Tag: Mobile

GadgetTrak goes mobile

[HTML1]GadgetTrak BlackBerryPortland loves mobile. And, clearly, Portland-based GadgetTrak, the company that turns your stolen electronic devices into a sentient Neighborhood Watch for nabbing thieves, is no different.

That’s why they have just announced the launch of GadgetTrak’s thief-thwarting technology on mobile devices:

GadgetTrak® Mobile Security enables device owners to send remote commands to wipe data from their device and back data up to another phone. Additional commands for Blackberry devices can be sent to lock the device, signal an alarm that cannot be disabled by the thief, get the current location of the device, send a message to the main screen, and initiate a remote call back.

Simply install GadgetTrak on your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device, and you gain remote access to destroy the data on the device, backup contacts, lock the device and signal an alarm, get the location of the device via GPS, call a predetermined number, and—perhaps my favorite—taunt the thief with a custom message that appears on-screen.

For more information on the mobile solution and GadgetTrak’s other products, visit GadgetTrak.

GoLife Mobile adapts to changing conditions

GoLife MobileAs is evidenced by the time I’ve spent chatting with James Whitley time and again, it’s safe to say that I’m impressed with the leadership at Hillsboro-based GoLife Mobile.

And their latest move only further solidifies that opinion.

In an impressively transparent admission, GoLife Mobile proposes a change in their business pan—right on the home page of the GoLife Mobile site.

GoLife points to a number of changing market conditions that have had a decided effect on the company:

Industry Growth: Consolidations and mergers such as the acquisition of Symbian by Nokia are changing the mobile landscape. The carriers are rapidly opening their frameworks, recognizing both the inevitability and the value of community-driven mobile application development.

Locative Services: Location-based services are taking off like wildfire (who would like to write the location-based service to monitor wildfire growths, we’d sure like to see that before next summer in the West!) Locative services and mobile devices are such a natural fit that we are strong supporters of WhereCamp PDX.

The iPhone Appstore: The release of the iPhone and its AppStore has fundamentally changed the perception of mobile devices. The iPhone has precipitated the revolution that we knew was coming: people are beginning to realize the potential of mobile for more than just voice and text communications. We can’t tell you how exciting this is for us!

Technology Evolutions: Mobile technology is rapidly changing, growing, evolving, new capabilities are being added daily. For instance, near-field ID chips are being integrated into mobile devices already. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to poll your mobile phone and ask it where you left your glasses? Or your keys?

Economic Devolutions: There’s been another change that we’ve been tracking, like everyone else, we’ve been watching the state of financial markets. Sad to say, but the credit crisis has taken its toll on small businesses like GoLife Mobile, and has affected our ability to grow out our framework as rapidly as we’d anticipated.

But, GoLife isn’t crying in their microbrewed beer. They have a new plan.

GoLife is retrenching. And moving forward to take advantage of the obvious opportunities in the mobile market:

Given these changes, we’re changing our business too, to make sure that we stay on the cutting edge of the market and the technologies, and that our framework gives our customers, users, and developer partners what they need. After looking at the state of the art in mobile and what’s coming down the pike as far as technologies and services, we are taking our mobile client apart for some major revisions.

It will be truly interesting to see what emerges from this change in direction.

One thing is for sure. This is yet another reason I point to GoLife Mobile as one of the leading local mobile talents.

If anyone can make it, they will.

Reminder: Mobile Portland on the iPhone App Store

iPhoneEveryone is still all gaga over the newest release of the Apple iPhone 3G. We can’t seem to stop talking about it.

And while 3G battery life seems to be the biggest complaint, the biggest win—without a doubt—has been the release of iPhone Apps and the Apple App Store.

And tonight at Mobile Portland, long-time Apple proponent and founding organizer of iPhoneDevCamp, Raven Zachary, will be discussing the “iPhone App Store Opportunity,” providing his insights into this new vehicle for interacting with the Apple platform and its users:

In his talk, Raven will provide a basic overview of the process of developing and distributing software for the iPhone and iPod touch, and share some key findings and metrics gathered in the two weeks since the launch of the App Store. What does the App Store mean for third party mobile developers?

The event will be held at the AboutUs offices in Portland’s Olympic Mills Commerce Center, 107 SE Washington St., Suite 520. Things get started around 6:00 PM.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, visit Mobile Portland on Upcoming. For more on the organization behind these events, visit Mobile Portland.

 

 

CelleCast dials up Lou Dobbs

Vancouver-based CelleCast, the service that lets you listen to on-demand radio programming via your mobile phone, has announced that CNN-anchor and household-name Lou Dobbs has signed on to distribute his radio show through the service.

