Posts tagged Feature
Reliance and Facebook announced the launch of a new Facebook mobile app exclusively available for Reliance subscribers in India for a 3 month period. The new Facebook app for Java-powered feature phones will be made available for most of the popular handset models in India. Reliance customers who are also Facebook users can now stay connected on their mobile phones without having to upgrade to a smartphone. Reliance will be the first and only operator in India to offer this app. Reliance is providing a special promotional offer where all users can enjoy this app free for three months without incurring any data charges.
The Facebook app provides a ‘smartphone like’ experience on feature phones. It brings most of the popular features and user experience already deployed on Facebook mobile app for smartphones to, and is optimized for speed and performance on the Reliance Communications network. It includes several new and unique features that enable people to stay connected through Facebook including:
Viewing photos from your mobile phone
Synchronizing your local address book contacts with your Facebook friends
Facebook login to third party services within the app, such as news, sports, games, and weather
The new Facebook app is optimized to use as little data as possible while still providing a great user experience thus making it much cheaper for regular users. The app will be available for Reliance Communications customers to download without incurring any data charges from RWorld on their Reliance phones by typing – http://wap.rworld.co.in.
“This agreement between Reliance Communications and Facebook will unleash the real power of Social Networking in India. This tie-up will enable anytime anywhere access to Facebook from almost every popular handset model currently available in India”, said Prashant Gokarn, 3G Business Head, Reliance Communications. “Our mobile network spanning 24000 towns and 6 Lakh villages serving 97% of Indian population will also promote access to popular social networking platforms across the length and breadth of the country”, he added.
“We are always looking to work with innovative operators on ways to enable people to easily access Facebook wherever they are,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business, Facebook. “Through our collaboration with Reliance Communications, we’re thrilled to offer yet another way for people to stay connected with their friends and family through Facebook and bring a high quality and high speed mobile app experience to feature phones in an affordable way.”
Social networking goliath Facebook has acquired mobile application platform provider Snaptu, its partner on the Facebook for Feature Phones application launched earlier this year. Financial terms were not disclosed, although reports peg the acquisition price between $60 million and $70 million. Snaptu confirmed the deal on its blog, adding the acquisition is expected to close within a few weeks.
Facebook for Feature Phones launched in January, targeting international markets like India, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mexico, and promises a user experience incorporating the platform’s most popular features. Supporting over 2,500 handsets, from manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics, Facebook for Feature Phones includes an easier-to-navigate homescreen, contact synchronization and accelerated scrolling of photos and friend updates. Snaptu states it will be “working hard to offer a richer and more advanced Facebook app on virtually every mobile phone.”
Last week, Snaptu unveiled a new solution giving feature phone users on-the-go access to professional networking service LinkedIn. The Snaptu app enables LinkedIn users to view their update stream, gather “meeting intelligence” about customers and partners, and extend and accept network invitations. Users can also access connections to view how their networks have grown, identify mutual contacts and explore profile changes.
- read this Snaptu blog entry
LinkedIn, Snaptu team for feature phone app
Facebook targets feature phones with new mobile app
Facebook for Android update adds new photo-sharing tools
Facebook launches single sign-on mobile apps access
Facebook trialing location-based check-in incentives
Facebook squashes branded smartphone rumors
Acknowledging that the majority of phones sold around the world are on-smartphone models, Facebook has agreed to buy Israeli start-up Snaptu, which offers social networking services on simpler phones.
As many as four in ten Facebook users currently connect from their mobile phones. But with IDC data showing that smartphones account for less than a quarter of worldwide mobile phone sales, Facebook’s keen to mop up some of the rest.
Snaptu’s apps are claimed to run on 80 percent of all mobile devices. It last week launched a slimmed-down version of LinkdIn for feature phones, and launched a Facebook app at the beginning of this year.
“Earlier this year, we announced the launch of a new Facebook mobile application to give people a great mobile experience on a broad range of feature phones. The Facebook for Feature Phones app currently works on more than 2,500 devices,” says Snaptu on its website.
“We soon decided that working as part of the Facebook team offered the best opportunity to keep accelerating the pace of our product development. And joining Facebook means we can make an even bigger impact on the world.”
Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, although Israeli media report that the deal’s worth between $40 and $70 million. It’s expected to close in the next few weeks.
The internet search giant Google has launched its web version of Foursquare on a new version of Google Maps. Maps offer to share check-in with your friends connected with Latitude and possibly publish your position in your Google profile. While updating its Maps application for Android, it took the opportunity to add a function of its check—in location-based service. It offers a variety of locations corresponding roughly to where you were located. The improved software will feature ‘pings’ for Latitude, hotpot tweets and enhanced search results. Earlier, Google Places enabled sharing recommendations and ratings with hotpot friends only.
With this new version, anyone can post their ratings and reviews of places like shops, cafes and restaurants directly to their Twitter accounts. This can be done by simply choosing the ‘Post review to Twitter’ option from the rating widget.
Instead of texting or calling close by Latitude friends when they are spotted on the map, people can now swiftly ‘ping’ them. The Latitude ping feature will send a notification to the concerned person’s Android mobile device, asking them to check in at a particular place. This ‘ping’ attribute requires both friends to use version 5.2 of the app.
Being the most downloaded app in the world by a longshot is not enough for Facebook.
A suite of innovative partnerships unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week is pushing the company’s social networking features deeper into mobile devices at all price points. This will not only potentially bring tens of millions of brand new users on-board, it will also more deeply intertwine Facebook in the everyday lives of its active users in the developed world.
The word “Facebook phone” remains a sticky subject, as the company is cautious about irritating partners. Handset-maker HTC stopped short of using it, while Facebook’s head of mobile products Erick Tseng has joked that Gemalto turns every phone into a Facebook phone.
Low-End: Gemalto created a SIM Card with Facebook embedded inside, meaning that features like friending, status updates, wall posts and messages are available to all SIM-compliant phones even if the owners don’t have a data plan.
This could help Facebook reach tens or hundreds of millions of new users in developing countries, who may carry mobile phones but have yet to sign up for a data plan. Given that growth is largely tapped out in the U.S. and Western Europe, Facebook is relying on these emerging markets to grow beyond 600 million users.
> Continue reading on Inside Mobile Apps.
Barcelona – A portentous number slipped past almost unnoticed last week when technology news concentrated on Nokia joining forces with Microsoft to develop platforms for mobile phones.
Sales of smartphones topped those of personal computers for the first time. According to research from the International Data Corporation, vendors delivered 101 million smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2010, well above the total of 93.5 million PCs – signalling an entry into a new age in computing.
At Mobile World Congress, an annual mobile phone expo running Monday to Thursday in Barcelona, Spain, there are likely to be some uncomfortable meetings between the losers and gainers.
Smartphones are in effect pocket-sized computers that just happen to also make phone calls. A world that carries its computers around in its pockets will come up with new varieties of advertising and money-making ideas.
About one in five mobile phones sold worldwide last year was a smartphone. Market analysts remain divided in their predictions about what will happen next, agreeing only that it depends on the price of tomorrow’s smartphones.
Carolina Milanesi at Gartner, a leading analyst, suggests smartphones could claim 35 per cent of the market within two years.
‘And that’s a conservative estimate,’ she said. If smartphones become cheaper, the share might range above 50 per cent. And if they become really affordable on all continents, maybe the share would be 70 to 80 per cent.
The sales figures in ‘mature’ markets such as Western Europe and North America, where already more than half the phones sold are smartphones, suggest the way ahead.
But invert the figures and one sees that worldwide, eight out of 10 mobile phones currently sold are not smartphones. The industry term for them is ‘dumbphones,’ made for phone calls only and economic to buy.
The prospects send a chill through Nokia of Finland, the company that makes hundreds of millions of ‘dumbphones’ per year and currently rules the roost. If the trend continues, Nokia could soon be a blast from the past, a maker of yesterday’s technology.
That is why Nokia announced Friday it was ceasing further development of its Symbian operating system and would adopt Windows Phone from Microsoft for its high-end phones.
The gainers from the smartphone boom are Google and Apple. Web search giant Google leads an alliance pushing the Android operating system for phones, while Apple has given the world its iPhone, running Apple’s proprietary operating system iOS.
With each iteration of their software, the two giants set the bar even higher for potential competitors. That was where Symbian lost out.
