New mobile services debut at CommunicAsia

New mobile services make their debut at CommunicAsia 2005, including pushmail for Microsoft Exchange.

SINGAPORE--A deluge of new mobile services made their debut at CommunicAsia 2005, including pushmail for Microsoft Exchange.

Developed by Mozat, a Singapore-based enterprise mobile solutions company, mOrange is a platform that allows enterprises to develop push applications for mobile devices.

mOrange comprises Java client software and the mOrange server software that connects to Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes mail servers. E-mail messages can then be “pushed” to cellphone users through GPRS (general packet radio service), similar to the popular BlackBerry service.

To receive e-mail messages, users will need to install the Java client software on their cellphones. Priced at S$1,700 (US$1,015) for the mOrange server software and 10 client licenses, "the platform is cheaper than BlackBerry", claimed Terence Cheong, Mozat’s business development manager.

Also spotted on the exhibition floor is a service that allows cellphone users to call anywhere in the world using Skype at local rates.

Developed by Norwegian start-up Ipdrum, the service requires users to install a software application that connects to the Skype Internet telephony network, said Kjetil Mathisen, the company’s chief executive officer.

Cellphone users will then be able to make and receive calls to any Skype user on their cellphones, without the need to look for a wireless hotspot when they are on the go, Mathisen added.

"And if they have a SkypeOut account, they can also make phone calls to any fixed or mobile number worldwide, and only incur local call and SkypeOut charges," he told ZDNet Asia during the CommunicAsia conference here.

Typically, free calls can be made between Skype users over the Internet, but if they wish to call a fixed or cellular phone number, they will need a SkypeOut account that offers up to 20 euros (US$24) worth of calls.

There are 42 million Skype users worldwide today, and the number is growing at about 150,000 a day, according to media reports.

Mathisen said the Ipdrum service took 18 months to develop and that the idea was born out of the limitations with Skype, which requires users to be at a PC with an Internet connection to make calls.

However, there is one snag with Ipdrum’s service. In order for a cellphone user to direct calls from the Skype network to his existing cellphone, he will need an extra cellphone that connects to a PC using the company’s Mobile Skype Cable.

Ipdrum is planning to roll out the service in Europe and Asia by August this year, he said. So far, the company has inked agreements with distributors in Europe to sell the service to consumers.