Short Message and Search (SMS2.0) to be launched in 10 other SEA countries by 2009
SINGAPORE, 26 June 2007 – Affle, a world leader in mobile phone media innovations today officially unveiled a new platform for the highly popular text messaging application SMS. Simply named SMS2.0, the new application boasts enhanced features, content, promotions and even a search facility that redefines the 2nd ‘S’ in SMS (Short Message and Search).
The UK-based company also revealed plans to market SMS2.0 across Asia with the help of global media company and strategic partner GroupM (part of the WPP group). Affle hopes to bring SMS2.0 to ten countries in the next two years starting with Singapore and India. It will also be introduced in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.
“Affle’s vision is to have mobile phone users around the world make a complete switch from Short Message Service to Short Message and Search, or SMS2.0. It is an ambitious goal, but I believe consumers will be won over when they discover the enhanced features of the product. Affle also has some key partners at various stages of development, from content production to hardware and distribution.” said Mr Anuj Khanna, CEO & Chairman of Executive Committee, Affle.
Mr Khanna cited successful pilot tests held in the Singaporean and Indian markets since 2006 as a reason for his optimism. For the Singapore trial, Affle collaborated with M1 to provide more than 2000 users with SMS2.0. Results showed they were much more likely to explore onscreen content and advertisements using SMS2.0 than they were on existing mobile content services. This comes on the back of a recent study by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) showing a 108% mobile penetration in Singapore. India’s largest telco, Bharti Airtel, also found that users were actively ‘clicking through’ content delivered via SMS2.0.
A new ‘S’ in SMS was also revealed at the press conference today. A search function embedded in SMS2.0 allows users to conduct a search as they would on the internet via search engines like Google,Yahoo, or Microsoft. But instead of launching a web-browser, users merely have to access an enhanced ‘options’ menu and select the search function. While no plans have been firmed up, Affle is in talks with various online search engines to power its mobile search on SMS2.0. Affle also links to other customizable search services like dictionary, movies, wikipedia and others.
“Existing mobile phone media are merely a replication of online media. They require consumers to actively access, via a GPRS connection, ‘made-for-mobile’ content that’s really just watered down online content that they pay for. SMS2.0 is free and it is purpose-designed for mobile phones,” said Mr Khanna. That means content will be an almost perfect fit for the mobile screen and navigation from page to page will be near seamless.
SMS2.0 has already found resounding interest amongst brand name advertisers and content producers. Despite average advertising costs at 60% – 80% more than regular online advertising, brands such as the Procter & Gamble group and Coca-Cola see the benefits of reaching highly-targeted groups of consumers that choose to receive such advertising. SMS2.0 facilitates this by allowing users to select the types of material they want to view. Users can then take advantage of exclusive SMS2.0 promotions by choosing to ‘save picture’ and presenting it at a shop for discounts or freebies.
But promotions are just one element of SMS2.0. Affle has partnered with an all-star list of international content producers including Times Internet in India and Singapore Press Holdings to bring quality local content to users. The news stories and headlines are updated many times daily to ensure that content is current. Users that choose to receive sports news may then be sent scores of a soccer match as it happens, wherever the users may be. Users also receive an assortment of content from other providers who publish RSS feeds. This potentially places the medium in the pockets of about two billion mobile phone users worldwide.
Already, Affle is taking steps to make this a reality. With the assistance of Nokia, SMS2.0 will be pre-embedded on select new S60 phones for M1 in Singapore. The ‘SMS2.0 ready’ phones are scheduled for release in September 2007. Nokia is currently the only mobile phone brand that is compatible with the new text message platform, however Affle is in discussions with other major brands to make it universally compatible.
Additional partnerships and plans are expected to be announced in the upcoming months.
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Affle is a leader in the mobile media innovation space. They offer cutting edge technologies with a value proposition for consumers and business partners. The solutions and products from Affle have been specially designed to enhance user experience and make mobile media a reality.
Affle currently operates in five countries including the UK, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and USA. The company is in the process of strategically expanding to other top mobile markets including Japan, China, Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan & Indonesia, in the coming few years. Affle has already established strong partnerships with leading mobile network operators, original equipment manufacturers, content providers, media agencies, and advertisers, across various geographies.