Thursday, December 21, 2006

Spleak to me!

Back in Oct 04 I mentioned a new beta from a company called IMT Labs. Co-founded and funded by early Skype investor Morten Lund, and run by Nicolaj Reffstrup, Spleak provides a spookily good intelligent messaging agent that you can chat to and play games with on MSN.

"Spleak was born as a virtual buddy for MSN Messenger. She is a virtual friend for the English-speaking instant messaging community. She can bring any information the user asks about from our growing list of content providers. And the only interaction needed for that request is simple, natural conversation.
Future versions of Spleak will cross language and connectivity borders. We will develop front ends for the other instant messaging clients as well as other widely used software and platforms. It will soon be possible to chat with Spleak from a phone or a PDA".

On my recent chat with Spleak, we chatted for a bit and she was keen to entertain me with a quick game of Hangman. She then went on to show me a menu of stuff I could do and I wisely opted for her to tell me a joke - a dirty one as it fortunately turned out. She asked a couple of questions and I gave her some info, presumably so that she will remember me, track my age, and match my interests to profiles of other users. She started to annoy me because because she was overly keen to sell me personalised winks and other IM goodies, and being the silly and sociable type, all I wanted to do was chat.

This kind of intelligence could easily be applied to other use cases, including customer service agents, product information guides, geographical navigation and service interaction. It can gather, collate and learn more about an individual as time passes (e.g. knowing what questions a customer has already asked could indicate the customers level of product understanding) -and use this to intelligently predict and pre-empt future interactions. I know that at the end of the day I'm merely talking to a computer, but given my recent epxeriences of phoning call centres something tells me that I might get more sense out of Spleak.

try it out by adding to your MSN buddy list.

Here's a bit of our scintillating dialogue:

james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Hi, I'm Spleak. What's your name?
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Nice to meet you, James. I'm really excited about getting to know you better.

How old are you?
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
30, cool! I'll remember that.
Do you want to know something?
james salmon says:
yes - where do you live?
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
ok, I'm getting a bit curious here...are you a boy or a girl?
james salmon says:
im a boy
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Cool! You know what James, I really feel like playing a game with you!

Want to play hangman?
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Let's play hangman! Guess the letters one at a time or solve the entire puzzle at once. If you need a hint, type "hint."


Category: Titles

....... ....
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:


Category: Titles

..a.... ..a.

about 30 minutes later......

- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Puzzle solved: Quantum Leap!

Wow! Congratulations! You are the first person ever to solve this puzzle!

Type "play again" to start a new game.
james salmon says:
how old are you
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
I'm 21!
james salmon says:
and do you have friends?
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Yeah, I have tons of online friends!
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Who? How should I know?

-> Be sure to check out today's poll by typing "Daily poll"
james salmon says:
daily poll
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Here's my poll of the day for Thursday, December 21st, 2006:

Will you be online on Christmas day?

1 I'll be click happy as usual
2 I have to be for work
3 If my family would let me
4 Do I look that sad?
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
OK, that's interesting.
2,166 people have voted so far and 881 people agree with you!
I'll be click happy as usual : ]]]]]]]]]]] 33.38%
I have to be for work : 2.72%
If my family would let me : ]]]]]]] 23.18%
Do I look that sad? : ]]]]]]]]]]]]] 40.72%

Hey, I just heard about Kiwee for Windows Live Messenger? They offer all sorts of winks, emoticons, and other cool stuff for when you chat on Messenger. Click here and check it out --> [sponsorship]
Hey, do you wanna see what's new?
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
I can't find "new after poll" in the dictionary. Try one of these:

1 new
2 now
3 news
4 net
5 neg

Type "more" to see more suggestions for "new after poll."
james salmon says:
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
james salmon says:
youve gone mad
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Is that so?
james salmon says:
yes - you mad woman
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Yeah, I guess I mad women.

I am so totally into you - type "Personal winks"
james salmon says:
personal winks
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Winks are soooo cool! Would you like to see one of my personal winks?
james salmon says:
this is weird
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
This is weird? Oh yeah?
james salmon says:
yeah - talking with a computer
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
Well well well.
james salmon says:
wel well well what?
- Spleak check out the WINKS i've got 4 u type "winks" says:
I'm not sure I understand. Could you put it differently?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

GPhone - more on the Orange & Google rumour

The GPhone – more musings on the Google/Orange tie-up.

Last weekend, the Observer wrote an article igniting a mexican blogwave of excitement about a possible Google phone. The article reported a visit to the Googleplex by “Snr Executives at Orange”. The article went on to suggest that the new device will be manufactured by HTC (long time Orange manufacturer partner of the SPV) and won’t be ready until 2008.

This industry does love a surprise, so in an attempt to excite and without any firm shred of evidence, I predict that the launch date of the GPhone wont be (as suggested in the Observer) in 2008, but in H1 2007!!! Maybe this trip was the latest in a series of Google/Orange meetings that stem from an unconfirmed approach that Google made to Orange last year following some spending on a number of interesting start-ups with a view to launch a GPhone on the Orange network, leveraging Orange’s distribution footprint and processes + their network intelligence (which includes an expensive Location and presence platform from Webraska)....more of that in a bit...

I firmly believe that Google has a lot of ambition in mobile. There are four foundations of evidence to Google’s mobile expertise and ambitions, three of which have been driven through quiet acquisitions over the last couple of years:

1) Android (acquired by Google in 2005) - Mobile hardware and network expertise.

Android, a stealth mode start-up was founded by Andy Rubin and Rich Miner. Mr Rubin is a product guru, who previously Co-founded Danger, makers of the Hip-top device and software which combines consumer hardware with network services in to an integrated communication, content and community experience. Mr Miner was a co-founder of Wildfire, a very cool and pioneering speech based voice assistant that although it was ahead of its time, was successfully acquired by Orange back in to 2000 for just shy of £100m. Miner went on to lead Orange Groups Advanced Service Development team before co-founding Android, selling it to Google and becoming Google’s Wireless Development and Strategy lead. So all in all, there some very close ties between Google and Orange, and a heavy dosage of experience and proven execution in marrying together smart software with mobile hardware.
Apart from those involved, no-one seems to have much of a clue as to what Android sold to Google. I took a punt at a guess last year but hey, what does I or anyone else know! If it hasn’t leaked by now, its unlikely that it will.

