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A company called Apeera has a vision. It wants to help operators to create a vast mobile phone peer-to-peer (P2P) network. The start-up's application management system is still in its early stages of development, so there's some way to go before vision is turned into reality.

We caught up with the company to explore its plans.
As we surmised last week, the Apeera approach is a centralised data clipboard, which lets users share data, rather than a true P2P network, where data goes directly between phones.

Adrian Bisaz, Vice President of Marketing at Apeera, said this distinction would not be apparent to end users.

"A subscriber would connect onto a server managed and hosted by a service provider to share application and files, but a customer wouldn't see that. Physically a ring-tone or game wouldn't live on a handset but virtually it would appear that way," he explained.

Apeera is promoting the sharing of applications between mobile users while enabling operators to control distribution.

Users can share applications such as mobile games (a key market opportunity), pictures, cartoons or personal files with their friends and colleagues via their handset, which the recipient will be free to accept or decline.

If users accept an application or game, operators get a notice of this and a charge is made. Operators can enable or disable apps using Apeera tools which incorporate digital rights management technology.

The technology creates an infrastructure for viral marketing and makes it simpler for users to load games or application, accepted from a friend after only pushing a button, rather than the alternative more lengthy process of available with current technology.

Apeera's system also offers mobile operators with a means to boost traffic on their networks.

The company is talking to operators about licensing its technology and Bisaz expects early adopters to begin offering it to customers by the beginning of next year.

Spending by telecoms operators is suffering because of mounting debt and a slowdown in subscriber growth but Apeera believes its technology will help operators to boost revenue and will therefore prove popular.

Looking further ahead, Apeera is interesting in persuading handset manufacturers to bundle its technology with mobile phones, enabling phones to be customised and applications to be changed after handsets are shipped.

Apeera technology relies on the Java support available with latest generation of mobile phones, sales of which might be encouraged by its technology. ®

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