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Wildseed Announces French Kitty version of SmartSkins
Posted: 11-Apr-2004 [Source: Mobile Tech News]

[The Linux based French Kitty SmartSkin offers French Kitty images and animations, ringtones, a dancing game, icons and photos, fashion alerts, the French Kitty photo album and access to French Kitty's daily journal--all keeping with Wildseed's focus on personalization in their attempts to appeal to the teen-age cell phone market.]

By Jean Panke, Mobile Tech News -- Wildseed had their Smartskins on display at CTIA in Atlanta a few weeks ago and launched the new French Kitty version. Wildseed was founded two years ago as GiTWIT by Eric Engstrom, co-developer of Microsoft's DirectX operating system. He left Microsft after eight years to pursue his own entrepreneurial endeavors, one of which is Wildseed. Wildseed has designed and developed SmartSkins, a unique interactive phone and accessories package, targeted directly at the youth market.

The Yankee Group has reported that 56% of teens below 18 own or use a cell phone, including 20% of pre-teens. SmartSkins is in pursuit of this market by appealing to the idea of handset personalization. The phone is made by Korean manufacturer Curitel and has snap on skins with memory chips built in. The chips store the content allowing users to customize the phone depending on their moods. SmartSkin content also includes games, screen styles, and messaging features Wildseed terms Smart-Alerts and SmartChat.

The French Kitty handset is a good example of what these handsets offer in the way of youth-oriented personalization. The French Kitty skin, once attached to the handset, delivers French Kitty images and animations throughout the phone screen designs. It also offers French Kitty-themed ringtones, a dancing game, icons and photos; The Smart Skin also has links for signing up for fashion alerts, access to French Kitty's photo album, fashion trivia, as well as French Kitty's daily journal. Everything about this phone carries the theme French Kitty.

This is the heart of Wildseed's personalization idea--integrate the technology of the internal and external workings of the phone so a change of "skin" allows a totally different user experience based on mood and preference. Users can update their phone by simply snapping on a new SmartSkin. Once in place, the SmartSkin intelligence (embedded in a small chip, called the smart key, inside of the skin) transforms the phone from the inside out.

These transformations include customization of the phone's screens. In addition, the software automatically delivers links to data services while the smart key loads content directly onto the handset including songs, video clips, ringtones, pictures and games all directly related to the theme of the SmartSkin. .Each SmartSkin also delivers a number of network-driven activities and opt-in services, all related to the theme of the accessory. For example, users with a KORN skin will receive instant messages when concert tickets go on sale.

The first Smart Skin capable phone is GSM/GPRS and will be launched by Curitel in early 2004. Wildseed's software is based on Linux and is licensed for use in specially designed handsets supporting GSM/GPRES and Qualcomm's CDMA 1XRTT. Smart Screens software is also compatible with Symbian, Microsoft Stinger and Qualcomm's BREW.

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