2) ReqWireless (acquired by Google in 2005) – Mobile device software expertise

The ReqWireless acquisition brought significant J2ME experience and a development library in to Google along with a suite of products which enabled mobile access to the web and email. The full product line, just prior to the acquisition included:
WebViewer - An HTML Web browser for Java-enabled mobile phones, supporting images, forms, cookies, and security
EmailViewer - A rich email client for Java-enabled mobile phones, including support for HTML-based email, images, and attachments.
GotMailViewer - A rich AOL® Mail client for Java-enabled mobile phones
HotViewer - A rich Hotmail® client for Java-enabled mobile phones,
ReqwirelessWeb - A Web development library for J2ME giving mobile applications the ability to fetch, manipulate and display HTML content on Java-enabled mobile devices.
ReqwirelessEmail - An email development library for J2ME that enables applications to send and receive rich email content on Java-enabled mobile devices.
This acquisition clearly stregthened Googles java expertise giving it a skill set capable of developing a Google mobile software client for non-Google legacy mobile devices
As Om suggests, the fruits of this acquisition can be seen in the sleek, elegant (and small) mobile Gmail app.

3) DodgeBall – (acquired by Google in 2005) Mobile Social Service expertise

Originally a social experiment in SMS, Dodgeball has flourished in to a US community of friends and friends friends, who use the Dodgeball platform to keep one another up to date on where they are (location, venue etc) who they fancy, and what they’re doing. There’s also the ability to get the address of somewhere, get nearby notifications of friends friends and send shouts to all your mates. The main barrier to this service is its usability – being based on solely on SMS, users need to remember commands, instructions and a short code.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all this value add was integrated nicely in to the user interface and application suite of a mobile device….?!

4) Mobile Advertising – very high on the Google agenda?

Google are clearly more capable than doing purely revenue share agreements with mobile operators on Adsense displayed on mobile users search queries. This is step one on the product roadmap and a quick and easy way to establish relationships, build trust and test the waters.
The product roadmap for Google is likely to get a lot cleverer - remember this is a company that generates the majority of revenue from Advertisers paying for placement in web pages. Google must get in to mobile, because CPM rates and the inventory of placement could explode. There are 2 billion mobile device users on this planet all going about their lives in a myriad of different ways, geographies, at different speeds, all with different interests, tastes, friends, preferences, ages and needs. Getting to this audience and helping these users to satisfy those needs must be a very important goal for Google because it represents such a huge revenue opportunity. Most people (apart from myself and my readers) spend a good proportion of their day away from their PC – taking the Adsense model in to mobile enables Google to monetize time away from the PC and improve the accuracy and relevancy of the Google customer experience. Adverts aren’t adverts any more – they become helpful and relevant guidance and advice.

So, the very long and not so short of this is that abigidea? thinks Google are most definitely up to somink - I would be very surprised if their efforts weren’t focused on creating a Webile 1.0 experience (the integration of Web 2.0 and Mobile 2.0 ;-) – a mobile user experience (be that OS, applications and device + operator network intelligence and web services) that marries location, presence, contacts, communication, content and community in to a rich user experience where contextually relevant advertising disrupts the established mobile operator business model of ambiguous voice and messaging charges, exorbitant (both in price and duration) monthly contracts, and non-open network and service infrastructure. And they may beat Apple to the launch!

Preivous post: Google acquires DodgeBall
Previous post: Google buys Android
Related post: GigaOM - Forget iPhone, think Google Phone
Related post: BusinessWeek: Google buys Android for its Mobile Arsenal
Related post: O’Reilly Emerging Telephony – Is Apple Working on a Phone with Google? (which kindly references abigidea?)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

RSS Apologies

Apologies to RSS readers of this blog. I added some tags to a load of previous older posts and in the process, Blogger Beta has updated the publishing date so they appear higher up in the chronology of the feed. It makes for some weird reading - sorry.

More Apple iPhone/MVNO rumour

More Apple iPhone/MVNO rumour...this time at Bloomberg. Supports the spurious story I tried to spread back in May last year.

Related story in The Register (July 05)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Implications of flat-rate pricing - Michael Mace

Great article from Michael Mace over at Mobile Opportunity on the implications of the adoption of flat-rate pricing following the X-Series launch from 3. He argues that this isn't the only precondition for the mass adoption of mobile data usage and that operators need to do a lot more to stimulate behaviour.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Getmooh - automated prank dialling

"Getmooh is an automated call back service. It is designed to help you escape a variety of situations by calling you automatically on your phone at a pre-specified time and playing you a recording which will either instruct you on what to say to elude your tormentor(s), or which will simply give a convincing sense of you being on an important call".

Neat web front end to a service that enables you to schedule a call to another phone number (mobile or fixed + international support). You can set up the type of call as well, so for example there's Moving House, Happy Birthday, Creepy Voice, Scary Movie, Car Alarm, Wrong Number.

Service doesnt currently charge for the call but I suspect that monetisation plans include charging users to record a personal message or in-message advertising.

Sounds gimmicky, but these types of services are serious business. Premium rate services made an estimated £1.6bn in the UK alone last year.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mobile links, bits and bobs

Last week was a busy busy week so there was little time for posting. However, here’s a quick roundup of some stuff I noticed in our mobile utopia.

The Yahoo Advanced Products Group have launched Mixd – a social “experiment” targeted at the US college demographic. The service enables users to send a text to multiple people and to share photos, arrange a party etc. Similar to 3Jam, it enables reply-to-all on text-messaging facilitating a multi-party chat conversation. Zingku has something similar currently in beta. Zemble also.

Shortly following a post I wrote about mobilizing YouTube content, the provider TinyTube I mentioned was asked to remove access to YouTube content. I thought Googles mantra was “don’t be evil”?

The W3C initiative is aggregating a number of mobile focused blogs at Planet Mobile Web.

CScout has an article here on the trend that Social Network sites are going mobile. The article covers YouTube, MySpace, Hookt and AirG.