Their notable achievement has been to create ‘platforms’ that allow each user to turn a telephone into a ‘smart’ device by loading applications or apps to suit their needs. Selling apps has become a key revenue stream for big web companies.
Market analysts estimated last year that annual sales of apps brought in 5 billion dollars worldwide, and that the market could expand to more than 15 billion dollars in four years’ time.
That is revenue that the wireless companies operating networks, the big kids on the block in the ‘old system,’ largely miss out on.
Wireless companies can still decide what operating systems and what phone models to sell in their shops, but the platform model cuts them out of the business selling the money-spinning apps.
Gartner’s Milanesi said they have been degraded to service providers in the emerging system and forecasts they may not be able to escape from this niche. But Google and Apple are also well aware that a smartphone is nothing without a fast web connection.
Today (1/25/11), the Google Mobile blog announced a new feature it has gone live with called “Number Porting.” In a nutshell, this feature allows you to convert a number you have directly with you carrier into a Google Voice number. The benefit of this is now being able to take advantage of Google Voice’s myriad features with the phone number you’ve undoubtedly had for years! It seems like a fairly straight-forward process, but it’s not free. Watch the following video for an explanation of how Number Porting works:
If you are unable to watch the video above, the process of Number Porting is roughly as follows:
1 - Log in to your Google Voice account, visit “Settings” and click on “Change /Port” as located next to your Google Voice number.
2 - Once the number has been ported, your mobile service plan will be canceled. You will then have to purchase a new mobile plan from your provider which means you will have a new mobile phone number.
3 - You take your new phone number and tie it to your Google Voice account. Once complete, the number you ported will now ring through to all the services you choose that are available to you from Google Voice’s features!
As for cost, it will run you $20 to port your number to Google Voice and the porting process is “usually completed with 24 hours.” Number Porting is noted as being available now for all existing Google Voice users and will be opened to new users “within the next few weeks.”
What do you think? Do you see yourself porting the phone number you’ve had for years to your Google Voice account or do you not trust the longevity of the service enough to make such a permanent step? I have my reservations at the moment but I absolutely see the potential in this! How about you?
Source: Google Mobile Blog
Bay, Philippines – For the past several years, Pascual Madrid applied the first round of fertilizer on his rice field 20 days after the seedlings were transplanted, a practice he learned from his father.
Last week, he was told he should do it earlier.
‘So this cropping season, I’ll be applying the fertilizer on the 15th day,’ said the 52-year-old farmer from San Antonio village in Bay town in Laguna province, 45 kilometres south of Manila. ‘Apparently, it’s good to apply the fertilizer early so there will be more grains in my plant.’
Madrid got the recommendation from a free mobile phone service launched Monday by the Department of Agriculture and the International Rice Research Institute to help farmers boost production through correct fertilizer application.
The Nutrient Manager for Rice Mobile also recommended that Madrid use a less expensive type of fertilizer.
‘I’ve got nothing to lose in trying this new thing,’ Madrid said. ‘I don’t think the experts will be giving advice that isn’t good.’
With the technology developed by the institute’s scientists, Filipino farmers are the first to be able to use their mobile phones to seek advice about the use of fertilizers.
Rowena Castillo, an assistant scientist at the institute and a member of the team that designed the Nutrient Manager, said the service was developed to be able to reach more farmers rapidly.
The institute first developed a computer-based tool that provided fertilizer guidelines to farmers in 2008. It later became available online, but scientists realized that many farmers do not have access to the internet.
‘So we thought, why not use mobile phones because there are more people who use mobile phones,’ Castillo said. ‘Farmers can also call anytime of the day to get the information.’
Farmers call a toll-free number and answer a series of questions to receive a text message with the recommendations. They can choose to receive the instructions in English or any of three major local dialects.
The service is free with the support of the country’s two top mobile phone service providers.
The rice institute is developing similar applications for other countries, such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
‘The Philippines is just the starting point,’ Castillo said at the institute’s headquarters in Los Banos town.
‘We already started developing software for other countries in Asia,’ she said.
The service was generally welcomed during field tests, but Castillo said some farmers had difficulty using the mobile phone application and expressed doubts about some of the recommendations.
