For the most part, users of online community sites are bound to their computer. When they are away from their PC, they are disconnected from their online buddies. EQO Communications, a leading developer of presence-enabled calling and instant messaging services, extends online social networks to mobile devices, providing an always-connected mobile phone service that keeps people linked to their online communities.
EQO (pronounced "echo") today announced the immediate availability of EQO Me and EQO Mobile Browser Edition. EQO Me is a free widget that users can download, customize and paste onto their community profile page or personal blog site, enabling them to stay connected with their online friends even when they're away from their PC. EQO Me is also a personalized "message board" on which a user can express their mood and location by uploading information directly from their mobile phone to their online profile.
EQO Me works in conjunction with EQO Mobile Browser Edition, an evolution of the EQO Mobile for Skype(TM) beta product announced at DEMO2006. EQO Mobile Browser Edition is designed for online users with web-browsing capabilities on their mobile phone, which in the United States is estimated to be 70 percent of all phone users or approximately 130 million people.
The combination of EQO Me and EQO Mobile Browser Edition will allow avid online community users to stay in touch with their online buddies even when they are away from their PC. Online friends can send text messages to a user's mobile phone, allowing the user to link to a mobile browser page for the recipient to view all of the contents of the message including text and pictures. Users must have a mobile browsing plan/service from their mobile carrier, but will not need to download any application to the mobile phone.
"The youth market will drive the next wave of rich messaging on mobile phones. A major catalyst will come from their pervasive use of online social networks," said Jill Aldort, Wireless/Mobile senior analyst for Yankee Group. "Young people are avid adopters of new technologies in both the online and mobile realm, and anything that enables these individuals to share their experiences and stay connected to their online friends via their mobile phones is a natural fit for them."
The youth and young adult segment of the population -- the "power-users" of online communities -- are heavy users of mobile text messaging and cellular calling. According to the Yankee Group 2006 US Mobile User Teen Survey, teens use an average of 400 minutes per month on their cellular phones and send/receive an average of 20 text messages weekly.
"Our goal is to allow people to take their buddies with them on their mobile phone anywhere they are," said Bill Tam, CEO of EQO Communications. "The mobile phone adds immediacy to the online experience, allowing users to share with others what they're doing right then and there. EQO powers an easy, immediate way to add mobile connectedness to online profiles and blogs. We're working closely with online communities to establish strategic partnerships that will extend their brand and experience to the mobile phone with text messaging, mobile alerts, multimedia messaging, instant messaging, voice calling and eventually video communications."
As part of its launch, EQO is sponsoring BANDCAST 2006, an online Battle of the Bands featuring the best of new music from around the world. BANDCAST 2006 plays for 24 hours starting at 18h00 Eastern on MySpace (www.myspace.com/eqocommunications), Friendster (www.friendster.com/eqocomm) and Tagworld (www.tagworld.com/eqo).
The EQO Me widget and EQO Mobile Browser Edition are available for free at www.eqo.com.