Is the world ready for video ringtones? Certainly the team at Vringo thinks so. Vringo is a new startup which has combined elements of social networking with video ringtones / ringback tones, to create an intriguing new service. It allows you to:
- share videos with your friends who are also Vringo users.
- specify a video to be used as a ringtone on your buddies phones when you call.
- let your buddies specify a video ringback tone to be viewed on your phone, when you call.
The video content is either free, user created content, or licensed content from a 3rd party. One can see all kinds of promotional and licensing opportunities in this kind of platform.
First demoed at 3GSM on Symbian phones, today Vringo announced that they have ported their application to J2ME, which gives them access to more phones from Motorola, Ericsson, and others.
Press Release follows…
VRINGO LAUNCHES SHARED VIDEO RINGTONES ON THE MOBILE JAVA PLATFORM
Startup breaks the J2ME mobile video barrier; ports its outgoing “Vringo”client to mass-market, youth-market handsets
San Francisco, May 9, 2007 —– Vringo, a company developing new applications for mobile personalization, announced today that its “Vringos” — shared video ringtones – can now be sent and received by phones running the J2ME (Java Micro Edition) platform. The announcement closely follows the world’s first demonstrations of Vringo at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona and at DEMO in Palm Springs in February, using the Symbian platform. In both its existing Symbian and new Java implementations, Vringo is also the first mobile phone application to automatically play the specific video ringtone (out of many shared clips) associated with the caller.
Beating industry predictions by more than a year, Vringo’s J2ME release now extends the service’s reach from the Symbian/Nokia and Windows Mobile/PDA platforms to Sony-Ericsson and Motorola phones, among others. The wider range of handsets opens up the U.S. market to the viral, youth-oriented service.
In a new, more socially interactive model than that of previous video and even audio ringtones, Vringos are associated with a person, not a phone. Each two-to-fifteen-second Vringo video clip is sent out to entertain a receiving Vringo buddy, not “rung” on the user’s own incoming calls. Clips can be purchased, downloaded for free, or shot on users’ own phones. Frequently changed and passed around the mobile social network, Vringos let subscribers share their enthusiasm for a great singer/movie/sports figure, a memory, a moment caught on the phone’s camera, or simply share a laugh, à la YouTube.
“When we demoed on Symbian and Windows Mobile, people loved the idea. They said, ‘This is great stuff, but get back to us when you have Java working,’” said Jon Medved, Vringo CEO. “That’s because the great majority of ringtone consumers carry J2ME feature phones. Most of them also said that it would take years for our application to run on Java, and I think we’ve blown people away by getting it done so quickly.”
The Vringo application — now in beta and to be marketed to carriers as a managed service — will be demonstrated at the JavaOne conference May 8-11 at the Moscone center in San Francisco.
With the J2ME hurdle cleared, Vringo releases for additional Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung and LG phones are due soon. The company continues to work on expanding the Vringo feature set to enable more and more users to “Vringo” to the limit of every handset’s capability.
Vringo is the world’s first video ringtone sharing community. Co-founded in 2006 by venture capitalist Jon Medved, now CEO, and mobile software expert David Goldfarb, now CTO, Vringo’s management team comes from leading companies such as Comverse, NMS Communications, Siemens, IDT, Earthlink and Shopping.com. Vringo’s Chairman of the Board, Dan Ciporin, was CEO and Chairman of Shopping.com, sold to eBay for $620 million. Vringo is backed by private investors.