Klonies Go A-Roaming

Monster Klonie From ComverseAvatars are becoming big business online, and I think they’re likely to recreate that success in the mobile world as consumers begin to personalize their phones. At CTIA I met with Comverse, which has joined the bandwagon with Klonies — a range of customizable avatars…users can choose to be male, female or monster. Naturally, I choose monster. The Klonies are cool and they look good, youth-edgy rather than kid-cute. But the really good thing about Klonies that differentiates them from other mobile avatars I’ve seen is that they are not designed to be shown on your mobile — they’re designed to be shown on other people’s mobiles. Considering a major point of avatars is to represent you to other people this is an astoundingly good idea.
A user creates their avatar, either online or via the mobile handset, and when they call someone or send a message their avatar pops up on the other mobile screen. The fact that you can change the avatar in real time means you can make it reflect how you want to be perceived at any point in time. Of course, the other mobile needs to have the characteristics to show the Klonie, but if it doesn’t the image just doesn’t get shown.
There are several different ways to run avatars so there is room for a number of players in the industry…Comverse expects Klonies to be launched in early 2006, which is quite a long way off in mobile content terms.
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