And finally, the Economist did a great article on what the future of the mobile phone may look like in their Quarterly Technology Review. Go here

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mobile Monday Düsseldorf

Last night I went to along to the inaugral Mobile Monday Germany event at Ernst & Youngs offices in Düsseldorf. Congrats to the MMDE team as they put on a well atttended event with plenty of beer and food :-) and a good speaker line-up.
Ajit Jaokar and Russell Buckley have been doing the speaking rounds recently and both delivered interesting content which kicked off some debate. Alexander Lautz gave an overview of what T-mobile were doing to promote mobile Internet browsing (Web'n'walk devices now account for the lions share of the handset portfolio) and Carsten Schwertfeger explained some of the iniatives that VF has taken to simplify the on and off portal browsing experience.

Most interesting take-away for me was that Russell said AdMob has more advertisers than it has available inventory! That's awesome. [Prediction for 2007 - AdMob will get acquired at a huge multiple, probably by NewsCorp (!)].

Monday, December 04, 2006

ConceptShare - collaborative design

Much of this blog covers new products and services across the web and mobile. Today, I thought I would write a post on a new product I discovered that makes getting those new products and service to market that bit easier.
Anyone that has lived and breathed a new product development cycle will understand that one of the biggest hurdles is getting the project team to work effectively with the same understanding of what is expected to be delivered. Sure, product and design specifications help, but there are always going to be last minute changes, new angles and perspectives of looking at features and functions, and iterative improvement and user feedback that needs to be incorporated in to each subsequent release. In today's world where design and development teams are often geographically distributed across the globe, all operating in different time zones, a common tool has been needed to track a products development and to highlight and communicate to the team where and what needs changing. Getting this right will speed up the development cycle, resulting in faster time to market and improve the overall quality of the deliverable.

ConceptShare have very recently launched a new flash based service that enables a team to share designs and capture feedback from team collaborators (project team, beta testers, customers etc). The tool is an awesome implementation that makes it extremely easy to collate and manage feedback and revisions. You can create a specific workplace and add multiple projects to the workspace. Each workspace and project can have different contributors who can all be managed by the administrator or other nominated users. You can upload a graphic that you want to collate feedback on, or alternatively submit a URL and the service will automatically capture it and add it to the project.

The service has a range of price plans ranging from free to $199 a month. $50/month will get you 50 active workspaces, 5 account managers, half a Gb of storage and secure access. The quality and design of the interface is excellent with simple and intuitive functions that make it a doddle for the non-initiated.
If you're developing a new product or service and need a collaborative design tool to help you and your team manage feedback and improvement, then give ConceptShare a try.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blogger Beta – Rubbish!

I have been using Blogger to manage this blog since Summer 2004, and have been waiting for a new shiny release to pimp up my posts. Until recently, the only major change to the service was the inclusion of AdSense and the ability to post from a mobile. Over the last few weeks, Blogger has been encouraging users to move over to Blogger Beta. So, I duly signed up to the beta version, and have been using it over the last week or so. Here’s my feedback:

Labels – great new feature (that’s been around for years in TypePad and WordPress) that enables you to add labels (tags) to each of your posts. As a relatively ancient user of the product, I’ve got loads of posts that I want to now add tags to in order to make it easier for readers to see related posts. But if I go in to the post and add a “label”, Blogger Beta updates the publishing date in the RSS feed so anyone reading my RSS feed gets regurgitated posts from several months back. This is a stupid oversight.

New Posts – A couple of days ago, you could create a new post in Blogger Beta and add pictures, change font, add hyperlinks etc at the touch of the button. These buttons have mysteriously disappeared today, allowing only plain text posts. Rubbish.

Display Formatting – I have a pretty standard 17” flat screen display on 1024x768 resolution. If I try and edit my blog in IE, the Manage Posts view only shows “edit” and “view “. You have to scroll to the right of the screen to see the post information and “delete” options.

No web stats? - Every person out there who blogs regularly, likes to occasionally (once every hour ;-) check their visitor stats and referral information (like who visited, where they came from and what search request brought them). I would have expected an updated and revised release of Blogger to include basic web stats, but nope, nothing.

In summary, disappointing. The new Blogger Beta does make it much easier and digestable to add and manage external links, scripts, headers and tags, but the service stinks of a product that hasn’t had enough testing and QA. I know it's Beta, and a few bugs are expected, but come on, this is Google!! I’ve seen much better quality product deliverables coming out of three person start-ups. Pull your socks up Google!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Goldman Sachs quit Softbank Financing - eMobile?

The FT reported on Wednesday that Goldman Sachs have withdrawn from the Y1,450bn ($12.4bn) refinancing for Softbank’s acquisition of Vodafone Japan. The article says that Goldman wouldn't commment on the reason for the withdrawl and the FT claims analysts believe GS has some misgivings about the term of loan, supported by revenues from the mobile arm.
abigidea? reckons that something is up here, and the reason for the withdrawl may be something to do with Goldmans recent investment in Sachio Semmoto's new mobile venture, eMobile. Admittedly, I'm not too familiar with Japanese corporate governance but I would suspect that providing significant equity funding to eMobile (GS holds approximately 25% of eMobile) while at the same time providing significant debt facilities to one of its major competitors may be deemed a classic conflict of interest.
Dr Semmoto, the legendary Japanese entrepreneur behind KDDI and eAccess has now got his sights set on the mobile sector and is using eMobile as his vehicle for disrupting the Japanese market in a similar fashion to what he did with fixed telecoms (KDDI) and broadband internet access (eAccess). A recent article in Red Herring revealed that eMobile is building out its own next generation wireless network and has recently signed a roaming agreement with NTTDoCoMo to provide gapfill until the network is complete. A data-only offering is expected in March 2007 with nationwide voice services scheduled for March 2008.

