Microsoft to premiere OneApp in SA

25 August 2009

Software giant Microsoft is partnering with local firm Blue Label Telecoms to premiere OneApp – a new application that enables feature-rich phones to access Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger and other popular applications and games – in South Africa.

As a result of a strategic relationship with Microsoft, Blue Label Telecoms’ upcoming release of its mibli consumer mobile service, powered by Microsoft OneApp, will ship with more than a dozen new applications.

Better mobile experience

According to Microsoft, OneApp will result in a better mobile experience for the many people around the world who want to do more with the phones they already own, while complementing the company’s strategy of bringing mobile applications and services to feature phones in emerging markets.

“We believe mobile technology plays a pivotal role in addressing people’s everyday needs and creating new opportunities for local industry to grow,” Microsoft’s Amit Mital said in a statement this week.

“Microsoft OneApp will be able to help people do things they couldn’t do before with their feature phone – anything from paying their bills to helping diagnose their health issues or just staying connected with friends and family,” Mital said.

Lightweight application

OneApp was designed “from the ground up” to enable mobile applications to be accessed by feature phones with limited memory and processing capability. For users, OneApp appears on their phone as a single application, whence they can easily access all of their mobile applications.

Among other things, OneApp boast that:

  • Its lightweight (150KB) on-phone footprint makes installation easy and fast.
  • It dynamically launches just the parts of a mobile app that a person wants to use, eliminating additional installation time and the need to store all of the mobile apps on the phone.
  • It includes “cloud” services that help offload processing and storage from the phone to the internet, improving overall performance.
  • It uses data networks efficiently to reduce data access charges, saving money for the customer.

“With a GPRS-enabled cell phone, consumers can now be part of the app experience, which is taking the world by storm,” says Blue Label Telecoms joint CEO Mark Levy.

‘Transform any cellphone’

Consumers in South Africa can download and install mibli for free, though network service fees will apply for data usage. Additional applications will be available in the future, focusing on areas such as health care.

Microsoft OneApp will begin to be offered through partners worldwide, and software developers can write new applications for OneApp using industry standards such as JavaScript and XML.

The OneApp software developer kit is expected to be available for developers by the end of 2009.

“While this opens up a whole new world of opportunity for any and all users, advertisers and developers, we’re particularly excited by the technology’s capacity to transform nearly any cell phone into a highly sophisticated, cost-effective and user-friendly transactional device,” says Levy.

SAinfo reporter

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