OZ Takes E-Mail Client To Cell Phones

The big advantage with OZ's system: users can screen messages and decide whether the mail is worth the cost of downloading.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

October 24, 2005

2 Min Read

Cingular Wireless has agreed to offer OZ Communications Inc.'s new email client on some of its mobile phones, giving consumers a way to scan messages before deciding whether they are worth the cost of downloading, OZ said Monday.

The new technology powering the Cingular Mobile Email service provides an email client similar to popular applications used on the PC, the Canadian company said. The service, which launched Monday, is available across most Motorola phones, including the popular Razr.

With the OZ client, consumers can access existing email accounts on America Online, Microsoft's MSN and Yahoo. The OZ software is available for download through Cingular, which will also preload the software on some devices.

In offering the application, OZ is trying to make email usage easier on a mobile phone. Today, most people prefer to use text-messaging services that deliver only a few words between phones. Typing longer messages on a phone's keypad is too difficult for most people.

OZ's software does eliminate a few clicks in accessing email, compared to most commonly used email services, Suzzana Ellyn, analyst for Current Analysis, said. However, its biggest advantage is in the ability to see what's in the inbox.

"You can be notified when an email arrives, and see what's there before downloading it," Ellyn said. "It helps in reducing the number of data usage charges."

Making a lengthy email reply will still be difficult on the phone's keypad, so the OZ client is more valuable for people looking to stay connected to their email service, so no important messages are missed, Ellyn said. OZ has provided instant messaging applications for Sprint, T-Mobile and other carriers for a couple of years. Cingular is the first to use the company's email software.

The company is paid by carriers based on how much the service is used, therefore, the company is looking to get its application into as many devices as possible, from advanced cellular phones that access video to low-end phones that carriers offer at no charge for a year's subscription.

"We're not going after the high-end, corporate side of the market," Skuli Mogensen, chief executive and founder of OZ, said. Instead, the company believes that getting its product in mass-market devices used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide would generate more revenue.

To do that, however, OZ will need to sign up more carriers. Within the Cingular deal, Mogensen said the service would be expanded to devices from other manufacturers, but declined to say which ones.

"In time, we'd hope to see this on every device," Mogensen said.

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