yesterday's technology tomorrow
Saturday, March 04, 2006Telstra BigPond Movies on the Mobile
After a couple of months of focused effort, Telstra BigPond released BigPond Movies on the BigPond 3G mobile service here in Australia.
I'm really proud of what we have delivered with this service and I'll go out on a limb to say this is a great example of where I think mobile 2.0 is going. Its a shift from ringtones, sms and repurposed "content" to a world of services and applications that start to take advantage of the attributes of your mobile phone.
For those who don't know, BigPond Movies is a DVD rental service much like Netflix in the US. AgentArts provides the recommendation and personalisation technology behind the service along with some community list services.
The 3G mobile service we have built offers search, browse, view most popular etc and trailers. Most impressively it offers the user the ability to login to their account, add DVDs to their queue, manage their queue and mark DVDs as returned. Along with the self service functionality, the service offers fully personalised recommendations to registered users.
Having used it for the last couple of weeks during testing, I find myself thinking the mark a DVD as returned is very useful on the mobile, along with being able to spend 10 mins on the train checking the latest releases and recommendations and adding DVDs to your queue.
I understand this to be the first service of its kind which makes it all the more cool to have been involved with. :-)
It has been interesting to develop this app and having to support a reasonable range of phones (3G range offered here in Aust). While all the phones support XHTML, the idiosyncrasies of each handset do cause quite a bit of tweaking to be needed. For example, some phones support background images and others don't, some display form inputs full width no matter what length you set and some correctly display them, and all require different default font sizes.
While tools exist for higher level detection of capabilities, there is nothing available to easily tell some of the lower level settings (font sizes, specific CSS support etc.). Great opportunity here for someone to build a good solution and market to carriers.
Now I hope its gets some use (3G uptake and all that)....I know I'll be using it instead of the full web site and may well use it in my desktop browser for the speed and simplicity.
Random Pile of Ben
ben at neuronwave dot com