“Having America’s Most Influential Independent Voice as an exclusive channel in the CelleCast Network is a big boost for mobile interactive radio to flood the mainstream,” said Andrew Deal, CelleCast founder and CEO. “As a long time and extremely well respected anchor, author, and speaker Lou Dobbs joins some of America’s finest radio programs on the CelleCast system.”

CelleCast, Inc. was launched in November 2007 to bring radio and all things audio to any phone, any time, anywhere. CelleCast is building a network of programming focused on top-tier radio programs. Its current partner networks include Westwood One, Premiere Radio Networks, Advanced Media and Envision Radio Networks.

For more information, visit CelleCast.

Use the mobile Web? Cloud Four needs your help

Cloud FourPortland-based Cloud Four, a burgeoning startup that has found more and more of its time dedicated to mobile development, could use some of your help.

We need your help for a research project. If you have a phone that have web access, please go to http://cloudfour.com/mobile/ to test the number of concurrent connections your phone makes. Your phone’s browser will need to display images for the test to work.

We’ve also set up a SMS keyword to make it easier to get to the test url. You can simply text MOBILETEST to 41411 on your phone, and you will receive back instructions on how to test your phone.

For those of you who haven’t dabbled in mobile Web development, it’s very much akin to Web development in mid to late ’90s. Lots of desire to develop, but not much in the way of data to guide that development.

With mobile devices, the speed of web pages is even more important given bandwidth, processor and memory constraints. Yet, for those trying to take advantage of the techniques promoted by Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site, it is nearly impossible to find how mobile browsers differ from desktop browsers.

For more information on the test and the thinking behind it, visit Cloud Four.

GoLife Mobile dials up Voskamp

Hillsboro-based GoLife Mobile, creators of the VADOWERX framework for mobile application development, has a added a new exec to their team, Edwin Voskamp, who has joined GoLife Mobile to lead corporate engineering.

According to a press release GoLife Mobile dropped late last week:

[Voskamp] has over twenty years experience designing and constructing intelligent solutions for distributed Internet and Intranet information applications used by Fortune 500 companies, including American Express, Baxter, Cardinal Health, Kraft Foods, and RJR/Nabisco.

Apart from adding another seasoned exec to the team, this hire has ramifications for “who does what” at GoLife Mobile. With Voskamp joining the team, founder Mounir Shita, President of Technology, is now free to focus more energy on the company’s technology strategy by handing the day-to-day management of the VADOWERX-framework activities to Voskamp.

It’s still early in GoLife’s life. And while the VADOWERX framework has been released to developers and is meeting with a positive reception, they don’t have the luxury of slowing down. Having Shita in a position to spend more time on vision and strategy should prove to be a positive step for ensuring the organization’s continued success.

For more information on the company, visit GoLife Mobile. For more on GoLife’s Java-based mobile application development framework, visit VADOWERX.

GoLife Mobile: Chatting with James Whitley, CEO (Part 2)

Last week, I published the first part of my interview with GoLife Mobile’s CEO, James Whitley. That post focused on the discussions of the GoLife Mobile Vadowerx framework. Now, I’d like to touch on our discussions about Portland, it’s culture, and the potential it holds to become something extraordinary.

(As an aside, it was a pleasant surprise to run into James at Startupalooza. “Where’s part 2?” he asked. Right here, Mr. Whitley. Right here.)

Portland as a venue for startups

I’m always interested to get anyone’s take on Portland. But it’s especially interesting talking to people who are running businesses here. They often have a multitude of things that they love about Portland, but there are still those little perturbing issues that keep the environment from seeming “too perfect.”

Luckily, those perturbing issues are generally issues that are surmountable. That’s why I’m always happy to help people get those issues out on the table.

Whitley did.

And as I began to question him on his reasons—“Why Portland?”, “What does this area offer?”, and the like—his affection for the area was palpable. And his deep ties in the region only further that affection.

But what I got most from Whitley was not his impressions of the past—it was his enthusiasm for the potential here in Portland, for today and for the future.

“I would put the talent in this town up against talent anywhere else,” said Whitley. “The Valley, Back East, anywhere. The people here are exceptional.”

And, in Whitley’s opinion, that talent is not in limited supply.

“There is a ton of talent here in the Portland area,” he said. “I am always talking to people with whom I would like to work. I don’t think many people realize the sheer wealth of talent we have here.”

So, if we’re so talented, I asked, egotistically and presumptuously lumping myself in with the “exceptional talent” here in the Portland area, why aren’t we seeing more growth? Why aren’t we seeing more startups taking root?

