9/23/2009 11:31:00 AM
Social media is still relatively unknown territory for mobile operators and manufacturers, who are currently in the process of working out the best ways to use the existing social network channels.
The most common approach so far has been to create platforms that integrate the popular sites. There are two obvious reasons why they’re doing this.
Firstly, the sites fuel data usage. Secondly, creating their own platforms to integrate existing sites effectively claws back some of the ownership of users messaging, which once happened almost exclusively by text, but is now increasingly taking place though sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The key mobile products and services that integrate existing social networks include:
Orange Social Life (pictured, right)
A service accessible through the Orange World portal, it gathers your Facebook, MySpace and Bebo status and picture updates onto a single screen. Orange is thought to be working on bringing Twitter into the equation as well.
Vodafone People evolved from social networking website Zyb, which the operator acquired in 2008 for around £30m. Like Orange Social Life, the site is aimed at bringing together the various social networks. Vodafone also announced this week that it will be launching a ‘range of other internet’ services. These were unknown as Mobile went to press, so check
www.mobiletoday.co.uk for the latest updates.
Nokia Lifecasting (with Facebook)
Nokia became the first operator to mould GPS with social media, after it announced a partnership with Facebook at Nokia World earlier this month. The service, called Lifecasting, will enable users to pinpoint the exact location of their Facebook friends. Lifecasting will be available on the new Nokia N97 Mini handset.
INQ was the first manufacturer to launch a fully integrated device with the INQ1 handset. INQ devices integrate the key existing social networks, allowing users to receive all messages from the various platforms in one thread.
HTC followed INQ in offering a single thread of messages on the HTC Hero. The handset offers the ‘Sense’ platform, which HTC says will now be a mainstay for its future key handsets.
Motorola ‘Motoblur’ (pictured, left)
Last week, Motorola became the third manufacturer to offer an integrated social network service with Motoblur, which will be available on its new Android handset, Dext.