Blogging comes to mobile phones

3GSM: A start-up is promising to let users create their own Web logs via SMS and picture messaging, and has said the first services will arrive soon

Mobile phone users may soon be able to update their Web logs with nothing but a mobile phone, with the launch of new services from mobile phone operators later this year.

That's the promise of NewBay Software, which is showing off its FoneBlog software at the 3GSM World Congress wireless expo in Cannes, France this week. NewBay introduced the software last month, and said on Tuesday that it had seen "significant interest" in the product from network operators.

Several commercial services will be launched in the coming months, NewBay said.

FoneBlog taps into the increasing interest in Web logs, or blogs, which are frequently updated Web sites listing the most recent postings at the top. Key to the blogging phenomenon has been the availability of server-based software that makes updating the site simple and non-technical. Hundreds of thousands of blogs have popped up over the past few years, including everyone from hobbyists to well-known celebrities. The blogs of several Washington pundits were credited with helping to oust former US Senate majority Leader Trent Lott last year when they reported racially divisive comments that had been overlooked by mainstream journalists.

The company credited with popularising blogging, Pyra Labs, was acquired by Google on Sunday.

NewBay's software claims to extend the same ease of use of Web-based blogging software to mobile phones, allowing users to post directly to an operator-provided Web site via SMS (short messaging service) text message and MMS (multimedia messaging service) photo message. The service could be attractive to operators, who are looking for ways to increase their text-messaging and photo-messaging revenues.

"FoneBlog offers consistent, long-term revenue for network operators and unmatched loyalty from consumers," said Paddy Holahan, NewBay chief executive, in a statement.

NewBay claims that 11 percent of all mobile phones sold in 2004 will have camera capabilities, outstripping the number of digital cameras sold, citing figures from Strategy Analytics.

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