Synchronica Sends E-mail to Cheap Phones via SMS

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Using SimpleMail, cheap mobile phones will be able get access to push e-mail, Synchronica announced on Tuesday.

SimpleMail uses a gateway to break messages up into fragments that fit into SMS (Short Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messages that can be received and sent by the cheaper phones used in emerging markets. Such phones don't have a traditional e-mail client or even a browser, according to Nicole Meissner, chief marketing officer at Synchronica.

But if the phone has browser, there is also a clientless solution for that scenario as well, according to Synchronica.

SimpleMail is based on technology from AxisMobile, which was acquired by Synchronica.

It uses transcoding to, for example, shrink the size of pictures, and lower capacity needs. The PC has been eliminated from the sign-in process, to simply usage in emerging markets.

More than one account can be used on one phone, and the accounts can be integrated with web based e-mail services such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or MSN Hotmail Plus.

There is also support for attachments, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, which can be shown on phones that would otherwise be unable to support this functionality, according to Synchronica.

End-user pricing for the service will vary from operator to operator, but Synchronica sees operators charging flat rates, or even offering the service for free if customers agree to receive advertising.

The company works exclusively with carriers, and has signed deals with two unnamed operators, one in Africa and one in India, which have licensed SimpleMail. There is also an expansion order from an operator in the Commonwealth of Independent States, also unnamed.

Mobile e-mail for consumers has received some attention lately. A couple of weeks ago Nokia decided to stop developing its own enterprise mobile e-mail, to instead focus on mobile e-mail for consumers.

Operators have also showed a renewed interest, as they look for more data centric services, and consumer interest is also growing, albeit slowly, according to Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight.

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