And that’s when we get to those problems. Those issues that are holding Portland back from achieving its extraordinary position. Those problems that we have the opportunity to fix.

“Portland has a problem with being a classic underachiever,” said Whitley. “So much talent. So much promise. But we’re not capitalizing on it.”

In staunch agreement, I asked for further details.

“We’re always hearing how we’re ‘not as good as whomever,'” he continued. “And unfortunately, I think many people have begun to believe that. I don’t. But I think some people do.”

And in Whitley’s opinion, that stance is only exacerbated by another problem: finding sources of funding.

While a number of Silicon Forest startups have seen continued confidence in follow-on funding as of late—MyStrands, Jive, iovation, and SplashCast, to name a few—the prospect of early funding remains a bit of an enigma for Portland companies.

“Portland is lacking is terms of early startup funding,” Whitley said. “There really isn’t a good network for seeding smaller companies, at this point. We could use some people working to fix that because it would really help the town as a whole.”

And that lack of early stage funding, coupled with the underachiever mindset, is tending to suppress the vigor that is bubbling just below the surface. Tends to prevent us here in the Silicon Forest from realizing our potential.

“There are a number of incredibly intelligent people working jobs that aren’t even intellectually stimulating, let alone challenging,” said Whitley. “Simply because they haven’t found the opportunity and funding to pursue their passion.”

I’m sure Whitley would agree, that we’re on the cusp of something big.

No doubt, GoLife Mobile and Whitley could have a very big role to play in that growth and success. And our realizing the potential of the talent in this area.

I’m looking forward to being part of that change.

GoLife Mobile: Chatting with James Whitley, CEO (Part 1)

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with James Whitley, CEO of Hillsboro-based GoLife Mobile.

I went into the conversation hoping to answer two specific questions. First, I wanted to get more details about the business reasoning behind the GoLife Mobile developer framework, Vadowerx. And second, I was hoping to get a better understanding of why GoLife Mobile found Portland a viable place to found this mobile startup.

Turns out, we wound up spending a good part of the time talking over the top of one another as we shared our complementary excitement for the potential that Portland holds, the amount of talent around here, and the distinct feeling that Portland is on the brink of something big. Really big.

And, GoLife Mobile may very well be part of helping to usher in that next big thing.

Now, there’s no way I’ll cram the entire conversation into a single post. So let’s break it into two posts, shall we? I’ll save the “why Portland?” response for part 2.

In this post, I’d like to provide some high-level insight on Whitley’s response to my questions on the Vadowerx framework.

GoLife Mobile’s framework

I’ve covered the GoLife Mobile framework before. But my cursory understanding of the framework and what it meant to the GoLife business model was admittedly tinged with a prevailing ignorance and a healthy dose of cynicism.

Whitley not only helped me understand what GoLife Mobile hopes to accomplish with the framework, he convinced me that they had a plausible way for getting mobile developers to interact with one another, contribute to the codebase, and profit from their Vadowerx efforts.

From a coding perspective, the Vadowerx framework is designed to operate much like any other application framework. When I mentioned the Rails and Zend frameworks for comparison, Whitley nodded in approval.

“We had to go with an ‘open’ approach to this framework,” said Whitley. “It is the only way something like this is going to succeed.”

Like its counterparts in the world of Web application development, Vadowerx delivers a series of pre-built components for common functions that can be plugged into mobile applications, saving the developer from coding basic elements that are often the same for any application.

“We refer to them as ‘LEGO’s, for lack of a better term,” said Whitley. “They can be combined in a variety of different ways. Combining them one way creates one application. Combining them another way could create something completely new.”

Simplifying application management for customers

A framework is great for coding. But what about the business? What does this open framework mean in terms of customers and revenue for GoLife Mobile?

Customers will likely be attracted by the simplicity of the GoLife Mobile experience. Instead of installing multiple applications, the user installs one.

“No one wants to install and maintain 50 different applications on their mobile phone,” said Whitley. “With our framework, it’s one installation: the presentation layer. All of those applications? They’re distributed and built on-the-fly when and where you need them.”

That’s great news from an application management perspective. Better yet? The applications understand one another, a continual Holy Grail of sorts for any group of applications.

“If I have two applications that share one of these LEGOs, they’re both going to have access to the same information,” said Whitley. “And there’s an intrinsic value there as users continue to personalize the applications through use. That’s when we start seeing some really exciting possibilities.”

And it’s not just mobile users that could benefit from that type of thinking.

“We needed to start somewhere, and mobile was definitely the right place to start,” said Whitley. “But this presentation layer could be delivered to any number of distributed screens, like ATMs, PCs, consoles… you name it.”