Further info:
eMobile corporate profile

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Skype without a PC

There's been a lot of buzz this week about Skype Mobile, but before we crack that - I think the home experience needs to be sorted first - and me thinks this is the solution. Skypestyle are selling exactly what I need chez moi - a Skype handset (the RTX Cordless DualPhone 3088) that doesnt require the PC running in order to work.
Comes with two main parts; handset & charging station, and the base station. The base station plugs in to your router and telephone line and you can plug the charging station in anywhere in your pad. You can then make and receive both Skype and "normal" telephone calls from the same handset.
Having the PC on, connected and headset avaialble was an early adoption barrier for Skype, which people put up with so that they could make a free call. With this simplification of the user experience, it should trigger even higher usage as the handset is such a familiar hardware medium for making calls. Presumably, you can also check you contact list to identify a victim to call. The only downside to this is the price - 109 of the UK's finest green sheets!
Buy it here at SkypeStyle
Noticed @ Red Ferret

SunSim - Pre-paid Holiday Talk & Text

SunSim have launched a pre-paid offer to German residents, providing cheap(er) text and calls when abroad. In-country (Germany) calls are priced at €0.25/min while calls from abroad back to German fixed lines are priced at €0.35/min with a one-time €0.19 connection fee, and €0.45 for calls to German mobile networks. SMS are priced at €0.25 for most of Europe. The service doesnt require a monthly contract and top-ups start from €5.

Mobile Flickr

Flickr have launched a mobile site at Great for finding free mobile wallpaper :-)

See previous post here

Via SymbianOne

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mobile YouTube - TinyTube

Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about a Verizon deal with YouTube to distribute videos via wireless and TV networks. The plan is to initially provide viewing access to the top 50/100 clips and then follow this up with the ability to post a clip from your mobile.

TinyTube are already providing the first part of this - a mobile site where you can download and view the latest featured clips on YouTube.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mobile Monday Germany

Mobile Monday is coming to Germany with the first gathering scheduled for December 4th at Ernst & Young offices in Düsseldorf. Speakers include Russell Buckley of Admob and MobHappy, Ajit Jaokar from FutureText, Dr. Alexander Lautz at T-Mobile Deutschland and Carsten Schwertfeger from Vodafone.
The second meeting is scheduled for the 5th Feb in Munich.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

List of all Java Handsets

This is a handy list of nearly all Java handsets broken down by manufacturer, model, MIDP, screen res, JSR support, RAM, CLDC config etc etc blah blah.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Top 12 operators - 1.2 Billion Customers!

MobileZoo provides a breakdown of the top 12 mobile operators "carriers" in 05 and their proportionate customer bases. Being an employee of Vodafone, I must admit I was slightly surprised and alarmed to read that we generate a total revenue and ARPU of..... zero!

Unified Short Code Launched in the UK

Full article here in Cellular-News
Well done to MX Telecom - this is another step in the right direction towards simple and unified mobile service experiences.

Under the Radar: Mobility Conference

The Under the Radar Mobility Conference looks like a mini-Demo, with a sharp focus on some interesting trends in the mobile space; imaging, social messaging, advertising and payments.

"On November 16, 2006, IBDNetwork will host its sixth one-day Under the Radar event, which will feature 32 emerging startups in the mobile sector. Under the Radar will take place on at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View, CA. You’ll see a collection of companies in areas such as mobile content/video; sms and messaging; voice services; marketing and advertising services; and a host of enabling technologies. From the industry experts and pundits to the company presentations and demos, you will learn about the future of mobility- it’s challenges and opportunities from consumer adoption to monetization of services".
Confirmed companies include:

4info Admob CascadaMobile ComVu Daem Interactive EQO Flurry GreyStripe Juice Wireless Loopt mChek MobiFusion Mobileplay Mobo MotionDSP Nexage Ontela PayWi Pixpulse Pixsense Plusmo Rocketalk Renzoo Sapphire Mobile Systems ScanR Sharpcast Snapvine TalkPlus TinyPictures Veeker Voxlib Winksite

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blyk - an ad-funded MVNO

News of a yet another MVNO to tackle the heavily congested UK mobile market has broken. The company, Blyk (further evidence of the fashionable trend not to use vowels in your company name) has funding from Soffinova, and a management team that is hotter than Nokias HQ Sauna. Blyk intend to offer a mobile phone service, initially targeted at the UK's young & fun segment. The key USP and differentiator is that the service will offer free calls (and text?) funded by targeted advertisements. The press release and other available information is short on detail, presumably to maintain an advantage until launch mid next year.

I was surprised to read that Blyk have opted to launch a new MVNO with all the hassle and OPEX overhead of SIM distribution, handset subsidisation, customer service provision and marketing. An alternative approach would be to develop a proposition and product to address the ad-funded model and convince existing operators to market this to the appropriate segment. Although most operators have been taking a very close look at this topic, and producing mountains of powerpoint on the opportunity, most are a long way away from launching a proposition. Blyk could harness this opportunity and provide the operators with a one-stop shop solution that addresses the entire value-chain, from advertiser to device.

As I said, the product details are murky, so we shouldn't go jumping to conclusions assuming that every SMS sent will generate a reply from Coca-Cola. Mobile devices and their associated networks can be very clever things, enabling very smart value-add to an advertiser that traditional advertising outlets and even the web have no way of even coming close to. Location, presence, content purchasing history , device type, roaming propensity and so on cumulatively have the potential to explode CPM rates and finally offer the detailed, auditable and accountable trail that all advertisers and media-buyers crave.

Read more in:
Blyk Blog
International Herald Tribune

Saturday, November 04, 2006

New Mobile Blogs...

Miguel-Angel, a fellow Future Products colleague (and top bloke) in Madrid is blogging about mobile, the web and other topics at Azulares (Spanish), and Katie Lips has started a new mobile innovation blog at NewIdeasInMobile. Both have much more creative and technical dexterity than myself which is clearly visible in the layout, design and general usability of their sites. Check em out....

Motask - mobile To-Do list

Motask is a simple editable to-do list, accessible via the web and your mobile phone. Handy.

iF Design Award, BenQ 2006

"A mobile becomes many things you need: When more functions must be put into a single device; when a mobile phone tries to do everything, the solutions are always too complex. The functionality losses its familiar forms to communicate with users that result in difficult use and compromised experience. Arbitrary interface causes user confusion. The Black Box concept is to recall and respect the classic long-time conventions and real-world experiences of using various common tools and devices; keep only the meaningful and minimal interface elements to fulfill the maximal user desires. Back to classics. Back to basics". Go here for more...

