Smartphone apps are great, but – particularly if you live in a developing market – the data they need can be quite pricey. And in those countries, chances are you won’t be opting for the latest, top-of-the-line handset model either.
That’s why the idea of cloud-based app platforms is taking off. These platforms run their apps partly on the device, but the heavy lifting is done on some remote server. You’d think this would result in more rather than less data usage, but heavy compression – not dissimilar to that used by Amazon’s SilkBrowser or Opera Mini – takes care of that problem.
One such platform, Finland’s Blaast, launched in Indonesia in January, in partnership with local operator XL. Now it’s opened up customer and developer availability to the rest of the world as well, and also has a couple of other tidbits to share: two more as-yet-unnamed South-East Asian carrier partnerships have been struck (creating a total market of 76 million potential customers), and an Android version will be coming out by the end of the year.
Blaast’s app, which is funded by investors including Skype’s founding engineers and ex-Nokian Pekka Vartiainen, can be used on more than 2,000 handset models, as all it really needs to run is Java.
However, the company does have competition in the form of the Australian biNu platform, which picked up $2m from Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures this month, and the U.S.-based Peek. >>Read more