RealTime IT News

MIRS Begins Beta Tests of mPrest's Drag and Drop Mobile Internet

[Tel Aviv, ISRAEL] Israeli mobile operator and Motorola Israel subsidiary MIRS has begun beta testing mPrest's technology, which allows MIRS subscribers to drag and drop items from a Web page onto their cellphones.

"We are cutting down the amount of clicks and starting off where the user knows," said Dror Daniel Ziv, vice president of marketing at mPrest, formerly WapDwap. "Internet users have information sources that they have got used to getting on their PC. Not all of it is relevant for the cellphone. Real-time information is what we feel has the highest value."

What users of mPrest's personal consolidation platform can do is pick and choose the bits of information they want on their cellphones, such as stock quotes, weather and traffic reports or a daily horoscope.

Sitting in front of their desktop computer, they highlight the specific data on any Web site, such as a Yahoo! stock page, and drag and drop it onto the picture of their cellphone's screen, which appears in a separate frame created by mPrest's browser plug-in technology.

The next time they log on through their cellphone, this piece of information is there on the screen. If it is dynamic, like a stock price or traffic report, it is automatically recognized as such and will be constantly updated, without the user having to give specific instructions.

The organization of the information into different folders in the cellular phone client application is also done on the PC through the browser plug-in.

Approximately 80 MIRS subscribers are testing the platform in Israel.

"We are getting feedback and planning to deploy [a commercial version] soon," said Ziv.

The business plan is to market the platform to mobile operators, either as an ASP service hosted on mPrest's servers or hosted on the operator's servers.

mPrest also sees potential partnerships with companies that have a wireless-ready Web site. If a subscriber is receiving information about snow in the Alps, when there is enough snow he or she could then click through to a Web page on their cellphone to book skiing holidays, for example.

With future releases of the technology, users will be able to request an alert when the snow reaches a certain level or a stock hits a pre-defined price, for example.

Competitors include California-based PocketThis, which enables users to right-click on a piece of information on the PC to add it to their mobile "pocket."

mPrest was established in April 2000, and employs 23. The company is in negotiations with mobile operators in Israel and Europe and is planning to open offices in Europe shortly.

mPrest raised $4 million in July 2000 from Polaris Venture Capital, Chase Capital Partners, Ampal America-Israel Corporation, SFKT and TechnoPlus Ventures, and has begun a second round to raise $8-$10 million from existing and new investors, with a focus on strategic investors.