SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Archive for the ‘Mobile Content’ Category

Pocket Express for Europe

Posted by Admin on February 26, 2009

I’ve not written much up from last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yet, but one piece of news that I did see was that Handmark is launching a European version of its popular Pocket Express application. To reach as much of the European market as possible they’re also making it available in eight languages – English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, and Swedish.

The application offers, quick, simple, and FREE updates on news, sports, weather, stocks and shares and business story updates. They have relationships with everyone from Reuters and the BBC through to Agence France Press and various other content providers. It’s free to download on http://www.pocketexpress.eu and apparently it even comes with its own Mobile Concierge service.

I haven’t had chance to have a play with the service, but from the images it looks pretty good. It’s available across a range of the most popular Nokia, Sony Ericcson, Motorola and Samsung phones and they will be adding to the list (including Blackberry and iPhone) through the year.

It’s great to see a US player coming into Europe in this way. Many people that have conquered the US, not surprisingly, look at Europe and get scared – small individual markets, different handset preferences and perhaps worst of all a lots of different operators and different languages.

I remember working with the games publisher iFone and the issues they had porting games across a variety of handsets, operators and languages – it’s amazing how many varieties you have to produce when you start to multiply all those variables together.

But Handmark has done and well done to them. As Paul Reddick, CEO of Handmark says:

“We have established a popular mobile service millions of people in North America rely on every day for accessing the content they need to stay informed and entertained on their mobile device. We are excited to introduce Pocket Express with local content for mobile users throughout Europe so they too can enjoy a better mobile experience regardless of what language they speak.”

Some of the key elements of the service include:

– More than 300 customisable news categories.

– Up-to-the-minute sports scores and statistics for hundreds of teams and leagues.

– Weather and ski forecasts for virtually any location in the world.

– International stock information from virtually all major North American and European exchanges, including NYSE, NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris, and Milan Stock Exchange.

– Real-time flight status and schedules for nearly all major airlines and airports around the world.

– Content provided by the world’s most trusted content providers including the Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse (AFP), AccuWeather.com, Dow Jones, and OAG.

– A “Store” that features popular, high-quality games and applications from top-tier developers, including Capcom, I-Play, Reset Games, and Mobifusion, Inc.

– Optimised data usage as it “caches” the information you have already used instead of refreshing all the information.

If you’re interested go to www.pocketexpress.eu to download it.

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Posted in Mobile Content, Travel | Leave a Comment »

lastminute.com launches free talking iPhone phrasebook

Posted by Admin on February 3, 2009

lastminute.com has announced a talking phrasebook that is free to download for iPhone and iPod Touch users in the UK. You can get French, German, Greek, Italian Portuguese and Spanish versions, so if you’re travelling to any countries that speak those languages, I suggest you get them onto your iPhone sharpish.

The phrasebooks have been developed by a company called Coolgorilla and made free for UK consumers by lastminute.com. Andy Washington, lastminute.com sales director said of them:

“These new talking phrasebooks will help people to get even more out of their lastminute.com holidays and breaks. With these great applications, UK consumers avoid having to carry around heavy, paper versions. The talking phrasebooks on the iPhone are easy to use, convenient and most of all free.”

The talking phrasebooks also feature a new search functionality. Users can now search for all phrases quickly and easily, so holiday makers do not waste any of their precious time. They also have a list of activity based words and phrases, so now you can ask to go skydiving in Spain, or on a helicopter ride in Portugal. The phrasebooks also include localised options such as playing boules in France, or visiting a Greek ampitheatre.

Roy Forsdick, MD of Coolgorilla said:

“We’ve worked hard to make these phrasebooks simple and easy for consumers to use. And with lastminute.com’s sponsorship, we can offer them free to UK customers, so that they can enjoy their holiday even more … we’ve [also] created new landing pages that allow lastminute.com to offer additional, local deals to people. This provides a very rich and interactive way to reach holidaymakers with targeted and relevant offers, while they are on their holiday.”

If you’re in the UK, you can download the phrasebooks here:
French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Disclaimer: I’ve been doing some work for Coolgorilla.

Posted in Mobile Content | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Recession hasn’t hit Purple Labs

Posted by Admin on January 16, 2009

In a flurry of announcements today, Purple Labs has proved that the recession hasn’t hit the French based software provider for mass-market mobile phones.

The big announcement is that it has acquired Sagem Mobile Software, which was previously part of the French handset manufacturer. The deal gives Purple Labs a second French office, in Cergy near Paris, and adds 150 staff to grow the team to about 400 globally.

There’s no news on the cost of the deal, but I’m sure it has been off-set by the fact that the newly expanded Purple Labs will provide software and engineering services to Sagem in a 3-year deal totaling more than 52 million euros.

The final announcement is that Regis Adjamah has joined from Motorola to become the new VP Software Engineering. At Motorola Adjamah was the senior director heading development of Symbian-based phones, while at Purple Labs he will lead the company’s 200-strong global software development organisation, including the newly acquired Cergy-based team.

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Handmark’s top ten apps

Posted by Admin on January 14, 2009

Handmark has announced its top ten ‘must have’ apps for 2009. Of course all of them are available at www.handmark.com. They are:

· Pocket Express® – The leading mobile solution for accessing news, sports, weather, stocks, travel information and other content via a mobile device fast, simple and FREE.

· ZAGAT TO GO™ – The most comprehensive restaurant, nightlife, hotel and golf guide offering trusted recommendations and ratings for a variety of locations around the world.

