Plusmo, Another Startup Trying To Help The Web Go Mobile

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A new startup called Plusmo is launching today, and its application combines an RSS reader along with support for “gadgets” (think widgets). Its difference from some other similar applications is that it can automatically fetch your content and then store it locally on the device, meaning you don’t necessarily have to connect to view content, and browsing can be pretty fast. Some RSS readers, of course, do this already, but Plusmo extends that functionality a bit with its gadgets.

The Plusmo application comes in Java flavors for various handsets, as well as a Windows Mobile version. It’s then got a (very 2.0-ified) web interface that allows users to control and manage the feeds and gadgets they have on their device, and adding new content is pretty simple. For instance, if you click the little phone icon in the upper right, you’ll be taken to the Plusmo site where you can add the MobHappy feed to your account, should you desire. They’ve also got a bookmarklet so you can add any other site you visit while you’re surfing on your PC. Users can also roll multiple sources into custom channels, then share them with their friends.

I’ve been talking for a while about using RSS as a delivery mechanism for all kinds of content so it’s sitting on a phone where a user can access it with no wait, and I think Plusmo could be heading down that path. While I’m not convinced that this sort of asynchronous delivery is the best idea for every kind of content (like blogs, where you might want access to the most recent information, not what was most recent when the software last connected), but it makes a lot of sense for relatively static content that is updated less frequently — TV and movie listings, shared calendars, all kinds of things.

Of course, it’s still in beta, so there are definitely some kinks to be worked out. The usability of the mobile app is a little less than optimal, for sure, and it would be nice to know what it takes to build a gadget. I’m also curious about Plusmo’s business model, since everything’s free, as far as I can tell. Still, Plusmo faces the same battle as every other developer that uses some proprietary platform or approach — getting the software on enough handsets to make a business viable.

[tags]mobile, plusmo, rss, mobile rss, mobile content[/tags]

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