Monday, May 21, 2007

Funambol cracking the US market

In the office, I have a year-old framed article from RCR Wireless, where I am quoted saying "We haven't cracked the US market yet. US carriers have never been fast movers". I look at it every time I play foosball on our Garlando table and I always thought I had to do something about it. The US is three years behind the rest of the world (when it comes to mobile), but I live here. My board members live here. Most of my friends live here. We have carriers going live anywhere on the planet, but I wanted (at least) one here. And I was not willing to wait three years ;-)

Today we have announced Helio is using Funambol. It is the coolest MVNO around. Their shop in Palo Alto (in front of Caffe' del Doge, my favorite coffee place in the Bay Area...) is gorgeous. Their new device, the Ocean, is one of the hottest device today (an iPhone killer...). And Funambol is powering it...

The nice thing is that we got to Helio through Earthlink, which is also using our software. It is really a great deal for us and for open source in general. If you look at what OpenXchange is doing with 1&1 and what Zimbra is doing with Comcast, you can tell open source is conquering the service providers market.

Since I had few people asking me questions about the deal, here you have the Q&A directly from Earthlink.

Q. Is this arrangement targeting all of EarthLink's mobile devices?

A. There are two components to the arrangement - one is a server-side component and one is a client-side component. The server-side component is targeted at supporting future Helio devices (starting with the Ocean that just started shipping). Note, Helio is the MVNO joint venture between EarthLink and SK Telecom. The client-side component will support EarthLink desktop clients (see below)

Q. What desktop email clients will be supported?

A. EarthLink is developing a next generation email client coming out in beta later this year. This client will use Funambol's syncML client code to sync the client address book with the server-side EarthLink address book.

Q. Will the sync service be limited to an EarthLink customer bundle, or is it going to be a service that is available independently?

A. Our future vision is that any application or device that has a syncML client on it will be able to sync with the server-side EarthLink address book. A customer would have to have an address to take advantage of our server-side address book.

Q. When will EarthLink roll it out?

A. Helio is already using the syncML server. The desktop client will roll out later this year.

Another good day for Funambol. Another good day for mobile open source.