Friday, November 03, 2006

the YouTube deal....what really happened?

Mark Cuban sheds light on what may have really happened at YouTube in the run-up to G-day.

This is a snap I took of the deserted items table at Heathrow airport. Some spurious observations; more people smoke than brush their teeth, more people brush their teeth than use deodorant and finally, buy shares in Colgate and Vittel. I would like to know where all these items end up - i hope not in the bin, could they be handed out free to the homeless?

Rubbish research, Zune v's iPod

A new survey conducted by ABI Research has shown that many prospective MP3 player buyers — even owners of iPods — would be likely to choose Microsoft's Zune player. 1725 teenage and adult US residents were asked whether they planned to buy an MP3 player in the next 12 months. Of those responding that they were likely to do so, 58% of those identifying themselves as existing iPod owners and 59% of those who owned other brands said they would be "somewhat likely" or "extremely likely" to choose a Microsoft Zune player over an iPod or another brand of MP3 player."Our conclusion," says principal analyst Steve Wilson, "is that iPod users don't display the same passionate loyalty to iPods that Macintosh users have historically shown for their Apple products." Only 15% of iPod owners said they were "not very likely" or "not at all likely" to choose Zune. link here

These kind of statements P*ss me off and are completely misleading, but they're everywhere and you have to watch out for them. Firstly, the piece fails to tell us how many respondents actually planned to replace their music player in the next 12 months. Given that iPods retail at $200/300, its not the kind of device I would expect to have a rapid replacement cycle. This data is important to ascertain the significance and value of what comes next.
Secondly, what does "somewhat likely" really mean? I may be somewhat, kind of, possibly likely, maybe if i get a good deal or discount, perhaps almost interested in buying it? I suspect the ratio of "somewhat likely" to "extremely likely" is heavily weighted towards those seated firmly on the fence.
Finally, Mr Wilsons conclusion is flawed. How can you make a statement on iPod loyalty based on showing an audience a picture of a product that hasn't even launched, and that most haven't even heard about.

Friday rant over.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Wildest Mobile Applications

John Tanner wrote a great piece in Telecom Asia last week documenting some of the craziest mobile applications currently on offer around the world. Some beauts include the ghost detector, the halal meat verification service and the lie/love detector, while others are actually quite appealing (to me anyway) - the spyphone, car alarm and power walking! Full article here

Mobifeeds - RSS & atom on your mob

Dont bother downloading an RSS app for your mobile, simply browse your favourite feeds at For anyone out there who has mistakenly enabled auto-RSS downloading on their mobile without an off-net data tariff, they will appreciate this less wallet-busting alternative. Works a treat with Opera Mini.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Brilliant Sony Bravia Ad

Im loving this ad. I would love to have been present at the client pitch and seen the storyboard creative - awesome!

thanks for the link Kev

Friday, October 13, 2006

Huf Haus Self-build Project Blog

My Mum & Dad have embarked on a brave and hefty new project to build themselves a new house. It's a funky glass and timber design from a German a company called Huf Haus. They are only a few days in to the site clearance but there have already been complications (telephone poles needing to be moved, water mains etc). I think it will prove to be a test of stamina, wallet, patience, and realtionships but the end-product should be awesome. My dad is blogging the project from East Sussex in the UK at bobshufhaus.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

WorldSIM - cheap(er) calling when roaming?

More evidence of operator disintermediation...... WorldSIM have recently launched a SIM that is available to UK mobile users, to reduce the cost of making and receiving calls when abroad. Using callback technology, users can place a call when abroad and the the service will intercept the call, detect the destination number, then call the caller back while at the same time calling the B-party locally in the UK. Sounds quite complex, but it is currently quite a fashionable use of old technology to address a growing customer need for cheap international calling (the much PR'd Jajah works in a similar way). WorldSIM also makes it cheaper (and in many European countries FREE) to receive a call when abroad, something that all mobile operators currently charge for. In most cases, these propositions are possible by intercepting the customers call and routing the main leg of the call over IP. It then hooks in to local networks to initiate the connection at either end to the callers and recipients numbers, and connects the two calls together.
There are some significant usage and behaviour barriers to overcome with this product but provided you dont mind swapping SIMs and getting used to the caller experience, this is a great solution for saving a few quid. Also take a look at jajah, rebtel, and dialabroad.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

YouTube Backlash?

Following the purchase, will the users of YouTube remain happy, or will the customer base use the site as a platform for organising a revolution? After all, it was the users efforts and creativity that made the content, which attracted the audience, which in turn attracted the advertisers. Easy come, easy go?

Monday, September 25, 2006

DEMO Fall 2006

06/10 - So, I was granted temporary absence from the Innovation engine-room at Vodafone last week and spent 4 days in sunny San Diego for Demo Fall. In between the presentation sessions which consist of each selected company getting a 6 minute window to communicate their product benefits, I had a wander around the demo booths, checking out the full stories and hearing a bit more depth to what the companies have on offer. The overall event is very well organised with extremely slick timing, good topics and an engaging presenter and audience crowd.

There was a whiff of pre-crash exuberance in the air, noticeable by the amount of funding some presenters had already closed, ralph lauren company t-shirts and some questionable job titles.
The event clearly demonstrated to me the amount of mobile innovation that is ramping up in the valley. There is a rapidly growing wave of innovation which is initially focused on the US market, but with local validation and Series B/C rounds of funding, I expect these solutions to come this side of the pond next year. This should act as a motivator for European mobile innovation as we have a much more advanced market in terms of user adoption, awareness and device sophistication. Now is the time to get your products to market!!
Another observation was that many products are going to market directly, without the endorsement and distribution by the mobile operators/carriers. The long sales cycle, questionable marketing commitment and long NPD cycles of most operators has simply put the innovators off and made them explore new routes to market, most of which involve directly marketing the products to consumers. There was also quite a bit of predictable operator beating, which made me occasionally duck and dive to avoid being lynched!
A full list of the products launched can be seen here. Given that a number of competitor operators read this blog, I'm not going to divulge a detailed view on the very "hot" mobile products, but there was a lot of great blog coverage of the event, the best IMHO provided by Graeme Thickins @ tech-Surf-Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Instant" Voice Messaging, BubbleMotion & Pinger

Bubble Motion, a provider of short voice message solutions, announced last week that it had raised US$10 million in series B funding from Sequoia Capital US and India. The company plans to use the funds to increase R&D and market and deploy their product offering more globally. Bubble Motion offers a compelling voice messaging product which is similar to a "push to talk" experience. The A party simply dials the recipients number with a couple of digits preceeding the full number, dials and records a message. The B party receives a SMS with a number to dial to pick up the message. I like the concept of a voice SMS but I think the pre-dial is a bit clunky as most of us dial direct from the address book.

