A View from Erica Naone
Nokia Acquires Twango
Mobile manufacturer’s goal is to increase Internet services.
On Monday, cell-phone maker Nokia announced its acquisition of media-sharing startup Twango. Twango users can upload photos, audio, videos, and text, and they can share these files with a network of friends and family.
Although Twango launched in October primarily as a service to be used through a PC or Mac, cofounder Serena Glover says that it was always intended to work with mobile technology. She says that Twango built its first prototype in the fall of 2004 for a mobile phone, but the company was stopped by difficulties with the format: mobile phones are infamous for using a host of different platforms, and phones at the time were too slow with media files. Twango settled for a Web-based format that, among other things, allowed users to upload files from phones equipped to send e-mail. In January, Twango launched a website designed for phones with XHTML mobile browsers.
Glover says that plans for Twango’s new direction under Nokia aren’t yet firm, but it sounds as though the focus will be on developing easier interfaces for using Twango on mobile devices. Glover points out that uploading from a mobile phone via e-mail is too technically difficult for many people to do comfortably. It’s likely that new developments will be best for users with Nokia products, but Glover says that account holders will be able to continue using the service from any phone or computer.
Nokia seems interested in the company as part of an effort to expand Internet services for high-end products such as its N-series multimedia computers. Nokia communications manager Camilla Gragg says that acquiring Twango is part of a larger goal to give users greater access to social networks and a variety of media.
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