‘The main challenge is how to change the way they manage their farms,’ she said. ‘They are already used to their old ways.’
Another pitfall for the service is that if wrong data is given to the automated system, it would also generate wrong recommendations.
‘That’s why we need to educate the farmers, and the Department of Agriculture will be doing that,’ Castillo said.
Robert Guevarra, 30, admitted his doubts about the recommendations for his 2.4-hectare rice field.
‘I was told I should only be using six to seven sacks of fertilizer per cropping season,’ he said. ‘We have always been using between 10 and 12 sacks.’
‘I’m a bit skeptical,’ he said, ‘but if this is correct, it would save us money, so I will definitely give it a try.’
While the service is currently limited to giving advice on fertilizer use, the institute plans to add more services to the mobile phone system, Castillo said.
Other services in the pipeline are links to sources of fertilizer and credit for the farmers and an option to send photos of plants or insects for analysis and advice for pest management.
Oscar Panisales is already looking forward to the additional services that could be available to farmers on the mobile phone.
The 45-year-old farmer said the harvest from his single hectare went down to 90 sacks last season from 130 sacks previously because of attacks by black bugs as well as from rats and snails.
‘I need advice on how to fight black bugs in the field,’ he said. ‘It’s not yet available on the phone, but I’m hoping the information will be there soon.’
Facebook users with feature phones will now be able to enjoy the same mobile Facebook experience their smartphone-wielding friends have been embracing – and without the data charges.
“Smartphones have offered better features for sharing with friends but aren’t used by most people around the world,” says Facebook program manager Mark Heynen in a January 20 blog post.
To help people access their Facebook accounts from their feature phones, Facebook has developed a new application that will work on more than 2,500 devices (around 80 percent of devices sold worldwide) from handset makers such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and LG.
“The app provides a better Facebook experience for our most popular features, including an easier-to-navigate home screen, contact synchronization, and fast scrolling of photos and friend updates,” writes Heynen.
During the first 90 days of launch 14 mobile operators globally have agreed to let feature phone users on their network try the app without any data charges.
The app was built with the assistance of Snaptu, a company that offers “useful, intuitive mobile services to the 95% of mobile users that do not have advance smart phones.”
The initiative is similar to Facebook’s 0.facebook.com mobile site that was announced in May 2010. The company collaborated with mobile phone operators around the globe to provide fast and free Facebook access to mobile users that were restricted by slow connections and expensive data fees.
Initially feature phone users signed up to Dialog in Sri Lanka, Life in the Ukraine, Play in Poland, StarhHub in Singapore, STC in Saudi Arabia, Three in Hong Kong, Tunisiana in Tunisia, Viva in the Dominican Republic and Vodafone in Romania will be able to access the new Facebook app on m.fb.snaptu.com/f.
The service will launch on Mobilicity in Canada, Reliance in India, Telcel in Mexico, TIM in Brazil and Vivacom in Bulgaria “soon.”
Facebook has launched a new mobile site for feature phones, with the social networking site now easily available on the vast majority of the world’s mobile phones.
‘Feature phones’ (essentially any phones that are not classified as smartphones) make up nearly 80 per cent of all mobile phone owners in the US, according to a Nielsen study from last June.
While early adopters and tech fans embrace the latest smartphones and apps, it is easy to forget that the vast majority of mobile phone users still don’t use or own smartphones.
Millions more on mobile Facebook
Facebook’s latest mobile app for the lower-end phone user will now give millions more users quick and easy access to their Facebook messages, events, pictures, news feeds, profiles and the rest.
The app gives users a better, almost smartphone-like Facebook experience that includes simple homescreen navigation, contact syncing and fast scrolling of updates and photos.
Over on the Facebook blog, the company’s mobile program manager Mark Heynen notes:
“We want people to have a great mobile experience no matter what type of phone they carry. Smartphones have offered better features for sharing with friends but aren’t used by most people around the world.
The Facebook rep notes that its new mobile website will work on over 2,500 lower-end mobile phones from the likes of Nokia, Samsung and LG.
The mobile app is similar in design to the 0.facebook.com site with Facebook listing 14 mobile operators worldwide offering free data access to users trying out the new Facebook mobile app for the first 90 days.
Via The Facebook Blog