Sony Ericsson announced on Tuesday that it was teaming up with Google to not only incorporate Google Web Search into its phones, but that it would integrate the Google-owned Blogger.com
service into new camera phones.
The news came as part of a six-strong new model line-up from Sony Ericsson launched this week. The first handsets to offer the new Google services are the recently announced K610 UMTS phone and new range-topping cameraphones, the K800 (pictured) and K790, announced yesterday and available in Q2 2006.
The 3G K800
features a 3.2-megapixel camera which for the first time is branded Cyber-shot, Sony's name for its stand-alone digital camera range. The K800 has a 240x320 pixel screen as well as all the usual Sony Ericsson features, such as 3D games, MP3, FM radio, and Bluetooth. Storage is via a Memory Stick Micro (M2) card.
By integrating Blogger, users will be able to take photos with their phone and at the touch of a button, upload them to their blog page. If they don't have one, Google's service will automatically create one for them. This has the potential to open up moblogging to a much wider audience.
"We are seeing exponential growth in blogging and consumers are turning more and more often to the Internet as a means of sharing information or images in personal blogs," said Jan Wäreby, Corporate Executive Vice President, Head of Sales and Marketing, Sony Ericsson. "By working with Google, we're able to offer a quick and easy way for people users to blog as they discover how convenient it is as a way to share words and pictures with friends, family and beyond. We are also delighted to collaborate with Google, the undisputed leader in Web Search, to provide our end users with relevant Internet information directly to their Sony Ericsson handsets."
"By providing users with direct access to features like mobile search and blogging, we're able to create a more personalized, user-friendly experience," said Nikesh Arora, vice president, European Operations, Google Inc. "Today's tech-savvy consumers are becoming increasingly more mobile and demand access to information on-the-go, whether it's the latest news headlines or directions to a favourite restaurant."
Sony Ericsson's new K800 3G phone, featuring a 3.2 megapixel Cyber-shot camera and now Blogger-powered moblogging.
Of course, many tech-savvy consumers have been running their own personal moblogs for some time now. moblogUK
was launched in November 2003 and is now the largest mobile blogging site in Europe with some 10,000 members. Users take photos with their phones and then email them over GPRS to their moblog, adding description text with their keypad.
We contacted moblogUK's co-founder, Alfie Dennen, for his reaction to Sony Ericsson's announcement:
"It is a good thing," he told us. "It highlights that the industry is recognising that integrating push-to-web technologies into phones is integral to both their business as well as to the wider area of user-generated content. The failing is that that the networks and manufacturers are overlooking the most important factor - community.
Without community, the incentive to regularly moblog is almost gone, you need people to be commenting on your content, you need
the voices of your peers to keep you active. Blogger is not built to do this. They are static pages that are not actively linked to a community, so my intuition tells me that although this is a great service, one I applaud, the industry has once again overlooked the only factor that would ever make the service a success."
Fighting words indeed. Only time will tell whether Google's new service really catches on. Some have already pigeonholed it as yet another veiled attempt to get users to spend more money on data tarrifs. Photo Messaging (MMS) has yet to take off in the way SMS volume has exploded largely due to the cost. Until the cost of moblogging comes down, it is likely to remain a niche activity.
Do you currently run a moblog? Would one-button moblog function encourage you to get snapping, or do you see it as a narcissistic pastime? We want to hear your thoughts