Feeds

HipLogic tries to fan mobile spark

Wrapping it up like it's 2005

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

HipLogic's latest shell replacement, Spark, is trying to bring a consistent experience to Symbian and Android handsets, paid for through sponsored content and harvesting of user's data.

Spark is a home screen replacement that provides news feeds, social networking and such like, controlled by HipLogic and sponsored by Sky News (in the UK). The premise isn't new, but HipLogic is trying to create a new way of making it pay.

Shell replacements were terribly fashionable for a while, around five or six years ago, when network operators got very excited about "branding the user experience". And smartphones seemed to offer them the technology to do so. Dozens of companies popped up to provide such platforms, generally XML-rendering packages with some JavaScript support which were hawked to network operators as a way of keeping customers loyal and reinforcing brands, but most have now disappeared as manufacturers decided they wanted their own brands front-and-centre. HipLogic's Spark is much the same thing, only without the network operator being willing to pay for it.

But since then mobile advertising has become a big thing, and HipLogic reckons it can pay for the whole experience by controlling the advertising and harvesting user information: "Once our platform is installed we know everything that happens on that phone," CEO Mark Anderson told us. Though the company isn't collecting that data right now, it is ready to do so, he said.

That's not the only feature that is still under development – aggregation of location services and sports news will apparently come next year, though Nokia stumped up the cash for a decent Twitter client to be integrated into the Symbian version at launch so it might be worth installing for that reason alone. Not that there aren't other reasons – the interface is pretty enough, and making it slide in sections rather than a screen at a time is an obvious innovation that others would be wise to emulate.

Hiplogic Screen shot

But you are limited to what HipLogic reckons you need, as the company has no intention of opening its platform to third parties. Anderson told us: "There's only ever a need to have 12 widgets, and we're providing them".

HipLogic already provides the application store for Carphone Warehouse, and we'd be unsurprised to see Spark turning up as a shell replacement for second-tier network operators, but to get users interested in downloading and installing another layer of software seems optimistic, even if Rupert Murdoch (owner of Sky) is willing to pay for it. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.