Vodafone intros LiMo R2 handsets for social aggregation platform

Wireless behemoth Vodafone on Thursday announced an aggregation platform that brings a user’s contacts, social networks and messages together in one place.

Vodafone 360 will feature a specially designed user interface using Vodafone’s ‘proximity algorithm’ (it brings the most frequently contacted to the front of the list), which was built and designed on the LiMo Foundation’s Linux platform and heralds the first handsets to be built on LiMo R2.

LiMo – another splinter group chasing the mobile Linux bandwagon – is known to be very accommodating to the operator community, seeing handset customisation as its forte. Other than Vodafone, the operators that intend to bring LiMo-based handsets to market include NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica and Verizon Wireless.

Handsets for the upcoming operator deployments will be sourced from LiMo OEMs which have worked on the development of the platform, including LG, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, CasioHitachi, Huawei and ZTE.

Samsung will be providing the first LiMo R2 handsets to be used by Vodafone 360, with the first of these confirmed as the H1. The device features HSDPA, wifi, a five megapixel camera, a 3.5 inch WVGA AMOLED display, 16GB of memory and a MicroSD card slot.

Over 1,000 apps will be available for the LiMo handsets at launch via Vodafone’s own app store, the Vodafone Shop, and 360 will also be made available on Symbian-based Nokia handsets as a pre-install or a downloadable software suite.

Read our profile on Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMO Foundation

The native functionality of the 360 platform will focus on content aggregation – bringing together all contacts and content in one place and allowing customers access to different networking sites including Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk. Users can also create different contact groups across social networks, so as to share different information with different groups of people.

The service and handsets will launch in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK before Christmas, and will be followed by launches in a number of other countries in 2010, including India, Turkey, South Africa, New Zealand and Romania and in France through SFR, through MTS in Russia, and through Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

One comment

  1. Vodafone has rightly recognised that the operator can play a part in aggregating social networks and providing apps to the user. A number of our own customer operators in regions such as Latin America and South Africa have also chosen to go down this route and have had amazing success. It proves that these services don’t just belong in the domain of handset manufacturers and internet giants.

    Demand for this has been growing rapidly – most of us now belong to so many different social networks and use a number of communication methods daily, that we need help managing it all. But social network aggregation is just one step along this evolutionary gangway. Already there are companies out there talking about the “Social Address Book” – where the address book on your mobile becomes the integration point for your communities, effectively organising each of your contact’s life-streams around the information you have on your phone. The problem is that there are many companies coming from different parts of the mobile value chain trying deliver a solution, and while there can be a number of ways to achieve this, it will always boil down to a good user experience.

    The key is to deliver a solution that works for everyone, regardless of handset, operator, country, social networks, etc. Colibria believes a true converged solution is an intelligent one that automatically updates your address book when a contact changes their information, wherever that change occurs in their life-stream. It will be interesting to see what concepts come to the fore in the next year, and more importantly, who takes the lead.

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