Feeds

HipLogic tries to fan mobile spark

Wrapping it up like it's 2005

Website security in corporate America

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
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
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
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
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.