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

Friday, June 02, 2006

Zyb release 2.0

Back in May 05, I posted about a SMS service from Zyb which enabled users to send text from their PC, the web or a mobile. Something prompted Zyb to shut this service down and refocus their product strategy on something else. They chose Mobile Sync & backup, which is now what they offer if you visit their site.
I tested the service this morning on my Nokia 6680 and it was a breeze. A short simple registration initiated a configuration SMS which created a new sync profile. I then initiated the sync and you can watch in real time as the Zyb web interface hoovers up your contacts, and organises them within the contacts tab of the webapp. The service also supports Calendar events and To-do lists. It also offers a recovery mode, so should you lose your phone, all you need to do is simply connect the new one to Zyb and your contacts, schedule and tasks are recovered.
A very elegant example of SyncML in action, and although it has some competition from the like of Mightyphone and Phonesync, the service experience is so well executed it should attract a lot of usage which will pave the way for a premium paid-for version.

JigSaw UK Wiki

The Jigsaw Uk Wiki is a great resource for new innovative projects, start-ups and organisations in the Internet, Mobile and Technology space, specifically originating out of the UK.

Futurescape, the creators of the wiki, say they have created the wiki as a "free resource so that young digital media companies and organisations can:
- Showcase new projects, nationally and globally
- Locate potential partners for future projects
- Find the most appropriate sources of advice and funding
- Build and use a knowledge base of experience and ideas for ways forward
- Discuss how to self-organise to make this sector even stronger".