Media Messaging in the UK With iPhoneMMS

The iPhone’s lack of any MMS capabilities was said to be on account of the versatile and full featured email support. If it’s so simple to send photos via email, why pay extra to send them via MMS?

While that is a valid argument to a certain extent, the two services remain predominantly different; e-mail is unlikely to be picked up by a regular phone user ‘on the go’ and isn’t tailored in the same manner for quickly sending and receiving photo snapshots.

Enter iPhoneMMS. This service is currently a web application for the iPhone allowing you to access and send O2 media messages through a more appealing interface. For the last few days I have been using a preview of the latest edition, a native iPhone application which has recently launched.

The app allows you to send and receive MMS messages in a far more user-friendly way than through the O2 website. It brings MMS functionality closer to a real, integrated solution.
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Shout’Em: Roll your Own Microblogging Community

Twitter is now rumored to have between four and five million users, varying from the inactive and curious, to hardcore life-streamers, though it still lacks some useful features like groups.

The company appears to be pursuing growth over immediate revenue streams, such as the lucrative delivery of SMS notifications and the ability to ‘white-label’ the service with a company, group or organization’s own branding and features. It’s into this latter category that products such as laconi.ca and Folkstr as well as startups like Shout’Em are entering.

The Croatian Shout’Em recently received €350’000 in seed funding to further develop its service, a tool to ‘roll your own microblogging networks. This essentially allows you to host and operate your own Twitter-like communites. I was prepared to be skeptical about a Twitter-clone, but have been pleasantly surprised by how sophisticated and powerful the Shout’Em user experience actually is.

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Socialcast Brings Social Messaging to the Enterprise

Socialcast logoWe’ve discussed numerous times the reasons we flock to services like Twitter. We like the sense of community, the sharing of info and the knowledge that we can tap into with just a few words.

Wouldn’t that sort of knowledge sharing and interaction help foster better communication within an organization as well? Socialcast thinks so and their hosted team messaging service is designed to do just that.

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A GigaOM Family Thanksgiving

We’re like a big family here at the GigaOM network of blogs. We look out for each other. We help one another. And once a year we drink too much sherry and sulk because mom always liked you best.
But until we get there, we have some cooking to do! We asked GigaOM staffers to submit their favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal. If you’re looking for menu inspiration, watch one of these how-to recipes to see if that gets those cooking juices going.
Craig already did a great turkey roundup so let’s move on to some other fixin’s.
Onion and Cornbread Stuffing
Personally, I like stuffing (or dressing), and I also do a wicked good impersonation of Food Network Chef Tyler Florence, so I thought I’d bring those two worlds together.

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Nimbuzz: Free Multi-Service Messaging/VoIP Client for the iPhone

I have to admit, I paid 15 bucks for Beejive Messenger for the iPhone and haven’t looked back since. That said, I realize that not everyone has the budget or inclination to spend that much money on a mobile messaging app, nor should you have to. Free clients are also available, and the newest addition to the list is Nimbuzz! That’s not me getting really excited, there’s an exclamation mark in the product name. Not that I’m unfazed by Nimbuzz! either. The app supports all major messaging (text and voice) clients, and VoIP protocols as well, including Skype, so that’s promising.
At first, I mistakenly inferred from the app description that it supports only Wi-Fi connections. Not so. For voice chat and VoIP functions, you must have a Wi-Fi connection, probably to comply with carrier-imposed limitations, but for text chat, 3G and EDGE are fine. Like Palringo, Nimbuzz! requires you to sign up for a master account, but the process is relatively painless. You can do it from within the application, and the only information required is your desired username, password, and a valid email address. Nimbuzz! uses the account to store your saved services, so you can sign in to the PC and web versions with a single login and access all your IM networks.
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MMS for iPhone? It’s Already Here, Says Mobispine

Multimedia messaging (MMS) is within reach for iPhone users, or at least that’s what Mobispine AB is saying via press release today.

