A Few Launches Worth Noting

There have been a handful of new service launches in the last week or so that are worth noting, if you’ve not seen them already.

  • As MH reader Zec pointed out in a comment, PayPal launched PayPal Mobile Checkout, which is similar to Google Checkout’s mobile features I covered a few weeks ago. PayPal can now be integrated into WAP sites, allowing for the purchase of (presumably) both physical and digital goods. While neither of these launched to much fanfare, it would appear that the tools are falling into place to encourage more mobile commerce, and perhaps offer another payment route for offdeck content providers.
  • Sticking with payments, mobile money transfers/payments company Obopay says its service will be made available inside Verizon Wireless’ walled garden. While that’s what it takes to get access to the operator’s 60 million customers, merely being in their content deck isn’t going to automatically overcome the massive obstacles (th biggest being a lack of demand for person-to-person mobile payments, as PayPal found out) facing Obopay and all the other companies doing exactly the same thing.
  • I saw over the weekend over at mTrends that YouTube Mobile finally officially launched. I’d played with this some back around 3GSM in February, and it looks pretty much the same. Limited compatibility and choice of videos now, but it works pretty well, at least on an S60 device. Look for a fuller version as the year goes on; eventually, I’ve been told, videos will get encoded for mobile when they’re uploaded. Until then, it’s not clear which videos are getting sent to the mobile site, or what the plans for encoding the entire catalog are.
  • Opera Mini is one of my favorite mobile apps, and it keeps getting better. The beta of version 4 is now out, and it now features zooming, like some other browsers, which lets you see an entire page, then pick where you’d like to zoom in and start reading. It’s got some other improvements, too, and after some casual use the last couple of days, it seems pretty solid. It’s getting some good press, too: check out this NY Times story that dwells on its merits over Safari on the iPhone.

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