March 6, 2005

Wireless: Software company seeks to change texting world

top_right.gif Innovations often come down to little more than bringing together two existing technologies, and that is what Echovox is trying to do with its new instant messaging software for cellphones, reports the International Herald Tribune.

"If Echovox and its chief executive, David Marcus, have it right, a seminal change could be in the works for the way teenagers and young adults use their mobile phones to communicate. What we were looking to do was find a way to improve on texting," Marcus said in an interview last month in Cannes at the 3GSM World Congress trade show

Marcus estimates that users of Echovox's instant messaging services, which will be commercialized with the brand name ZeeWee, could save as much as 90 percent compared with the cost of sending short text messages.

Some mobile phone operators in Europe already offer chat functions, but the cost of each instant message is equal to that of a regular text message, making it considerably more expensive than Echovox's new service.

If the new service is popular, it could pose a threat to the steady stream of income that short text messages provide phone companies. But Marcus said the network operators would still gain revenue because they would split with Echovox the money generated by the initial message where one person asks another to join the chat".

Related articles:

-- Instant messaging comes to mobiles - Mobile firm Echovox (headquartered in Geneva) has launched a mobile Instant Messaging (IM) service, billed as a cheaper and more interactive alternative to traditional text messaging.

-- Nokia I.M. Phone - T-Mobile USA is touting its big-three IM offering through the sale of the Nokia 6800 messaging phone, which sports built-in software that supports AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger.

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