Mobifusion is a VAS provider based out of Gurgaon which is in the business of providing content (documents especially) on mobile phones. They have tie-ups with a lot of content provider partners like McGrawHill, Bloomsbury, Oxford Publishing, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, S.Chand etc. They also cater to phones across the OS spectrum like iPhone, Android, Blackberry, WM, Symbian etc.
Mobifusion has come up with an e-reader for reading e-books and documents on any kind of a mobile phone. At the outset this seems like a great idea especially with mobile usage for data consumption growing by leaps and bounds and the movers and shakers of the mobile world going for systems to make e-reading better.
Now lets dig a bit deeper into this. What does Mobifusion really bring to the table? I use Stanza on the iPhone to read ebooks. Apple app store has numerous such apps from free to paid ones. Mobifusion of course works on platforms other than the iPhone.
While it seems like a good advantage to have, it usually really boils down to having a different executable for each different OS. Moreover each of the major OS players either have some kind of a reader built in or up for free download. While from a company point of view, it is great to spread and address each of the OS, but at the end the user downloads whatever is applicable and best for his mobile OS. He also (usually) tries to optimise price, reviews (quality) for each app and usually wouldnt care two hoots if other OS are supported or not. Therefore if one notices, the top reader apps on each of the OS platforms (Apple and BB atleast) are specific to those platforms and not ones which function across others.
Now lets get to the content play. I think any content provider – partners would like to be covered on every platform. For them it should be a no-brainer to be available on each and every OS platform notwithstanding the quality of the product (the level of interest will vary e.g. they will queue to be on iPad app store while they will keep a newbie waiting). Therefore I would take the partners list with a pinch of salt here (e.g. Penguin listed as a partner here has released 3 books as per their press release).
In their website and other press releases, they mention snacking as a trend and how Mobifusion is all set to ride the wave on that one. When I read that, the first thing that came to my mind was – here comes a great RSS feed reader on the mobile phone. There is no better example of snacking – and although I do understand they cater to a different type of reader here, I do take exception to it being called snacking. There is a lot of scope for a good feed reader (not only news) and I hope they do some clever stuff here.
Finally, I think they do need to do a rethink of their strategy and address the problems according to market – e.g. approach Symbian readers first and have a good user base among Symbian users in India.
What’s your opinion?
Also see: Review of InfiBeam PI eBook Reader