My first Mobile Monday

Not long ago I returned from Mobile Monday Melbourne, and this month I got to see Manny Christophidis from Streamezzo give a talk about what they do. Being my first Mobile Monday event, I had a great amount of fun and learning, and found out that many used MySQL in their work, sometimes passively without even knowing what database sat below them.

Surprised I was, to learn that this event had been going on for nearly two years. If you’re not in the mobile space, you tend to miss out on this not-very-well advertised event, I guess. Seeing as there are more mobile phones being sold these days than personal computers, I think this space is going to get even larger in time to come.

Back to Streamezzo. They make mobile clients, that are really lightweight (100kb Java, and about 200kb Symbian), that realistically serve as ad clients. As common sense would have it, they’ve found that putting ads at the application start and end seem to work the best (i.e. notice when fring is loading, it has a silly message saying “fring is loading…” – replace that with a targeted ad, Streamezzo says) and annoy the user the least.

Streamezzo’s server requires Java and can have either an Oracle or MySQL 4 (or greater) database. Back-end OS can be either Windows 2000 and up or Red Hat Linux.

Some of the more interesting things they’ve done is that they’ve re-skinned an entire mobile phone, and made the device home screen the actual portal. This ensures folk can pull down data based on the location (cell) they’re in. With all the modern rave about the online desktop, man, this sounds like an early version of the online mobile phone.

Applications they developed that caught my eye included:

  • a promo for Nelly Furtado, which delivered rich media music (and video). One could preview songs from her latest album, buy the song, buy a ringtone, or preview video clips. These previews incidentally were controlled at the server (so they’re full-length songs in reality, but the server only pushes out say, 5s for a preview). The mashup with online chat seems to make this app pretty cool – if you’re a Nelly fan who got this app downloaded, you’re bound to want to chat to other Nelly fans
  • a client for vpod.tv, which is the French version of YouTube. They speak video publishing for the masses, and they definitely use MySQL for their back-end as well

Sadly, Streamezzo’s stuff isn’t open source. They claim that with knowledge of XML, you should be able to create applications pretty quickly. Apparently it can set you back 0.75 Euro cents per active mobile client per month; this doesn’t include the minimum establishment fee as well. One might really be better off with Flash Lite (though I wonder how the free/OSS tools for creation of content fare).

In other quick news, omg.tv organise the event, and one of their specialities is Second Life, and more importantly, the Second Life Cable Network slcn.tv! I’ve got to give this Second Life thing a try, soon. Also, MTX Media develop a lot of primarily Symbian software, but also do Java based stuff and they’ve got some cool things that are out there – a targeted ad for Honda that gives users information about all available Honda’s, but what I found most useful is the Yellow Cab app – book a taxi, via the mobile web, without ever having to make a phone call! Coming to Melbourne in under-3 months, as its proven to work in Sydney. MTX back-ends are all MySQL Enterprise based, for what its worth.

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