RealTime IT News

MobiUI Snares ActionEngine in iPhone/Mobile Push

If you hadn't heard of MobUI before today, you may not hear much about it going forward. And that's fine with the company.

"I would be surprised if you ever see the MobUI brand as something consumers recognize," the company's CEO John Burry, told InternetNews.com. "We're working with the highest end media companies and we're comfortable being able to point to that and having the industry know that without the MobUI reference.

But today's news did put MobUI in the spotlight. The Redmond, Wash. company, which was only launched in July, announced it bought the assets of Action Engine, a mobile development company based in nearby Bellevue, Wash.

Details of the deal by the two privately held firms, weren't disclosed. MobUI also did not detail the amount of funding it announced today led by GlobalNET Mobile Solutions, described as "a leading wireless application services provider in Latin America."

Burry said the deal for Action Engine was actually completed September 15, but the companies wanted time to contact customers about the transition and essentially let Action Exchange wind down operations before going public with the news.

"Once it ceased as a going concern, we made offers to the developer team to join MobUI," said Burry. "There are many ex-Microsoft superstars over there, a great mobile team, so it was like picking up a Formula One race car."

MobUI will continue where Action Engine left off, developing mobile applications for big media companies and other concerns including AOL, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, Sports Illustrated, Tivo, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

"Mobile is where innovation and investment are happening right now", said Chetan Sharma, president of Chetan Sharma Consulting, a wireless industry consultant and co-author of the book "Mobile Advertising: Supercharge Your Brand in the Exploding Wireless Market."

"With over 100 million mobile applications downloaded since launch, the popularity of the iPhone App Store has proven that there is a growing opportunity for brands to reach their consumers on the phones they carry throughout the day," said Sharma.

Other deals will be announced shortly, according to Burry. In addition to the iPhone, he said the Google Android platform is definitely a development target along with Research In Motion's BlackBerry line. Action Engine also supports a range of other mobile development platforms including Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Java and BREW.

Mobile chat, visual voicemail and more

"What Action Engine gives us is we can offer a premium experience on these next generation platforms and still provide an exceptional experience on lower end phones," said Burry. The company's stated mission is: "To create beautiful iPhone, mobile Web, and downloadable applications for major consumer brands at the speed of...wow."

Specific applications deployed and in development for customers include mobile chat optimized for small screens to allow multiple users to chat online. "Also, we have some fun applications on the iPhone that optimize personalities and characters from big media companies," said Burry. "And some very rich online store experiences where you can go deep into a catalog, play with the content and easily share it with friends."

MobUI is also actively working on continuing work Action Engine had started to bring a popular iPhone feature, visual voicemail, to other mobile platforms.