More than recognition for developers

Part of making the framework viable is encouraging developers to share ideas and concepts.

“With our framework, sharing objects is built-in,” said Whitley. “It’s not a question of whether you want to share or not, but rather how you want to share.”

But getting that type of participation requires motivation. And GoLife has hit upon something there, as well.

The applications distributed on the framework are currently supported by advertising. That means revenue for GoLife Mobile. But it also means something to the developer community.

“Recognition is great, but we felt that we needed more ways to motivate and reward the developers who take the time to contribute to the framework,” said Whitley. “And so, developers who participate have the opportunity to take a portion of the ad revenue that their components drive.”

Sharing in the wealth should have a positive impact on development, for both the company and the businesses within the mobile development community.

“We’re talking about providing a framework that not only simplifies development, it provides an incentive to participate,” said Whitley. “Wow! Can you imagine?”

The developers who have received early access to the framework are already buying into the vision.

“We were chatting with a bunch of developers last night after 11:00 o’clock,” said Whitley. “They’re excited about this framework and the potential it holds for their development business.”

From the sounds of things, I would imagine a subscription model for the GoLife Mobile service is also likely in the offing, which could provide another predictable revenue stream for the young company. And for the developers.

“Imagine installing one app and then subscribing to all the services you need to use,” he said. “There’s definitely value there.”

More to come

It will be interesting to watch GoLife Mobile continue to grow into its role as the supporter of this framework within the developer community. It’s a role that’s rife with potential. With good reason, Whitley is cautiously optimistic.

“Development—and the mobile market as a whole—is completely fragmented, right now,” he said. “This framework holds the potential to provide structure. And to let people concentrate on the things they do well.”

And that’s just part of what has me excited about GoLife Mobile. The other important area in which this company could have an extremely positive impact? Portland. In part 2, I’ll share my discussion with Whitley about Portland and his opinion on its potential.

[Editor: On a tangential note, the first meeting for Mobile Portland—of which GoLife Mobile is one of the founding members—will be held tonight. To RSVP, see Mobile Portland on Upcoming.]

Platial goes mobile

Portland-based Platial, the de facto leader in “social mapping,” has just announced a move that is sure to increase both their user base and their overall utitlity: Platial is going mobile.

Using services from mobile partner, Lightpole, Platial users will now be able to:

… take their maps to go with Lightpole’s new local aggregator for mobile. All Platial maps will now have a Lightpole icon which allows people to send their data to any java enabled phone. Most of Platial’s location-based content will be available with the download of Lightpole’s application meaning that even non-Platial members can access Platial content.

For more information on this new feature, see Platial’s post. To try out Platial and Lightpole for yourself, visit Platial maps using a mobile phone.

MIXr: First mobile social networking app with Silverlight touchscreen UI

MIXr Mood Switcher

Today, Portland-based StepChange Group took the stage at MIX08 to demonstrate a groundbreaking new application: the world’s first gesture-driven, Microsoft-Silverlight powered user interface on a mobile device.

The data-driven touchscreen interface, dubbed MIXr, runs in the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 environment, and was a proof-of-concept to showcase the functionality of these cutting edge development environments for the MIX audience.

“It was lots of fun—though nerve-wracking—to have our team sharing the stage with Ray Ozzie and Scott Guthrie,” said StepChange’s Kevin Tate.

Aside from the Portland angle, why is this newsworthy?

In my opinion, the release of the MIXr application is important for two specific reasons.

First, it proves the viability of Silverlight as an environment for delivering rich mobile applications. And, on a day when the use of these types of technologies in the mobile environment is being rejected by a major player, that’s a pretty big win.

Second, it gives us a glimpse into the future of social networking.

Unlike many of today’s “social networks on mobile devices,” the MIXr application, developed by StepChange in partnership with San Francisco’s Stimulant, demonstrates how the future of social networking may transition to your mobile device.

In other words, this isn’t a “m.” mobile view into an existing social network application; it is the social network application:

[MIXr] uses real-time user updates to track the mood and status of clubs and venues—and helps friends to connect and coordinate with one another during a night out.

It aggregates user ratings, such as a venue’s mood, line length, and music, and uses interactive data visualization to make it easy to figure out what’s hot and what’s not.

“Rich mobile applications are going to quickly change the way we use the Web everyday,” said Tate. “We’re focused on creating applications that leverage the powerful advantages of location, personalization and communication that the mobile environment provides – and have chosen Silverlight as our platform because of its portability and performance.”

For more information on MIXr and developing rich mobile applications using Silverlight, see Stimulant’s post on the MIXr release and StepChange’s announcement on the MIX08 Keynote.

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