You know it’s a busy day when we have a mobile announcement as cool as this and I’m the last to blog about it. :-)
So here’s the deal. NewsGator is into mobile in a big way, and we’ve had a mobile HTML reader for quite some time (hint – if you’re an existing subscriber, go here to find the mobile configuration area). But it’s time for much more than this.
Today, we announced a couple of things. First, we acquired SmartFeed and SmartRead for Windows Mobile, and hired Kevin Cawley (their creator) in the process. You can download the free previews of the applications right now; we’re working on a number of changes right now, including making them dramatically faster, and we expect to have a public beta available in the next month or so.
At the same time, we also announced our J2ME reader, for java-enabled devices. This should be available in beta right around the same time, and will provide a similar experience to the windows mobile reader.
Well, here’s the thing. We’ve always been about “any time, any place, any device.” We’ve had a great story about it up to now, with rich applications for the web, Outlook, Windows, the Mac, Windows Media Center, and a lighter experience for HTML-capable mobile devices. All of these applications sync together (FeedDemon and NetNewsWire in their current betas), and it’s really a great experience.
But on mobile devices, we found the experience wanting. Using the HTML mobile app ourselves, and watching others use it, it’s very handy – but not as streamlined as it could be. And there are certain missing functions – saving items to clippings, etc. Some of these features are being added, but some are difficult to implement effectively in the confines of a mobile browser.
Enter the rich mobile clients. These clients provide a great experience, tailored for the device you’re using. Download items, save them, even browse for new feeds; they really take the mobile content experience to the next level. And they can provide better responsiveness, even on low bandwidth connections like GPRS.
But there are already mobile clients out there; why NewsGator?
Well here’s the thing. And I’m sure I’ll get some raised eyebrows for this, and at least one hate mail…but in my opinion, a mobile RSS aggregator is useless if it’s not synchronized with the rest of your life.
Useless? Yep. Other than the first week after we buy a new phone or PDA, when we play with absolutely everything, most of us use mobile devices as an extension of our everyday lives. It’s not the only device we use – it’s a companion device that we use when we’re not sitting at our desk, or with our laptop on. And it’s certainly not the only place we want to consume content.
When these mobile applications are synchronized with NewsGator Online and the rest of the suite of products, though, they become much more powerful. Now it’s synchronized with your primary content application (be it NG/Online, FeedDemon, NetNewsWire, Outlook, or whatever other application you use), and you can use it as a companion device. It’s amazingly efficient.
If you’re going to MIX, be sure to come to the RSS talk, where you’ll see current (and private) builds of both the NewsGator windows mobile application, and the new version of NetNewsWire! And _much_ more – I’ll write some more about this next week.
And in the meantime…make sure your mobile data plan is active, and watch for NewsGator’s mobile beta launches. And a big “welcome” to Kevin Cawley!
I get the impression that one major platform is missing from the NG picture: Linux. There’s no usable aggregator for a FeedDemon user like me.
Do you know of a project implementing the NewsGator API for Linux?
So *that’s* where Kevin wanted to use the quote… :)
Seriously, congrats to Kevin and the Newsgator team. I’ve worked with Kevin in the past and he’s a rockstar.
I’ve been a FeedDemon user since day one and the whole sync story between desktop, web, and now mobile clients is really coming together. With the addition of Kevin to the NG team, I look forward to seeing (and using) cool things before too long.
PS – I agree. Without sync, mobile RSS isn’t convenient. I’ve used another Pocket PC aggregator and while the app itself is good, having to import OPML from the desktop to get my personal feeds really gets old… to say nothing of the lack of read/unread state.
What about Palm? Web access, especially RSS feeds, on my Treo 650 is definitely a killer app for me. Call me a split personality, but I work on a Mac and Windows machine with my Treo 650 alongside and the combination of tools Newsgator provides is awe inspiring. (I can’t wait to get my hands on the new NetNewsWire for my Mac).
Frankly, the weakest link has been the mobile version of Newsgator. I actually do at least 50% or more of my RSS reading on my Treo and one of the my biggest complaints has been the lack of tools for saving interesting posts or marking posts as read without marking all posts in a feed as read. We’re talking a couple posts here and a couple there when I have a few minutes. When a feed has 50 posts and I can only read 5 it’s aggravating that my only choices are leave them all unread or mark them all read. So the announcement of these new tools comes at a perfect time.
That said, I don’t have the new Windows Mobile Treo (maybe I should switch!) and my experience so far with Java on the Treo has been less then stellar. I’ve tried the Java version of Opera and the Java Google Maps tools and all they have done is reinforced my already low opinion of Java applications. I only hope you guys prove me wrong!
All in all, though, I’m tickled with Newsgator’s commitment to a synchronized world. Can’t wait.
Please build a feeddemon for palm!
Thomas – you’re right, we don’t have a Linux product. I’m not aware of one that syncs with our system, although that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. I’ll look around and see what I can do.
Jerry – I’m totally with you on the limitations of our mobile HTML reader; many of them are due to the difficulty in building a cross-device mobile HTML application, and the limitations therein. As for your Treo, though, we have a couple folks in the office with Treo 650’s, and they’ve been running our Java mobile app without any problems…when we get it out in beta, be sure to download it and let us know how it works for you!
Ivan – you didn’t mention what sort of Palm device you mean…but if it’s a Treo, our mobile java app will work great. If it’s something else, it should work if it has java installed…otherwise, umm, send me the model number so I can do some research.
Treo can be problematic out of the box. Not all customerts have JVM pre-installed.
As has been blogged about, and formally announced, NewsGator Go! for Windows Mobile was released this morning. If…[more]