A few weeks ago I sat down to discuss Mobile 2.0 with handset giant Nokia at Mobile Internet World. This time I wanted to deepen the conversation and cover mobile widgets with Beth Goza, senior marketing manager at startup Zumobi. Guess what, widgets are key to bringing Web 2.0 to the third screen.Over The Air (OTA): Hello, Beth, welcome to Take 5 on Over The Air. Let's dig in. What is Zumobi? And why did you guys recently change your name?
Beth Goza (BG): Zumobi takes accessing, retrieving, and sharing Web-based content beyond traditional mobile browsers. Through an intuitive, lush, high-frame-rate user interface, Zumobi allows people to easily bounce in and out of snack-sized bits information they need throughout the day, and the targeted entertainment they enjoy, while offering advertisers a better way to connect with consumers through their mobile phones. For mobile Web developers, Zumobi delivers an open, device-neutral platform for building and deploying rich content for mobile phones. Zumobi makes it simple and profitable to build and deliver mobile applications -- through a single standard for development and deployment and an attractive revenue-sharing model. The name change from ZenZui to Zumobi was to better reflect our award-winning Zooming User Interface and mobile platform business.
OTA: What is Mobile 2.0? And what role do widgets play in it?
BG: Mobile 2.0 seems to be an adoption of the Web 2.0 spirit which is an open, integrative approach to both software and the Web. For some, the 1.0 to 2.0 transition marks a period in time as in pre-bust or post-bust for the great Internet frenzy of the late 1990s. For others it's about a philosophy of approach; moving away from walled gardens and "owning" the customer to a freedom of choice and movement for customers relying on great service and differentiated offerings to be what captures the imagination and business of the market. Widgets represent another move from the 1.0 to 2.0 space, which is the hyper-personalization of content and experience. In other words, we've moved from a one-size-fits-all boxed software on a shelf place to hyper-personal, singular-focus, Web-based applications that have a small footprint and serve the needs of the end-user in a very specific way.
OTA: Widgets, gadgets, tiles, etc. Why is there no one single name for a widget? And do all these apps work with each other?
BG: It really depends on who you talk to these days. Some see widget as a category like software or hardware and then names like gadgets, tiles, flakes, etc., as a brand of widget. Others see Widget as a brand like Kleenex which has taken on the character of the category. At the end of the day, it's a little all over the place and I'm not sure which, if any of these, has traction outside of the tech industry. Not sure my Dad would know a widget from a gadget, but he would know that he likes the little applications he has running on his Mac's dashboard. I think of widget as a category and Tile as Zumobi's flavor of widget, which represents the specific way we present them on the Zumobi zoom space and how our end users interact with them.
OTA: What is Zumobi's position on Google Android? Does Zumobi plan to work with Android?
BG: Our position on Android is the more open the better in the mobile space. Any move to give developers and consumers choice is a good move and we're always looking for ways to integrate with what's out there. The goal of Zumobi is not to take over the mobile experience, but to enhance and integrate with the existing platform.
OTA: What is the difference between Zumobi and other mobile widget offerings, like Widsets?
BG: Zumobi's interface is what really stands out in the mobile widget space. The ease of navigation and delight of zooming in and out of Tiles makes using Zumobi a great way to access the content that is important to you. In addition, as mentioned above, we offer developers a way to build and deploy their content across devices and carrier networks with a revenue share model that enables them to monetize their creativity. For advertisers, we also give them a better way to connect to consumers in a targeted, meaningful way.
OTA: And one final question. Where were you the day the iPhone launched? And how did the iPhone change your life?
BG: I was in line by 4 p.m. on the day the iPhone launched at the AT&T store in Redmond Town Center (Redmond, Wash.). The biggest change in my life, aside from having a blast with the iPhone software, is that I haven't felt the need to go out and buy a new phone every six months. That said, the HTC Touch is looking mighty pretty these days.