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News & Highlights

More phone apps from local boys

By CHARLES F. MOREIRA
i -WAP Systems Online ,26 Aug 2004

Drivers whose cars are blocked by double-parked cars will despair no more with iNavigate Sdn Bhd's ( http://www.inavigate.com.my/ ) myCar application. When they find their cars blocked, users can key in the offending car number and situation like ¡°blocking¡± into their phone and send it to iNavigate's database which matches the offending car's number with its owner. However, this will only work if both parties have registered with the service. 

Stuck for the meaning of a word in another language? Well, Murasu Systems Sdn Bhd's Murasu Anjal tri-lingual dictionary lets users key an English word into their phone and get its corresponding Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil words and vice-versa for input in any one of the three languages and output in the other two. 

To make a hotel reservation while on the go, owners of Nokia series 30, 40 and 50, as well as Sony Ericsson P800 phones can use Airoport.com Sdn Bhd's mobileHOTELME application to make reservations, view hotel description, picture and contact particulars, find the hotel on a map and cancel reservations from their phone. Once again, this application is limited to participating hotels. 

For those wanting to keep track of their stockholding portfolio, EssentialBiz Sdn Bhd's ( http://www.essentialbiz.com.my/ ) MyPortfolio personal portfolio manager lets users enter and view their complete personal stock portfolio and prices and have it calculate their profit or loss on stocks based on their prevailing prices. 

It works with Nokia Series 40 (7250, 7210, 6800, 6610, 6200, 6220, 6100, 5100, 3510i, 3300, 3100) and Series 60 Java phones. MyPortfolio can be downloaded to the phones from Essential Biz' WAP site at http://essentialbiz.com.my/mpf.wml , and from the MDP portal. 

Also into stocks and shares, i -WAP Systems (Asia) Sdn Bhd's ( http://www.i-wapsystems.com/ ) Java-based HandyBroker solution lets users obtain stock information, make real-time stock enquiries, check the top 10 counters, obtain news and SMS alerts on their Java phones, as well as trade on air. HandyBroker is available for Ericsson P800, Motorola T720 and Nokia 7650 phones. 

Leveraging on developers
Meanwhile , confident that mobile data and content will be Maxis' agent of growth in the future, Maxis Multimedia Sdn Bhd has pledged to invest RM30mil over the next five years into building a community of local content and application developers through its developer programme . Through the MDP, Maxis will also support developers in designing, developing, testing and marketing their mobile applications and services even to Maxis' local competitors as well as overseas, especially through its Asian Mobility Initiative alliance partners such as CSL in Hong Kong, MobileOne in Singapore, Smart in the Philippines and Telstra in Australia. 

¡°Reaching a critical mass of customers is important for local developers, so we encourage them to sell their content and applications solutions both locally and overseas without restrictions,¡± said Maxis Multimedia chief executive officer Datuk Jamaludin Ibrahim . 

A cc ording to Strategy Analytics, a US-based market research and consulting firm, revenue from mobile data services in the Asia Pacific reached US$7.8bil (RM29.64bil) in 2002 and global mobile data revenues are forecast to reach US$112bil (US$425.6bil) by 2007. 

¡°Without a doubt, mobile data content will be the key agent of growth for Maxis in the future. Consistent with our focused approach, we will stick to content aggregation and delivery, while helping develop local content providers through the MDP. These creative companies will be the key contributors to Maxis' and the country's growth,¡± said Jamaludin . 

Maxis estimates that mobile data generated RM500mil across the local mobile industry last year and Jamaludin expects it to be worth RM750mil this year, especially since over 50% of mobile users are also active SMS users. 

Jamaludin and his team at Maxis had been thinking of the best way for Maxis to help develop the local mobile communications industry and his trips to South Korea and Japan convinced him that mobile data was the way to go and to create the MDP. 

¡°The sheer energy and creativity in the mobile content industry in these countries inspired me to personally explore this sector further,¡± said Jamaludin whose confident that Malaysians are on par with our counterparts in Japan , Korea and China and that local developers should be able to excel at least within the region. 

For now, the MDP will focus on developing messaging type applications, games, personal productivity tools, enterprise applications among others for J2ME mobile phones.  

The MDP plans to develop applications for native Symbian , Microsoft Pocket PC, Palm OS and other technology-based mobile devices. 

To help developers under the MDP, Maxis will allow selected participants to keep 100% of their revenue from appications and content they sell for a 12-month period before Maxis takes its commission. 

So far, 40 of the estimated 100 to 120 local developers work with Maxis which plans to recruit at least 100 developers by the end of 2005.