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!