular network?

While we were talking about the Skypephone, I took the opportunity (somewhat cheekily, I admit) to go on a bit about the very poor coverage of 3’s 3G network where I live, which is the place where I most use the Skypephone.

Not sure what will come from that although Carl Taylor, Director of Network and Application Technologies for 3’s X-Series phones, did ask me questions. Maybe a new cell mast for 3 in my neighbourhood is in the offing :)

Reality, though: the success or otherwise of the Skypephone will rest to a great extent on a user’s ability to just use it. If you can’t get a 3G signal most of the time – my experience, and you need 3G for Skype to log in and synchronize – this phone will not succeed.

Ken Young, a journalist and one of the bloggers who was there and who writes The UK Mobile Report, has an excellent commentary on the meeting, recounting and describing just about every aspect of it, and in some detail.

My overall focus was a bit different to Ken’s and the other bloggers, all of whom are immersed in mobile technology and the telecoms industry.

I was mostly thinking about the meeting, the people involved and what it might mean to 3 from a public relations point of view.

Better still, from a blogger relations point of view.