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Mobile Game Development News

Texting firm launches to consumers

Will product sell at the enterprise level?

Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology - December 22, 2006

Toufic Mobarak, left, and Gavin Macomber hope more mobile phone users let their fingers do the talking.

This week, Boston's MobileSphere Ltd. launched its first non-demo version of its Joopz web texting service, which was originally introduced in limited scope this past September.

The consumer application enables users to send and receive simple messaging service (SMS) text messages to mobile phones from a web-enabled computer, targeting a growing number of users in the United States.

But as the application grows in popularity among consumers, analysts see a market in the enterprise.

Since its introduction in September, Joopz has gained traction in the consumer market, enabling users to "text" cell phones via the Internet.

According to officials, Joopz will remain a consumer-based product for the time being, though the company is exploring other applications, including enterprise and university uses, and is considering licensing to carriers and mobile virtual network operators.

Macomber declined to give specific usage numbers, but said Joopz is averaging one message every two minutes over the past couple of months.

The service helps bridge the gap between the Internet and wireless worlds, as well as the gap between the e-mail generation and the "texting" generation, said Gavin Macomber, co-founder and executive vice president of marketing and business development for MobileSphere.

"One of the reasons that text messaging has had a slow adoption rate in the U.S. is because it is generational," he said. "Teenagers are comfortable with texting, but it is something new for the older generations."

But the demographics are changing -- and drastically, according to some analysts. Seattle-based M:Metrics Inc., a mobile research company, calls adults the fastest-growing market segment for texting in the U.S. market.

As texting penetrates older generations, however, it hits more professionals using communications in the workplace-- and that presents an opportunity for Joopz and applications like it in the enterprise.

"It is indicative of a consumer pattern moving into the enterprise space, and that's usually when a lot of innovation happens," said Mike Gotta, a principal analyst at The Burton Group in Utah.

Gartner Inc., an analyst firm in Stamford, Conn., has been beating the consumer-to-enterprise drum for much of 2006, dubbing the phenomenon "consumeration of IT." In one report, Gartner predicts that between 2007 and 2012, the majority of new enterprise IT products will have their roots in the consumer market.

There are challenges to penetrating the enterprise with a consumer technology, however. Security issues, for one, are much more complex -- and more mission-critical -- when operating within an enterprise network, said Jill Aldort, a senior analyst with Yankee Group in Boston.

----------------------------------------------end----------------------------------------------- RP distributor enters mobile app business

PHILIPPINE technology product distributor Axis Global Technologies Inc. has announced its entry into the mobile application business through subsidiary Axis Global Interactive, the company said.

This was after it acquired a license to locally sell a group text messaging service, dubbed Moblabber, developed by San Francisco-based Feedtext Inc.

Feedtext Inc. is a web and mobile entertainment company that develops consumer and business applications for media companies and wireless carriers in North America.

The local firm is now working with a local mobile phone operator in the testing of the new mobile phone service, Axis Global Interactive marketing manager Richelle Chan, in a telephone interview.

Chan said the service will become available to all networks by next year.

Moblabber allows people to send a broadcast text message to groups they have created. The service can be accessed both from the web and the mobile phone.

"When Feedtext launched Moblabber, I knew I had to get in touch with the people behind the application. I knew it's something that the Philippine market will find extremely useful since it touches a core need and the application has distinct features that the market will surely enjoy and appreciate," Ricky Sy, chief executive officer of Axis Global Interactive, added in a statement.

Citing National Telecommunications Commission figures, the company said that there are about 250 million text messages sent a day, with local telecom companies earning US$5 million everyday on SMS alone (with cost at US$0.02 per SMS),

"When we pitched the idea to Feedtext, their decision was almost immediate. The Philippines, having been one of the major players in the APAC market in this particular industry, carried a lot of weight in their decision," Sy said.

Chan said Axis Global Interactive was formed to develop more Filipino-developed mobile phone applications in the country.

The company currently maintains its own WAP portal, where people can download mobile contents such as wallpapers, themes, screensavers, logos, picture messages, ring tones and games.

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