AOL Extends Mobile Reach With MyMobile

AOL Tuesday unveiled the latest in a series of
moves
designed to expand its presence on mobile devices. At the giant
CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, AOL released a beta of its AOL MyMobile
all-in-one set of applications and detailed expanded developer support for
the Open Mobile Platform initiative it announced in February.

MyMobile is an interactive suite of services designed for mobile devices.
AOL said today’s beta release of MyMobile for Windows Mobile devices and
available for free download, provides access to the Web company’s most
popular services including AIM instant messenger, AOL Mail, AOL CityGuide,
Moviefone, MapQuest, AOL Local Search, AOL News, Weather, AOL Sports and AOL
Pictures.

Although it’s a beta version, Raine Bergstrom, AOL’s vice president of
product management, said MyMobile is a very solid release that has already
been through a private beta phase. “The bar is a lot higher on a mobile
device, we don’t want anything crashing,” Bergstrom told
InternetNews.com.

Bergstrom said integration of the services is a key feature of MyMobile.
“It works great with client software, so you can find the movie or
restaurant you want to go to, get a map and e-mail it all in one thread,” he
said.

MyMobile uses simple drop-down lists and “intuitive menus” designed to
help users easily scroll through applications and content they need. The
software also remembers user favorites and recent requests. User can also
access saved directions, search results, restaurant details and other
information when the device is offline or out of a coverage area.

AOL said MyMobile was built using Action Engine’s on-device portal
technology and can be downloaded by entering “http://wap.aol.com/mymobile”
into a phone’s browser, then selecting “Get AOL MyMobile BETA”.

Separately, but also at CTIA, AOL is previewing a version of its AOL Mobile
Search designed specifically for Apple’s iPhone and its Safari browser. A beta
is set to be available in a few weeks. Starting today, AOL said a new AOL
Mobile Search icon is available to BlackBerry users.

Another new AOL service, called AIM TXT, gives a wide variety of cell
phone users AIM instant messaging functionality through text messaging.

Who’s onboard the Open Mobile Platform?

AOL also announced five developers are building “a new breed of wireless
applications” using the company’s Open Mobile Platform (OMP).

Action Engine, Aricent, Infosys, Obopay and ShoZu – have signed on as
early supporters of OMP. Announced in February, AOL said OMP will be widely
available this summer and offer access to the tools and source code needed
to build and distribute applications across all major mobile device
platforms and operating systems including BREW, Java, Linux, RIM, Symbian
and Windows Mobile.

While there’s been no official announcement, Bergstrom said
developers may well be able to use OMP tools in the future to reach other
operating systems. “There’s no reason you couldn’t have Android
or iPhone support, though we don’t offer that yet,” he said.

“This is really the thin client model where applications can be changed
or updated as needed,” he added. “Today, if you have a problem with a mobile
app, on most phones you have to delete it, so this is great.”

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