Telefónica O2 is about to launch a developer toolkit that promises to bring smartphone-like services to older feature phones. The new software, which is part of the company's BlueVia developer programme, aims at providing SMS and MMS tools to enable translation, weather information and social networking to work comfortably on basic handsets.
James Parton, Telefónica's head of developer marketing for BlueVia, said that the demand for mobile content continues to grow, and feature phone users will now be able to access services that were previously confined to smartphones. "There's a critical mass of feature phone users within Europe and in emerging markets, such as Latin America," he told New Media Age.
The new service, which is branded "Smart features for feature phones," will be launched in co-operation with the design-and-build agency AlwaysOnMessage.
But the advent of the BlueVia initiative is being blamed for the death of Telefonica's O2 Litmus service. This marketing programme was designed to help developers create more apps for O2 customers, but has failed due to lack of developer involvement, according to O2.
BlueVia appears to stand more of a chance given the higher rewards on offer to the developer community, together with the opportunity to market their apps across all of Telefónica's operations, a total of over 220 million subscribers.
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