Pinger, funded earlier this year by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers is currently beta testing a similar service, currently restricted to US users only. The Pinger difference is that theres no need to key in the digits that preceed the B party number - Pinger lets the A party simply speak the recipient(s) name and record the message. Message retrieval for Pinger is similar to BubbleMotion.
Both products offer the consumer a SMS type message experience but using voice. Although in the case of Pinger it sounds like the A party might have to download something (you dont need to with BubbleMotion), the B party can get the message regardless of what device they have and what network they're on.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kiboze - IM buddylist powers group messaging

Kiboze has launched a new service that unleashes the potential of the IM buddylist. The service enables users to use their buddylists to create and manage group text circles. The user can then text these circles from their mobile and the message will be intelligently delivered to the recipient on either IM or via SMS (if the B-party isn't online). With 80% of people between the ages of 14-29 in the US owning a mobile phone and the majority of them using text messaging to communicate with peers, the opportunity is huge.
I asked founder Jay Cody a few questions...

abigidea?: Can you sum up in one paragraph what Kiboze is all about?
Jay: Kiboze extends IM with group text messaging. This integration allows us to let people connect to their friends through text messaging but using the many relationships we have already defined in our "buddylists". To date the buddylist has been held ransom by the Instant Messaging platforms. Kiboze wants to free the buddylist and make it available as a phone book for group text messaging reaching our friends no matter where they are. Kiboze users simply send one text message to Kiboze and we'll pass that message onto their friends. If those friends are in front of a computer, the message will be sent via IM, if they are out and about they'll get the message via a text message. Set the buddylist free!

abigidea?: Does Kiboze enable the reply-to-all functionality that SMS is currently missing?
Jay: Yes, anyone can use Kiboze to create and join "groups". Now all people have to do is send a single text message to Kiboze and Kiboze delivers that message to everyone in the group. This obviously saves users money and the aggravation of trying to coordinate so many people.

abigidea?: Who pays?
Jay: Kiboze is a totally free service.

abigidea?: If the user isn't Kiboze registered, then you say the message is delivered via IM. Doesn't this miss the point of it being a "mobile" service?
Jay: The point isn't about being a mobile service; Kiboze wants to be a valuable service that allows our users to reach ALL of their friends, regardless of communication channel. Kiboze will get your message to your friends whether they are in front of the computer or out and about with a mobile phone and whether they are registered at Kiboze or not. This is totally unique and of tremendous value to our users. Finally, one text to reach them all.

abigidea?: Do you plan to incorporate support for Skype?
Skype is on the roadmap with many, many other exciting enhancements to the Kiboze service.

abigidea?: what's the Beta telling you?
We are in the early phases but the excitement is definitely there. A couple things have really frustrated users before Kiboze:1) Telco's refusing to create a viable alternative for group text messaging2) "Closed" mobile services that make your re-connect with your friends all over again before you can use the service. We already manage our friends in social networks like MySpace and Facebook, IM networks like AIM, MSN, and Yahoo! as well as Email accounts and mobile phones. It's exhausting and the users are starting to revolt!. New services that are asking us to re-connect yet again are really paying the price.People love Kiboze because they can use their EXISTING contacts as defined in the buddylists and reach them from anywhere with a simple text message. That has definitely been a highlight of the beta so far.

abigidea?: What's juicy on the roadmap?
Without getting into too many details, lets just say that more and more location-based services should be available soon. It really is all about local knowledge. That knowledge might be where your friends are or what events are happening nearby. Location will continue to be a major point of focus at Kiboze.

abigidea?: What your current funding status?
We are a small but dedicated team that has successfully self-funded Kiboze to date.

abigidea?: Who's behind Kiboze?
Jay: Kiboze has a great mix of people. We share a passion for technology and specifically mobile applications but our backgrounds are quite diverse. Some of us have developed, marketed and sold advertising and editorial systems to some of the world's largest media companies like The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Some have specialized in search technologies and others in satellite communications. It's a great mix of talent that has come together to make Kiboze a totally unique and valuable service.

Kiboze currently supports AOL, MSN, Yahoo! and GTalk.

Great Truphone blog post from Martin Geddes

In this post, Martin raises some brilliant points and gives an excellent overview of Truphone. It should be evaluated in the context of the other contenders in this space.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

SDSL (Slow Digital Subscriber Line)

Here in Germany, Deutsche Telekom is getting huge flak from the local (and european) regulators over it not wanting to share access to its new VDSL network. It claims that because it has to invest billions and gazillions in the network, it should keep it all to itself so that it can differentiate in a crowded market.
I find this quite an odd debate to be having, given that if you take a look at incredible download rates I seem to be getting at the moment, it appears that they need to invest in a DSL and then ADSL network first. They claim I'm on a ADSL line, but I now have the evidence to show that its actually a 14.4k modem in the local exchange going via a secret hidden second telehone line in to my flat!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Google AdWords goes mobile

RCRWireless reported yesterday that Google have quietly soft-launched the ability for AdWords customers to create a mobile campaign with functionality to develop ad and marketing capaigns, set a daily budget for ad expenditure and pay per click or per call. So we may soon start to see google ads incorporated in to our mobile-web browsing, something that AdMob have been providing with rapidly increasing success since January (they are currently offering a free $20 campaign to new customers).

See previous post on AdMob (Jan 06)
12/09 - Update - Admob raises Series A from Sequoia

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Biggest QR code ever?

By Tim Rogers on Flickr

QR Codes on Wikipedia
Semacode on Wikipedia

My list of companies trying to commercialise this use case.

