Vodafone is aiming to refashion its mobile web business around the address book and social networking with the launch of its Vodafone 360 brand.
The new product suite, announced Thursday, integrates users’ diverse address books, photos and social networking updates and provides automatic synching.
Samsung has built two dedicated Vodafone 360 handsets, using the Linux-based LiMo, with a “proximity algorithm” that will highlight the most frequently-contacted people.
It will be launched in eight European markets by the end of the year, with launches in India, Turkey, South Africa, and other markets next year.
At launch four Nokia Symbian smartphones will come pre-loaded with Vodafone 360, and part or all of the service will be downloadable to more than 100 handset models. It automatically synchs all contacts from a customer’s phone, Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, and will soon also include Twitter, Hyves and studiVZ. It also synchs wirelessly between the phone and the PC or Mac.
Pieter Knook, Vodafone’s director of internet services, said that the heart of the platform was a connected address book called Vodafone People.
He said Vodafone 360 offered an “integrated mobile internet experience.”
“All the services work together and they are easy to use,” said. “Customers can stay in touch and share experiences through social networks, instant messaging, email, apps, maps, music and buying digital content on their mobile bill, with the personalized address book at its heart.”