Archives: June 2008

Alltell MyCircle Adds Unlimited Texts

Alltel customers who don’t necessarily want to talk to the people they chose for their MyCircle plan can now text them instead. Along with their plan for unlimited calls to the five, 10 or 20 contacts of their choice, subscribers can add unlimited text messaging to their circle for an extra $8 a month, RCR Wireless News reports.

We have to wonder, though, just how long this new plan will remain in effect, since Verizon Wireless is planning to scarf up the smaller player.

According to the article, Alltel has had the unlimited text plan and an accompanying family choice option to its MyCircle offering in the works for a while now and will continue with its planned upgrades, including enhancements to its network, as long as it is still its own company.

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Pocketgamer Says 123Play!

123play game.gifUK ad-funded mobile game site 123play.com has hooked up with Pocketgamer.co.uk in a deal that makes the mobile gaming news site the first place, aside from 123play.com and its mobile site, where consumers can download its games.

Pocketgamer has added a special 123play section to its site where visitors can enter some basic info and choose a game to have sent to their phone.

123play, which is only open to folks in the UK, offers free, ad-funded games from THQ Wireless, RealArcade, Digital Chocolate, Hands-On Mobile, Vivendi Games Mobile, PlayerX, Indiagames and Progressive Media. Its advertisers include Britvic, eBay, the Sun and NME.

The service faces stiff competition from established companies such as Greystripe, which has more than 800 free, ad-wrapped games and a growing network of distribution partners.

One Way to Monetize Apps? Get Acquired!

Pixverse LogoTechcrunch is reporting that hi5 has acquired one of the application developers that has built apps on their platform. This is the first time that any application developer has been acquired by a platform owner instead of a third-party company looking to expand their reach.

The company which got acquired, Pixverse, has appeared to develop an interesting chatroom which in addition to chat has the avatars of users moving around the screen. I have included a version of the chat room below. It’s an interesting way to interact. While it’s an interesting technology, I doubt that the company was acquired for that much.

Unfortunately I doubt we’ll ever know the exact number since it wasn’t announced. If you are looking for a fun way to chat while browsing through hi5, this looks like a pretty good solution. Based on this acquisition, I would doubt that we’ll see hi5 launching their own instant messaging solution anytime soon. Conversely, perhaps the acquisition was to expand upon the existing service.

Do you think the chat room below is useful? How much would you pay to acquire it?

Amobee Lands Telefonica

telefonica(3).jpgTelefonica has turned to Amobee Media Systems to manage a new global advertising program. By using Amobee’s global mobile advertising platform, the Spanish carrier can offer its advertisers a single point of contact for all the campaigns they wish to run and monitor across all of Telefonica’s networks, Mobile Marketer reports.

Amobee enables Telefonica to use one ad server to support the various WAP, messaging and other applications for its customers throughout South America, Mexico and Europe.

Telefonica, whose properties include O2 in the UK, will launch the Amobee-based service in Spain, Colombia, Mexico and the UK this year and in the rest of its territories throughout 2009.

Is Twitter Worth $1 Billion?

Twitter LogoThis morning I loaded up Twitter.com and received an error message telling me that the site was not responding. Not the good way to start the day for a billion dollar company. How did I come up with the company being worth $1 billion? I didn’t, my friend Nate Westheimer did. Nate wrote a piece suggesting that a mobile payment system would be Twitter’s ticket to becoming a billion dollar company in a short period of time.

Not a bad idea to be honest, and it is similar to the idea that Facebook has, which is preparing to launch a payment system for their platform. Want to send your friend $5 real quick for the beers they bought you last night? No problem, just text “p biznickman $5″. I hadn’t thought of this solution for Twitter previously, but this makes a lot of sense.

Micropayments are currently an area of rising importance. While I may not text my friends $0.50, I could easily see an API tying into Twitter to transfer small payments for a virtual gift or obtaining access to a premium blog post. While the concept is still foreign to many people, a text based way for transferring small amounts of money makes a ton of sense.

