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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Nice one, Vodafone

Full marks to Big Red for collaborating with MySpace, rather than attempting to create its own social-networking service. Clearly, MySpace works because it's international and access-independent; saying "no, sorry, you can't be my friend as you're on T-Mobile" is a non-starter.

Also, it seems to fit well with Voda's increasing focus on linking together mobile- and PC-based services. Something like MySpace will not work in a mobile-only context - some things like page-layout are obviously best done with the aid of a mouse & big screen, but at the same time it seems likely that a large % of photos uploaded will have originated on mobile handsets.

Interestingly, it looks like the service won't allow users to view "full" MySpace pages on their handsets. This is unsurprising, as the pages can have huge numbers of separate subcomponents & be large in size, especially with streaming or animated elements which would severely tax the capabilities of network, browser, and handset memory/processor. Also, it would be near-impossible to guarantee QoS, as the component page elements come from all over the web.

(An interesting aside - apparently a single MySpace page can contain 200+ separate IP locations for the various elements, which could completely fry the DNS lookup capabilities of an operator's network).

Some questions remain:

1) How much will it cost?
2) Obviously, it has to be available to prepay subscribers - how will that work exactly?
3) What features aren't available, and which others involve paying extra?
4) Will it be part of a flatrate data plan?
5) What exactly are the terms of exclusivity? Just Europe, presumably? Or is the Helio/MySpace relationship threatened?
6) Does the exclusivity just refer to operators bundling the MySpace client? Can non-Voda users download it to their handset independently?

I still reckon the best MySpace mobile experience would be on a larger, web-tablet type device with a 480x800 or larger screen. I often use the example of a MySpace gadget as a stereotype killer-app for WiMAX.


Carlo Longino said...

Hi Dean,

Helio's exclusivity with MySpace expired a bit ago... Cingular's already announced a similar deal as Vodafone's, allowing access with a standalone MySpace app. Helio, however, it still delivering its WAP-based version.

Anonymous said...

I would argue that operators actually have to do both, launch their own photo-videosharing/blogging site and partner with the leading sites such as MySpace, Facebook etc... Helio actually offers both Helio Album and MySpace Mobile (soon to be offered as a dedicated app if rumors are to be believed, I guess it makes it harder to integrate the camera function). Global pricing for access is going to be interesting though, with the range going from $0 (Helio All-In, AMP'D) to a couple of bucks (Cingular) for non-operator owned sites (i.e. MySpace). Also, the sales and marketing tie in is going to be interesting to watch; I can't imagine Vodaphone offering no ETF deals for MySpace members like Helio did.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say ' easier to integrate the camera function'