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Review: TransMedia Glide Mobile

This powerful software-and-service combo gives you near perfect control over sending even very large media files from your cell phone.
The growing mobile application market increasingly offers powerful new applications and services. But TransMedia's Glide Mobile software-and-service combination offers unique features that distinguish it from competitors.

Glide Mobile, which is a new mobile version of the company's desktop-based Glide Effortless, enables you to share digital files, regardless of size and format, across different devices and operating systems, while providing tools to manage these files and control how recipients can use them. These are truly powerful features that help reduce the complexity of sharing digital files. While Glide Mobile is not without flaws, it is a big step forward for moving digital files in a mobile environment.

Glide Mobile supports handsets running Windows Mobile 5.0, the Motorola Razr, Nokia 60 series handsets and Sony Ericsson handsets.

We used a Palm Treo 700w smartphone (a Windows Mobile 5.0 device) running Verizon wireless service to test Glide Mobile.

After loading the Glide Mobile software onto the phone, you access the Glide folder where you can select a function from Glide's digital operating environment, which is divided into 10 different applications including Glide Personal, Glide Web Favorites, Glide Photos, Glide Music, Glide Video, Glide Docs, Glide All Media, Glide Contacts, Glide e-mail and Manage Account.

Glide Effortless is a desktop, Web-based version with the same functions as Glide Mobile. A nifty applet called Glide Link provides a way to upload files. Once files are uploaded using Glide Link, they are available in either the desktop or mobile versions.

I tested the service by using the Glide Link software to upload several pictures to my Glide personal folder. The files transferred in a snap, so I decided to try to move a 50 MB folder of vacation photos from last summer. Glide link uploaded these in minutes, much faster in my experience than the Typepad photoblogging feature or Yahoo! Photo. MP3 files were also similarly easy to upload, but at a much slower pace than the photos.

Transmedia is careful to point out that they are not a P2P network. So while you can share MP3 files, if you don't own the rights, downloading is disabled. After uploading the files on my PC, I opened Glide Mobile on my smartphone and found the files were available on my mobile version for viewing or listening without having to synchronize the two systems.

Thank You For Sharing

Sharing files by e-mail was a snap. There is a browse feature that enables you to search for a specific file or a list feature, where you can check each of the files you want -- particularly handy in a mobile application. What's more, you can cross different applications to include different media types in the same e-mail while controlling what rights recipients have for each file, including rights for viewing, downloading or uploading and editing. You can also password-protect the e-mail and even make it expire if you wish.

If you are sending to multiple recipients, you can apply the rules to all recipients or you can have separate rules for each recipient and each file. The recipient only receives a link to the files, so there is no need to worry about sending large files. If the recipient wants to download the file, and you have granted the rights, he or she can do so from the Glide web site after clicking the link in the e-mail.

The desktop version provides a way to create a blog with different media, and then publish new content to the blog on the fly, but this feature is missing from Glide Mobile. Neither can non-business users link to an e-mail address to get e-mail from another account, something that would be very handy if you intend to use Glide as a central mobile operating environment. Transmedia has stated that these functions will be added to the program in a June release.

Glide Mobile is an impressive mobile application, particularly because it enables you to send large digital files, while maintaining ownership, and with different sets of rights. You don't have to worry about the computer, operating environment or file type because Glide manages all of that for you. What's more, they have done a good job for the most part in the design of taking into account the fact that you are on a mobile device and want to accomplish an activity in the least number of keystrokes. While it takes some getting used to, once you learn how it works, you will be using Glide Mobile to share all of your digital media files.

The Glide Mobile service is free with a 300 MB storage limit; $4.95 per month or $49.95 per year for 1 GB of storage; or $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year for 4 GB of storage.

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
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Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing