Under the Radar's Mobility is all about accessing Web services while away from the comforts of your home computer. While a great deal of that has to do with phones, many of the sites and services can be useful even when you're back at the homestead. The first four companies showing their stuff are Boopsie, Buzzwire, Dial Directions, and ImThere. While all four have mobile components, Boopsie and Dial Directions are phone-centric.
Boopsie showed off its mobile search application, which has both a standalone application for phones with open platforms like Windows Mobile and Palm, along with a BREW and J2ME application, and an ajaxy Web interface the company touts as iPhone-friendly. The search tool is focused around categories, which the user has to choose before seeing a search box. Boopsie's CEO Greg Carpenter did a live demo of the service on a Palm Treo for finding a Wikipedia entry. The results come up live and very quickly. It's also got prefix search, meaning you need to type in only the first few letters of a word in multi-word searches.
The company makes its money from theme-skinned clients and an enterprise version that can be tweaked for businesses wanting to use it as an internal tool. Eventually Boopsie hopes to integrate keyword placement with wallpapers, ringtones, and all the other things that are making buckets of cash for mobile-phone companies.
The panel of judges chided Boopsie for putting too much pressure on the consumer who needs to pre-think searches by picking a category--something that goes against the current trend of letting users be "lazy" and simply type into a blank search box. Carpenter says consumers who use the application tend to use it extensively enough after doing a single search that they identify channels they go back to.
Buzzwire focuses on streaming media, which is made from audio, video, and written content like blog posts and news articles. The service is launching "early" next year, as soon as it can line up carrier support, although the company has had a 3000-user beta trial going since July. The application lets people find stuff to read, listen to, or watch online, and make customized lists of favorites that can be accessed on both the phone and from a desktop browser. There's also a social-networking component with a sharing service that lets users swap bookmarks with one another.
The big question from the moderators is how the company would maintain whatever deal it have with the carriers without being pushed out over time. Buzzwire's answer was that the content it serves up is king, and that it always tries to maintain compatibility on as many platforms as possible.… Read more