· Wheel of Fortune Deluxe – Fantastic game with dynamic avatars, special effects and puzzles written by the TV show’s staff. Three different game modes make it easy to play anytime.

· Astraware® Bejeweled 2 – Amazingly simple to play, but unbelievably hard to put down! Features all new graphics, stunning background images, in-game transitions and cutting-edge special effects with four different play modes.

· Tetris® – You’ve played it before, and now you can play it anywhere. It’s deceptively simple and completely addictive. After its humble beginnings in Russia, this timeless puzzle game became a worldwide phenomenon.

· nuTsie™ iTunes Music Player – Listen to your iTunes playlists or your friends’ iTunes playlists directly on your mobile device and discover new music by exploring any of the hundreds of thousands of playlists on nuTsie.com.

· IM+ All In One Messenger – Application that allows mobile users to chat across AIM/iChat, MSN/Windows Live, Yahoo, ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk and MySpaceIM.

· Garmin Mobile® – Transforms your mobile device into a fully functional GPS navigator. Garmin Mobile provides detailed maps of the United States and Canada, voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions and access to nearly six million points of interest.

· MobiTV® – Makes your phone becomes a portable TV so you can watch your favorite channels right in the palm of your hand.

· Fast Food Calorie Counter – Whether you are counting calories, carbs, fiber or fat grams, this helpful guide will empower you to make better choices or allow you to “cheat” occasionally without feeling guilty. Features 4,791 menu items at 41 of the most popular fast food chains.

Enjoy 😉

Posted in Mobile Content | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Mobile phone security camera

Posted by Admin on December 29, 2008

I saw this piece in yesterday’s Sunday Times – The spy who texted me – about a new product called the Eye camera which enables you to check up on your home (or wherever) using your mobile.

Here’s how it works:

“Before you plug and play (grrr), you need to make sure your mobile is set up to receive MMS messages: the iPhone is not MMS-friendly, so needs to receive data as e-mails instead. Your mobile can then talk to the camera’s Sim card, and voilà: you’re ready to spy. A pay-as-you-go Vodafone card is included, but you can use one from any network; messages sent from the camera are charged at standard rates.”

This technology is not new, although this is the first time I’ve seen it reviewed in the Sunday Times (and interestingly, in the Property section), but I do think it is one of the areas that is due for big growth over the next few months /years. The ability to access another sim and request to perform a certain function for you can be a massive boon to people. The trick here of course is to make sure that it is marketed in the right way – it’s not about the technology, but it is about the functionality and more importantly the benefits.

This could be the next big thing for mobile after mobile content and mobile broadband. Let’s hope the industry gets it right and makes it properly inclusive for everyone (my mum et al) and doesn’t just aim it at geeks (me and I’m assuming you as well).

Posted in Enterprise, Industry, Mobile Broadband, Mobile Content | Leave a Comment »

Plan your Xmas TV on your mobile

Posted by Admin on December 17, 2008

If you fall into the category of people highlighted by the Venn diagram below then British company Vizimo has got a great solution for you.

venn-diagram

Vizimo has developed a new application for mobile phones called Tioti TV that allows you to plan your TV viewing schedule, across all the different channels available, on your mobile phone. The software displays programme schedules for the week ahead, so you can go through it choosing the programmes you want to watch. When you’re done, you can choose the ‘My TV’ – and the software produces your own, personalised viewing guide, telling you which channel you need to be watching and at what time.

Simon Steward, CEO of Vizimo is pretty pleased with himself: “It sounds quite clever, and of course it is. What it means for everyone is something very simple: we don’t need to worry about what we chose to watch at 8.30pm from the choice of umpteen channels, and we don’t need to worry about missing something we wanted to see, because it’s all worked out and remembered for us.”

But fair play to him, it is pretty cool.

If you’re an iPhone or iPod touch user you can download the application, named Tioti TV+, from the App Store for £1.79. And you can even programme your Sky+ box to record specific shows from your phone. Other phone users can download from their mobile by visiting wap.tioti.com.

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Playboy Mobile launches behind-the-scenes view

Posted by Admin on December 10, 2008

I suppose that if you want to get a mass market audience for mobile applications (which is what this blog does), then getting Playboy in on the act helps to ensure that at least half the population is interested.

Playboy Mobile has released some new, self-produced content which focuses on the lives on 3 interns in the Playboy office. The interns involved are – Charlie Romano, 21, a St. John’s University student from City Island, New York; Jonathan Golbe, 24, a Wesleyan University alumnae from Metuchen, New Jersey; and Ashley Taylor Rappaport, 20, a University of Delaware student from Marlboro, New Jersey.

I’m afraid there’s no mention of how much ‘interaction’ the interns have with the [in]famous Playboy Bunnies.

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Over 300 million iPhone apps downloaded

Posted by Admin on December 9, 2008

Apple has recently let it be known that its app store has now had over 300 million downloads. The company didn’t reveal how many of those apps were free and how many were paid for, but either way, it’s a lot of new things that iPhone users are playing with on their phones.

You can read more about it on FierceMobileContent here.

The other question that of course remains unanswered is how many of those apps were downloaded by tech-savvy individuals who would have got hold of them anyway, and how many were downloaded by people new to mobile content? The answer of course is that some must be new. Thanks to both the handset itself and the app store a whole range of people have been introduced to cool new apps they never thought possible.

Posted in Handsets, Industry, Mobile Content | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »