Feature Article

August 03, 2012

Interactive Mobile Voice Apps Continue to Trickle Forward

LG is the latest company to introduce an interactive mobile voice app, joining Metaswitch's Thrutu and Vonage Mobile's application. Will this category of apps continue to grow and start migrating to tablets?

Introduced this week on Virgin Mobile USA's LG Optimus Elite, LG QuickMemo allows customers to create hand-drawn memos and graphics during a call, either with a saved phone or on the current phone screen. Customers can draw or write over any image on the screen to either personalize or call attention to any item.   Highlighted items can be shared through QuickMemo, Bluetooth, Gmail, Google, Messaging, Picas "and more", promises the press release.  Writing on the screen can either be done with a fingertip or a stylus designed for capacitive screens.

A PR spokesperson for LG says the software involved is "proprietary," implying the app was written in house specifically for LG's phones.

Metaswitch first opened up the category of interactive mobile apps a couple of years ago when it released Thrutu as a stand-alone product, then evolved it to be a branded/service offering under the Accession IMT brand. 

Thrutu, as I described back in May, runs in a peer-to-peer fashion between two phones, allowing people to talk on the phone while sharing bits of information through the smartphone user interface.   It offers the most elaborate set of features in this new category, enabling the sharing of location, a "Meet me" function for two people to select a common meeting point, pictures, contacts, a "prod" function to vibrate your phone to a friend (I can see this coming in handy at long boring meetings), sharing search, and a bunch of smaller apps, such as a coin flip and a mood ring. The software is slowly building a community as people add customized "buttons" to the free app. It's been around the longest so it's no big surprise there been some developers embracing the platform.

In May, Vonage Mobile added the abilities for two clients to share photos and locations via a button push. Given Vonage's brand name and push of its mobile app to its customer base, one could argue this is the most mainstream and largest deployment of an interactive mobile voice app. 

LG, Metaswitch, and Vonage are at the leading/bleeding edge of interactive peer-to-peer mobile voice apps, but I can't wait to see the next evolution of the category appear on smaller 7 inch form factor and larger tablets.   The combination of tablets and interactive voice apps might bring some new excitement to both personal and business sectors, with people able to conduct some quick on-the-go business on a voice call with the option to make it a video call if necessary. I'm betting in most cases video will be an unused option, since people will be interested in reviewing documents and photos together than having to watch each other flip through documents and hold them up to the camera.

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Then be sure to attend the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX. Co-sponsored by TMC Partner Crossfire Media the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo provides unmatched networking opportunities and a robust conference program representing the mobile ecosystem. The conference not only brings together the best and brightest in the wireless industry, it actually spans the communications and technology industry. For more information on registering for the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo click here.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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