Enterprise social networking firm Socialtext decided to release a mobile version of its services because “work is increasingly mobile.” Socialtext Mobile, out today, offers similar functionality to the desktop version, including Twitter-like microblogging, Activity Streams and Workplaces for collaboration.
Rather than develop for specific platforms, the browser-based Socialtext Mobile is accessible across different mobile devices. Blackberry, iPhone and Android devices are all supported in today’s beta release.
“Not doing multiple platform versions is less of a burden on IT,” Socialtext Chairman and co-founder Ross Mayfield, told InternetNews.com. “I look at this as a new way of accessing our tools, not necessarily new functionality. We have architected to develop these types of things, like mobile, relatively quickly and part of the value here should be broader accessibility.”
Ironically, the news comes the morning after the release of a mobile edition by consumer social network giant Facebook. “It’s funny timing, but it’s fine with me,” says Mayfield. “Facebook and the consumer companies will generally introduce new features to the consumer Web a little faster than we will. What that does is educate a base of workers to working in a different way.”
Mayfield notes, for example, that the popularity of consumer wikis like Wikipedia helped his company’s early efforts to promote the wiki features in Socialtext.
Users won’t have to do any extra configuration to use the mobile version. Socialtext Mobile automatically detects when you log in from a mobile phone and serves up an optimized mobile application.
For people in the field
“Anytime, anywhere access is really important to our users so they can share their microblogging and keep up-to-date with what colleagues are doing,” said Mayfield. “Mobile isn’t just about salespeople anymore; there are other use cases, like having access to a knowledge base for field service, that’s a pretty big deal.
“The more accessibility, the more activity increases and the more contributions you get. I think we’re going to discover a lot of new use cases that mobility affords.”
Socialtext Mobile is available immediately as part of Socialtext 3.6, the latest release of the software and available to all customers at no additional charge. A free trial is available as well as the Socialtext Free 50 program which lets up to 50 people an organization use the tools for free.
Mayfield said he doesn’t expect the beta tag to last more than a few months because the feature set functionality is solid. He said the main objective of the beta is to see if there are any minor issues that need to be addressed or software tweaked after its been used on a variety of mobile devices.