Socialtext Goes More Mobile

Socialtext released new mobile device capabilities today, with device-optimized usage from a BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android smartphone. Socialtext released “Miki”, for mobile device access to a wiki workspace some three ago; this is an update and substantial revision to its capabilities.

Socialtext Mobile Capabilities
When connecting to a Socialtext workspace from the web browser on one of these devices, you can:
– read and send signals, through Socialtext Signals. Signals are short (140-character) messages that describe what you are doing or thinking.
– track the actions that other people are doing within Socialtext, through activity streams. Whereas Signals are written by a person to state what they are doing, an activity is a system-generated alert that says what someone has done. Eg, if you update a page in a workspace, an activity alert is auto-generated. This is helpful for letting other people know what you are working on, without you have to intentionally write a signal.
– browse the company directory in Socialtext People. When looking at someone’s record, you can initiate an email or place a phone call.
– navigate a list of the Socialtext Workspaces you have access to, and click into any of them. Once inside, you can read and edit pages.

Analysis and Critique
I truly believe in the need for mobile device access to collaboration systems–see Pillar 2 in my 7 Pillars framework for evidence of this (from 2005). And interestingly, my upcoming article for Messaging News magazine this month is an update on my mobile and wireless access article from 3 years ago for the same publication. My article hasn’t been released yet, but it’s coming.

Here’s my initial comments about Socialtext Mobile based on looking at the offering; note that I have both a BlackBerry Bold and an iPhone, but not the HTC Android (yet; HTC? Anyone?):
– It’s good that they’ve done this.
– By going for a platform independent way of supporting mobile devices, Socialtext enables a greater covering of the market. I don’t know why Windows Mobile is excluded.
– I’m sure they could have done an Apple iPhone application, but that’s only one of the devices they need to support. Doing it without an application first is a good way to test the market, to gather feedback on devices of choice, etc.
– Devices with real keyboards will be better for text entry than those that have on screen ones. Eg, people with the BlackBerry will find it easier to create Signals and edit wiki pages than those that have on-screen keyboards.
– There is no offline support, so you need to have network access.

What do you think?

My next research report is an analysis of the Socialtext offerings for collaboration. Please visit the report home page for details and to pre-order.

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