The Stockholm-based mobile services company currently provides white lable RSS reader and Desktop SMS and MMS solutions to companies looking to get their own branded mobile service. Today they announced that they are now offering yet another brandable service: MMS capability for the Apple iPhone.
The lack of MMS has long been one of the most glaring omissions in the iPhone’s feature set, and is available on much less advanced handsets from all major manufacturers. Third-party applications like Flutter have attempted to bring workaround solutions to the platform, but to limited success and with awkward restrictions on how messages are sent and received.
Mobispine’s solution is targeted at providers, not individual consumers. Essentially, it would add backend support for sending and receiving MMS from a carrier-branded MMS interface. This conveniently avoids the need for Apple buy-in, since individual operators would be the ones making the decision as to whether or not they will offer the service.
Apple still needs to OK the service implementation through the App Store approval process, however, since it would operate through a custom-branded native iPhone app. On the end-user side, iPhone owners will be able to create MMS messages from within the application, and attach photos saved to the iPhone’s hard drive, or new pictures taken with the iPhone’s camera. MMS messages will also be received via the Mobispine app, not in the iPhone’s built in SMS application. According to the press release, MMS messaging to and from all capable handsets will be possible, so non-iPhone users will not require any special software or have to visit any external links.
Since the decision to pursue the service is up to operators, it’ll be interesting to see who bites. Likely candidates are markets where more than one provider offers the iPhone, or where existing sales numbers indicate that the market appears saturated, and to get more customers requires offering some perceived value-add to justify an iPhone purchase. There’s also a possibility that carriers could charge for the additional service.
iPhone users: Is MMS important to you? Would you like to see your carrier implement this solution, or would you rather wait for an official Apple MMS service, if one comes at all? Would you pay for the MMS service if your carrier decides to charge a fee?

How to ‘flack’ effectively — off a startup budget!

One of the biggest challenges for startups is keeping in the public eye – getting the word out on a consistent basis to drive an audience, customers, buzz, etc. There are lots of marketing techniques for startups but one that I think is under used and under appreciated is public relations.

Generally, PR is used to reach the mainstream press and a mainstream audience. (Reporters call this “flacking.”) Anyway, a lot of startups don’t (or can’t) focus much energy (or resources) on PR – especially those living in a Web 2.0 bubble. If your startup is in the Valley or another true startup ecosystem, you may be able to generate sufficient buzz through the community, but for the rest of us, we need everything we can to keep in front of people, garnering attention.

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March Madness: Get Your Startup Out of Pre-Revenue!

March Madness typically refers to NCAA college basketball, but this
month’s craziness ranges from stock market-madness to presidential primary-madness, more prez -primary-madness to movie-madness (Ferrell!), and finally, to Spitzer’s hooker-madness.

But founders have more important things on their minds — like getting your startup out of the purgatory of “pre-revenue.” My research can help. You’ll close some deals using these core sales strategies. These tips don’t involve much sweet talking, but they do demand some attention and organization.

1. Aim your sales efforts at being #2: Your goal should be a “second
supplier”. A major mistake is going for the throat too early. SSG, Second Supplier Gambit, is trying to be a #2 provider through your website. Set aside your need to be their #1 supplier and love the waitlist status you are on. If you’re #2 on enough lists, you’ll be #1 soon enough.

2. Speak at industry conferences: Industry get-togethers are always looking for bleeding edge speakers. If you’re advanced, offer to be a back-up speaker (yes you just applied SSG). Another technique is to offer content focus, speaker line-up pre-produced and almost turn-key. A more expensive option is to have a pro writer develop content for you to speak on. Google ghost writer and put up an elance or better yet visit a Local NSA (national speakers association) chapter. If your CEO can’t speak, hire an actor (kidding!). Or go to an acting class. Read More about March Madness: Get Your Startup Out of Pre-Revenue!

Mozilla Announces Mozilla Messaging with Firefox 3 Features

ThunderbirdMozilla Foundation today announced the formation of a new subsidiary group titled Mozilla Messaging.  The new group will be focused on taking Mozilla’s mail client Thunderbird to the next level of competitiveness against established mail clients, including Microsoft Outlook.  David Ascher will head the new subsidiary that is not only aimed at email, but Internet communications, as stated on in his blog post announcing the new group.

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