Feature-rich SMS to Enthrall Mobile Users

Source: CXO Today | View Online Article

By Pankaj Maru
Mumbai, May 14, 2008

In the technology world, nothing remains same over a period of time. This is especially true for the world of mobile phones. In the past decade or so, mobile phones have passed through a series of transformations. Today”s mobile phones are compact, slim, sleek, colorful, trendy, light weight, with rich multimedia features, and even have more interfaces to extend its usability.

Amidst all such transformations, the simple old SMS application offering 160 characters text messaging in single color has remained unchanged. However, if the technology initiated by UK-based Affle gets full-support and acceptance from the global mobile industry, it will revolutionize the SMS experience.

Affle, a mobile phone media innovation company, has come with an up-graded application SMS 2.0 for mobile phones. The new version will provide more value added features to SMS like color, background pictures, images, signatures, and much more.

Other than the aesthetic aspect, the SMS screen on the cell phones will have greater access to variety of rich content. At the bottom of SMS screen there appears a banner with options to access content on various topics such as cricket, movies, news, etc.

“With SMS 2.0 application, lots more additional information will be available to mobile phone users. The content will be provided free to the users as it will be subsidized with advertisements on the phone,” informs Anuj Kumar, executive director of Affle, South Asia.

According to Kumar, when the user sends any SMS; the cell phone screen gets covered by some big size content like pictures, news, information, etc. “The basic idea is to use the short time span while the SMS is under process (going out) and the user is offered the best of information or content just in the form of a web page,” he explains.

In technological terms, Kumar says, “There exist 2 kinds of mobile operating systems- Open operating systems developed by Symbian, Blackberry and proprietary operating systems used by mobile manufactures like Nokia, Samsung, and others.”

“In total about 85% of the smart phones use proprietary operating system, while the remaining 15% phones are based on the open operating system. In Singapore, we have tied-up with Nokia, which is offering a pre-loaded SMS 2.0 application on its cell phones,” he further adds.

Kumar hopes that most mobile manufacturers will integrate SMS 2.0 application in their mobile phones and the new up-graded application will become a standard in future. In India, the application SMS 2.0 was commercially launched in December 2007 and presently, Airtel is the only telecom carrier using the new application.

Interestingly, the upgraded SMS 2.0 application has great scope for mobile advertisers and content providers. “The new application is shifting the existing business model towards user model, where the content is provided free with the use of the advertisements,” informs Asif Ali, CTO of Mobile-worx, headquartered in Los Angeles, USA. Mobile-worx has an offshore development center is based in Chennai. The company provides innovative mobile products and services.

The company has ZestADZ service – a mobile advertising marketplace for advertisers, content providers and publishers.

“It”s a good platform but needs to be promoted well. At present, the Indian mobile industry is growing rapidly and the estimated worth of mobile advertisement industry is Rs.2000 crore for this year and expected to grow by 30-40 %,” says Ali.

However, Ali is still skeptical about SMS 2.0 application becoming a future standard for mobiles. “It”s very difficult to predict, whether SMS 2.0 will be standardized in India or abroad. It will fully depend on the carriers (telecos) to use or not to use the SMS 2.0 application for its users,” he concludes.