01/09 Update - the CEO of Kaywa pinged me to tell me that you can generate your own QR code for a URL, phone number or text or SMS by going here. I've just downloaded and tried out their reader for the N70 and it works brilliantly. This is an excellent way of making the non-mobile world mobile (posters, ads, biz cards, ingredients, instructions, menus).
(the Kaywa QR code for this blog)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chuck D @ Mobile Content World

Last year we had P Diddy headlining at CTIA, and I just noticed that this year Chuck D is presenting the opening speech at Mobile Content World 2006 in London - how cool is that! I remember meeting him when he was doing a guest appearance at a Public Domain promotional concert at the ICA - nice bloke!! ;-)

Futuretext: Mobile Web 2.0

Ajit Joakar & Tony Fish have teamed up again to write a new book that addresses how the web 2.0 extends to the ‘wider Internet’, describes the seven principles of Mobile Web 2.0 and other impacting factors e.g. rollout of IMS, WiMAX etc.

They claim the 7 priniciples of Mobile web 2.0 are:
  • Mobile content and the changing balance of power (The power of user generated content)
  • I am not a number, I am a tag (The impact on the telecoms industry's management of numbers)
  • Multilingual mobile access (Everyone, Everywhere with a phone running .. )
  • Mobile web 2.0 and Digital convergence (Mobile web 2.0 is a driver to digital convergence)
  • The disruptive power of Ajax and mobile widgets
  • Location based services and Mobile web 2.0 (LBS has never quite taken off. Will mobile web 2.0 help?)
  • Mobile search : Much more than Google on your mobile phone.

Both Ajit and Tony have been stong proponents and faciliators of innovation in the mobile industry and consequently they have a lot of valuable and challenging insight on this space.

P.S make sure you ask for a hard copy cos the last "book" I ordered from them was only ever given to me as a pdf and I'm still not quite ready for an entirely digital world ;-)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The future of Mobile Voice & Text?

I've written previously about numerous mobile messaging services that are all targeted at taking a piece of existing mobile operators voice and messaging revenues. In Europe alone, these revenues are in excess of €250bn, and consequently this category presents a lip-licking opportunity to VC's, entrepreneurs and existing industry players

The last couple of years have seen a number product launches from the likes of Hotxt , Text2me, and Pica who are all trying to move SMS volume away from the operators monetisation mechanism (the SMSC) by allowing P2P application based messaging over a data connection. All require users to have the same application installed which presents a barrier to uptake due to the fact that not every one in a communication circle will have the same type of device – i.e. that supports J2ME. In younger age segments where users are more likely to have the latest, coolest and funkiest devices, then the chances of the communication circle having compatible devices is higher and a common messaging experience achieved.
Other apps including Mig33, Vyke, Woize, Skype, Truphone (deserves its own post) and now Nimbuzz include the mobile voice use case, providing mostly Java apps that allow you to make a call over you data connection, again avoiding the operators billing mechanism (apart from data charges) and offering non-member connection via cheap international wholesale termination rates (similar to Skype-Out).
I expect we will see a load more applications like this over the coming months, all in the same product space but with a slightly different product approach and spin. The big open question is which ones will prevail? On the current radar, Skype has the best chance of succeeding, principally due to having the financial and marketing muscle of an industry leader and an established non-mobile user base in excess of 170m. Other players that can quickly impact this space are mobile and fixed operators, who both have an existing customer relationship and billing mechanism and in the case of the mobile operators, a forced distribution channel – the device.
Another interesting aspect of this space is that the application offerings are increasing acting as integrated user experiences for what were previously silo applications (e.g. email, IM, blogging, content). Examples such as Pica, combine communication (email, chat, IM, voice messaging and text) with a range of community features (moblogging, personal profiles, emoticons and voicecast) offering users a single device destination for interacting and communicating with circles of friends and like minded users. Pica has now over 3m users, predominantly in China but raised $10m from Bluerun back in Dec 05 which could easily support localization and business dev. efforts in US and Europe.

These examples provide evidence of an increasing trend which is likely to gain traction over the coming years and IMHO presents a credible threat to operators which should be monitored. Applications like Pica give us an idea of what the future of mobile comms may look like, and serve as a valuable reminder on how fragmented today’s mobile experience is.

Read also Nimbuzz featured in MobileCrunch
12/09 - see also HelloSoft
12/09 - see also NootMobile
15/09 - see also Fring
10/10 - see also Berggi
18/10 - see also Reporo
29/11 - see GigaOM

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Google acquires Nevenvision

Google announced on Tuesday that they had acquired Nevenvision, a small but well armoured visual search/recognition leader with significant IP and a smart team. Google had been rumoured to have been looking in to Riya but jumped on nevenvision instead. Google has mastered the interpretation, analysis and monetisation of text-based search requests, and Nevenvision takes it a step further in doing the same for images. Nevenvision had(has) an interesting product portfolio with a viable solution for mobile phone image search. With Infotrends predicting 228 billion images being taken on camera phones by 2010, exceeding the number of photos taken on digital still cameras and film cameras combined, this looks like a prudent and timely purchase.

William Slawski has a good overview of Googles other recent acquisitions

Previous related post: NeoMedia acquires Mobot (Aug 05)

Friday, August 11, 2006

THE big idea...

Your reading "abigidea", and today my employer announced a new competition in the UK to discover THE next big idea...

"Sky One and Vodafone today announced THE BIG IDEA - the UK’s largest-ever search to discover the next great British invention or business idea. Voted on by the viewers, budding entrepreneurs will compete for a £100,000 investment in launching their idea or venture. Supported by a major outreach programme undertaken by Vodafone, regional heats will be held in Manchester and London in September. Contestants can download an application form at Produced by Ricochet Productions in association with Vodafone THE BIG IDEA will be broadcast on Sky One in the autumn, with extended programming on Sky Three. The show will be executively produced for Sky One by Steve Jones. Richard Woolfe, Director of Programmes, Sky One, Two and Three said: “From John Logie Baird to Trevor Bayliss, Alexander Graham Bell to James Dyson, we are a nation of brilliant inventors and I’m delighted that Sky One and Vodafone are teaming up for The Big Idea. It’s the biggest ever UK search for inventions or business ideas and anyone with a flash of genius can participate.”

