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InfoSpace Upgrades its Wireless Platform

While Infospace has remained very quite following a rash of reorganization in February, The Bellevue-based company today outlined enhancements to its wireless platform, applications and services that are designed to take advantage of the benefits delivered by 2.5 and 3G networks.

The company is banking on the adaptation of not only the higher bandwidth mobile networks, but consumer adoption of wireless as a computing platform.

Infospace is promising their carrier partners the ability to enable the delivery of more robust and graphic-intensive sources of information as well as updated user interfaces.

In addition, the always-connected feature, promised by the advanced networks, will enable InfoSpace's instant messaging application to let a user know whether or not their buddy-list members have their cell phones turned on and are available to receive messages, provide subscribers with instant notification and access to new email as well as offer access to real-time information at a glance.

The company also plans to integrate these services with their own wireless gaming platform.

"During the past 12 months, as carriers worldwide have been gearing up to roll out advanced third generation wireless networks, InfoSpace has been working to develop the applications and services our partners need to quickly monetize their large investments in these new infrastructure technologies," said Naveen Jain, chief executive officer of InfoSpace.

Despite Jain's optimism, many question the timing for a roll out of the third generation networks, as well as adoption rates for mobile applications.

According to a report released yesterday by Jupiter Media Metrix, the massive investments of some companies may be misguided.

The report found that for most carriers GPRS, also known as 2.5G, would suffice to serve consumers data needs over the next few years.

Furthermore, the report questioned whether users would fill the need for the high bandwidth of these advanced networks.

"Wireless users will increase usage as many utility applications because of their persistent packet data connections, but the continued support of the PC as the primary Internet appliance will make high data consumption assumptions unrealistic, stated the report.