Is there a trend underway? Mobile startups everywhere are looking beyond cheap voice calls as generous minute packages have niched these players into providing cheap international long distance and not much more. Om Malik profiles several this morning, including the newly “rebooted” iSkoot.
The conditions are right for these companies. As first Apple, then Google, RIM, and Nokia all announced new mobile applications “stores”, the shackles imposed by carriers on software developers have gradually loosened. The iSkoots, Truphones and mig33’s of the world were formerly left to their own resources to gain distribution – cutting deals with carriers, or doing downloads over the air. Neither option is all that profitable, nor easy for the customer. The environment is now changing.
Having weathered the downturn with large cash reserves, these folks are now starting to deliver real value added service on top of the infrastructure they originally built to provide cheap calls. And with these fat cash reserves, they’re poised to capitalize on the economy as their less flush competitors experience the … ahem… downside of the “free” business model. It’s downright Darwinian.
A trend? Definitely.