Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Random bits for last week

Dopplr have launched a very clean and functional mobile web version of the service aimed at travellers heading in the same direction.

You can share your travel plans privately or with a group and since travelling means being mobile, a mobile version was a practical necessity.

Point your mobile web browser to m.dopplr.com

Goojet another startup in the mobile widgets category launched last week at Le Web3 conference, along the lines of widsets and webwag. More details via BlogNation.

Friendster the social networking site goes mobile. What surprises me is that it has taken so long for them to go mobile - especially as Asia is one of the biggest user-bases of Friendster and users over there are more familiar with mobile access.
Point your mobile browser to http://www.friendstertogo.com and make sure you've enabled the Go Mobile widget in your account.

Nokia beta labs announced their channels application (for branded worldwide news feeds) and PC-to-phone (web interface for making calls, sending texts and managing contacts). The big N are launching the anticipated n-gage platform tomorrow in the UK for N81 users and 3rd party developer Samir has proto'd the flip-to-silent profile on the N95 using the accelerometer. I wondered when we'd see a version for the device.

..and last but not least Social.fm mobile and desktop music client review. I haven't had time to try it yet so was interested in reading this.
Get access to your music library on your PC (like Orb),access your friend's music collections, over 100,00 channels of digital radio and one click access to popular podcasts.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Note to Self: Remember Voice ?

Update: I see another startup Kwiry launched this week with text based reminders instead of voice.

Ah, the killer apps of mobiles. As readers know I'm a fan of voice and text based mashup services on mobiles such as SpinVox's Spin-my-memo service.

There's a new entrant ReQall by QTech with its voice-to-text based tasks / notes and meetings reminders.

I think it's a slightly different proposition to Spinvox coming more from a "capture your thoughts/tasks on your mobile + reminder" angle rather than Spinvox's traditional voicemail-to-text offering (which they've expanded on, into memo/notes and Social Networking/Blogging).

After registering for the service, you call a number (UK:0800 692 8780) then either press 1 or say "add" to leave a voice memo, or "3" or say "recall" to recall a previoulsy left voice memo. So far, not a lot different from leaving yourself a voicemail on your operators network...however there's a few features that make the service a little more accessible.

Text and email notifications can be configured with reminder options. The SMS option sends you a text of the transcoded content of what you've said. Screenshots of email and texts are below.

There's RSS feeds for push updates you can consume in your blog reader and the obligatory iPhone version for access to the service on the web.

Calendar and search functions within the fixed web based interface are a useful addition so you can see when you've added notes and quickly find them.

Plus there's the visual-voicemail type web interface for accessing the list of tasks/memos and you can listen to the audio or read the text - you choose. Overall I liked the interface and it was all very easy to set up but there's no mobile web interface as yet.

Spinvox has more voice-to-end-destination options especially with blast and the social networking sites (jaiku, twitter, FB etc..I followed Symbian-Guru via Jaiku at the recent Nokia World event and noted he was using SpinVox to post his updates - I'm sure this was much easier than trying to Twit or Jaiku individual blog posts). Spinvox are also getting traction in the market having recently signed up with some of the major UK mobile operators.

Jott in the US also added the ability to voice record a events straight into Google Calendar (as well Amazon wishlist) from your mobile / landline.

Looks like voice on the mobile is not quite dead yet and as more of us outsource our memory to the cloud :) these types of service may become increasingly handy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Nokia claim to get it - keynote 2007

"Experience can be improved
". Photo credit.

Nokia acknowledge their user-interface / user-experience needs overhauling as they realise that whilst functionality is all well and good, usability / user experience are equally if not more important to attract more than the power user geeks.

Especially if they want consumers to start using services beyond voice and text.

Nokia seemed to have listened directly to this issue, acknowledged it and will attempt to address it through their strategy of becoming a services / internet company (and the accompanying integrated devices).

The announcement of Universal joining with Nokia for free annual music subscription, Avvenu buyout and Internet Radio apps were not as interesting to me in the keynote as the Ovi detail.

Besides the TIM announcement which makes the third operator alongside Telefonica and Vodafone to integrate Ovi the actual service itself seems more integrated than I first thought.

Like a cross between Dashwire (see here) + Widgets/RSS web feeds (a la Netvibes) + Social Networking (Contacts / Relationships) + 3rd party web services (not just Nokia's n-Gage and music offerings) with full mobile seamlessness based around context and wrapped up in a dashboard user experience.

Or as Nokias CEO puts it, a dashboard for your digital life that's personalised / localised and socialised.

Single sign on, one-synch backup, a fixed browser toolbar and desktop versions (all with the same ui) as well of course, the central mobile element rolled in (lets hope, unlike the UK Nokia music store that it works in Firefox and is more compelling than the PC desktop clients they've built to date).

Will Nokia get this right or will it take an Apple, a Google (via Android and/or their own ODP), a Yahoo or even one of the existing mobile On Device Portal vendors to show them how ?

We'll see.

I'm still waiting for my Ovi beta invite so cannot judge yet and as ever it will all be down to the execution.

Interesting announcements though all the same as the big N move to tie the web and mobile together, something I've been advocating for a while and is inevitable, isn't it - what do you think ?