RealTime IT News

AvantGo Launches European Mobile Internet Service

[London, ENGLAND] Mobile solutions provider AvantGo, Inc. launched Monday the first three of its country-specific European portals in the U.K., Sweden and Norway.

The new portals, which provide access to a whole range of AvantGo channels, will be followed early next year by additional services in Germany and France.

There are now more than 650 Web sites throughout the world optimized for mobile device users through AvantGo, of which over 100 are in the U.K.

AvantGo users can access Internet information from such devices as Palm, Pocket PC and WAP-enabled phones, checking news, sport, entertainment, business, and travel details at sites like Sports.com, ft.com, The Times and lastminute.com.

David Rice, managing director, AvantGo Mobile Internet Europe, said the free service opens up a new world for mobile device users in Europe, enabling their devices to be much more than a calendar or address book.

"There are already over 1.2 million users of the AvantGo Mobile Internet product through our U.S.-based service. We've now made the service easier and more relevant for Europeans by providing mobile access to Europe's premier Web sites," said Rice.

One useful feature of the AvantGo service is its offline capability. Users can synchronize a mobile device with their desktop PC and then read the information offline.

Graphic designer Paul Burcher said AvantGo has already become an integral part of his day.

"I synchronize my mobile device before I leave home in the morning, and read the newspapers on my device on the tube on the way to work," said Burcher (the "tube" being London's subway system).

With little sign that U.K. users are yet using mobile Internet information in great numbers, Burcher's comments will be encouraging to vendors. He went on to say that he uses AvantGo for its restaurant reviews, City pub guide, TV and cinema listings -- and even for checking the weather and searching for holidays on lastminute.com.

Frequent tube travelers in London can now keep a sharp eye open for other early adopters of this technology. Unfortunately, there are still more people eating hamburgers on the tube than surfing the Internet -- a proportion that will change if AvantGo catches on (or if London Transport stops people eating food while traveling).