Startup Spotlight: All aboard the m-train

M's the word at m-commerce portal Mformobile.com
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor
Mformobile.com launched last Thursday as a portal for m-commerce news and analysis. With five m-commerce conferences taking place throughout Europe this week, the dot-com is keen to enter the wireless phenomenon before 3G telephony hits the market. The company believes that with people increasingly on the move, the convenience of m-commerce will help it overtake e-commerce in the next few years. Mformobile insists that they are not tied to any one technology such as WAP, only recognising WAP as the starting block for mobile technology. The company sees the mass market shifting away from WAP to 3G in the next three to four years. The site will concentrate on analysis of the m-commerce market rather than competing with sites offering rolling news coverage. All information will be archived within a vertical search engine, as Mformobile believes that the value of portals comes from focusing on in depth content. Looking at the recent struggles of leading portals such as AltaVista to keep their heads above water, managing director Claire MacDonald said "we are anxious to enter the vertical industry and excel at one thing". A simple and attractive interface makes the site easy to navigate, despite the noticeably slow speed of clickthroughs. The content is clearly going to apply to a niche market, with analysis assuming a certain level of knowledge in the reader. Mformobile's dependence on the dubious uptake of WAP also creates an unmistakable bias in its content towards the potential of wireless technology. Andrew Darling, editor of Mformobile.com, admitted that the main challenge of m-commerce is to restore the consumers' faith in all electronic services. "We're only 18 months into the whole phenomenon -- in the next couple of years there will be a cultural shift that will force m-commerce to become a feature of everyone's lives." The service: Mformobile.com
What it does: a m-ortal as it likes to be known for m-commerce analysis
Who it's for: network operators and content providers
The verdict: a dodgy market to enter; too much is dependent on the turnaround of WAP
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