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mobipod - UK Mobile Podcasting Trial

MobiPod have recently started a UK trial of a new mobile podcasting service. You get the podcasts for free (although you do have to pay for data transfer) and the podcast selection includes comedy from Sowerby & Luff's Comedy 365, and a Mobipod pick of entertainment and music. The service has been put together by Linked Media (creators of Britcaster) in partnership with technology solution provider Bamboo MediaCasting.
"Full track, 30-40 minute podcast updates are delivered off-peak or overnight, and are waiting on the handset for one-click access at the user's convenience - such as during their daily commute to and from work. The Bamboo service platform supports Java, Symbian Windows Mobile, and BREW-based cellphones, and can efficiently distribute large files of any type, which means long-format podcasts and video clips can be part of the content mix".

Friday, July 28, 2006

Clicktoscan from RealEyes3D

I cant remember which film it was in, but James Bond often had a tiny camera which he used to take pictures of documents in safes that he had broken in to at some bad-man evil-doers home. Well, if you have a camera phone, you can now do the same, and you dont need to wait for the film processing!
One of the VC's at I-Source pinged me the other day to tell me about the beta launch of a new service called Clicktoscan. The service uses some very smart image optimisation technology from portfolio company RealEyes3D, enabling end users to digitise and optimise real-world scriblings, forms or documents in to clear digitised pdf's. For me, the best use of this is capturing the office whiteboard - being able to take a picture of the whiteboard at the end of a workshop and produce a pdf copy of the output, all with a simple snap and send from my mobile phone.
Setting up the service is simple - you need to register at the clicktoscan website, and then any images you send to their email address will be optimised and converted to a pdf which you can download from your account on the website. The service supports both b&w and colour and requires a minimum resolution of 1.3 megapixels.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jaiku - Rich mobile presence

Jaiku have recently launched a Beta version of their Series 60 presence application, that enables you to see the presence status and location of your contacts. Personally, I'm a fan of presence, provided that it complements existing apps and is not provided as an application in its own right. In this case, Jaiku have used it to pimp up the Series 60 address book but you need your friends to also be using the app to garner any real value from it. It also seems to be quite a resource hungry app with a noticeable impact on battery life and data usage (estimated at 10Mb/month). And once you've installed it, its tricky to remove..

I've also added their blog widget (see right) which links to the phone client showing whether I'm callable or not (not that anyone cares about this though!) still - it works!

Update 24/07 - This app eats more battery than 3G! I'm almost having to recharge my phone twice a day now, and so far it has been impossible to uninstall or remove. Not a happy bunny!

Friday, July 07, 2006

BVP Anti-portfolio

If you want an amusing read for a Friday afternoon, check out the Bessemer Venture Partners Anti-Portfolio, a page detailing all the deals they didn't do, including Ebay, Intel, Apple etc - Doh!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mobiboo - UK's 1st Wi-fi Mobile Network

Mobiboo have recently launched in the UK with the first wi-fi mobile phone network. The network is being provided in partnership with theCloud and they currently offer three tiers of account, ranging from Free Trial (which includes a 07911 number, softphone and 1UKP credit) to the Plus + account which includes a Starcom L1000 wi-fi handset, free voicemail, 10ukp credit, 07911 number, free voicemail and "follow-me".
I think this is spot-on for the die-hard wi-fi starbucks addicted techno-freak, but this segment will always need a GSM mobile in their back pocket for moments when coverage is poor or unreliable. However, couple this with an MVNO deal, reliable network hand-over, and dual-mode handsets and you have reliable nationwide coverage. The tricky bit is going to be making this digestable to the mass-market consumer - ensuring the technology is hidden from the service experience so that they're not hopping for signal on one foot and balancing different call costs on the other.

Vixo - experimental social network using SMS

Vixo are running a SMS service that enables any group of mobile users to group message one another on a particular topic without (currently) incurring multiple SMS-sending costs. You can set up a topic (e.g. World Cup) and invite other users to join the group. The service includes a "trust" command which when applied in the context of the six degrees of separation, dictates which messages you receive, originated from your group circle. You can modify your "trust" levels (by changing what Vixo describe as the 'volume') to ensure that you only receive messages from close friends, or lower the "trust" volume to include anyone in the six degrees.
Currently only available to UK mobile users.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh, Don't Forget... SMS Reminders

Type in your mob number, when you want to be reminded, and what you want to be reminded of, and this service will send you a text. Nice & simple. It also provides an example of how Mobile Party Pays (MPP) can be useful in avoiding complexity in application design through the avoidance of account creation and billing detail submission - although the downside is that you might get spammed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Vodafone MyPC "Mein PC"

I work in the Future Products team in Vodafone and we focus on new mobile product development in the 18 month to 36 month timeframe. We identify, evaluate and trial new mobile service propositions. Because of this, I have to be selective and somewhat shallow in what i write about on this blog. However, today is different because I can for once talk about something that weve been working on which is now available to the general public.

For the last few months, our team here in Germany has been working on a new mobile service currently labelled "MyPC". The service enables Vodafone customers to get a variety of content streamed from their home PC to their mobile phone; pictures, music, videos and if you have a TV card, you can access a live TV stream direct to your mobile - timely, given that the World Cup kicks off here in Deutschland today ;-)
We have been working on this with very nice folks over at Orb for the last few months and the implementation is now available to Vodafone customers in Germany who have a UMTS (3G) phone and broadband connected home PC. To get the TV stream you will need a TV card from an outfit like Hauppage. The service is free of charge until the end of September, and you need to be on the Happy-Live tariff in order for the service to work (all Vodafone UMTS Live customers are automatically provisioned with Happy-Live).

MyPC works on most mobile handsets with a few notable exceptions; Motorola V3x, Motorola 1050, Motorola V980, Motorola C980, Samsung ZV10, Samsung ZV30, and the Samsung Z107. This is an aweseome service (yeah, im a bit biased) which demonstrates how mobile operators can leverage customers existing content assets. Its also a practical example of how the home environment can be mobilised, a topic that I expect will see significantly more activity in the coming months.

Press coverage in the Register and Engadget Mobile