While Twitter doesn’t have a massive amount of market penetration, the site has become ubiquitous among early adopters and making the leap to the mainstream is not far away. So how will Twitter end up making money (if they can keep their site up)? Text based payments if they follow Nate’s advice. Do you agree that a Twitter based payment system would make a lot of sense?

Google, Tele Atlas Ink Maps Deal

Good news for Google Maps and Maps for Mobile users. Google and navigation and LBS content provider Tele Atlas have inked a long-term license agreement that gives Google access to Tele Atlas maps and content in some 200 countries.

The deal covers Google Maps, Google Earth and any future map-based or navigation service Google decides to deploy for mobile, online and desktop platforms. It also allows for Tele Atlas to edit its maps based on input from Google users.

Rogers Demands 3-year Commitment to 3G iPhone

iPhone 3G_630.jpgConsumers and mobile operators around the world might still be griping about the limits Apple puts on the availability of the iPhone, but today all our sympathy is with our brethren to the north.

Reports are that Rogers plans to require a three-year contract for its Canadian customers wanting a 3G iPhone. According to AfterDawn, folks wanting the new handset will also need to sign up for one of three data plans, which range from C$60 to C$115.

The cheapest plan comes with 150 voice minutes plus unlimited nights and weekends, 400MB of data and 75 outbound text messages. The next plan up, which costs $75, nets 300 minutes, 750MB of data and 100 texts. The upper-level plan includes 800 daytime minutes, 2GB of data and 300 texts. All three plans include unlimited incoming text and visual voicemail messages.

There is one bit of information missing from the Rogers news; although it will start selling the 3G iPhone on July 11, it has yet to disclose the price of the phone itself.

Where To Find Movies for Your Phone

New phones like the iPhone, the Instinct and a few other touch-screen devices make it seem almost viable to watch a movie on the tiny screen. But knowing that downloadable movies are available and figuring out where to get them and how to get them onto the phone are two different matters.

However, the folks at InformationWeek were kind enough to look at the various movie download sites and list the top ones for downloading movies on to mobiles.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Apple’s iTunes is on the list. Joining the showcase for iPhone content are Amazon Unbox, BitTorrent.com, CinemaNow, Movielink, Vongo and ZML.

The reviews list price, a sample of the flicks offered and the pros and cons of each site as a service for mobile phones.

Whrrl Takes a Spin on Motorola, Samsung

whrrl_1.jpgWhrrl, the mobile social networking and discovery service from Pelago, has added support for a number of handsets, including the BlackBerry World 8830, several flavors of the Motorola RAZR and the Samsung M610. Support for the iPhone is coming soon, the company promised.

The free service, which already worked on the BlackBerry Pearl and Curve and the Nokia N95, combines social networking, local discovery and user-generated content with mapping and micro-blogging to help find something to do or a place to go based on user ratings and where their friends are. New enhancements even let users plot their friends’ locations on the Whrrl map and drill down on the map to specific areas or criteria.

Whrrl is available to mobile users across the US, but it currently has “deep” location and event content for only a handful of major cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, New York, Austin, Miami and a few others.

PopCap Games Opens Asia-Pacific Office

PopCap_Games.jpg

PopCap Games has opened a new office in Shanghai, China, and has named James Gwertzman vice president of Asia-Pacific, according to a MediaPost article.

The report said that Gwertzman will oversee the casual gaming company’s operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region, leading the game and business development teams, artists and other staffers.

The new outpost is the latest in a series of office openings for the mobile game company, the most recent being in Korea and Singapore.

“We’ve had a modest ‘stealth’ presence in the area for two years now, but now we’re ready to open a fully staffed office,” Gwertzman said in the report. “With more than 400 million Internet users, the wired population of Asia is bigger than that of either North America or Europe, and casual games are very popular throughout the region.”