Startup delivers Web videos to cell phones
EmptySAN FRANCISCO -- Watching a variety of Web videos on cell phones could get easier on Monday when a California startup officially launches a new service that lets users design video channel lineups for on-the-go entertainment.
Sunnyvale-based mywaves Inc. has been attracting more than 20,000 new users a week since it quietly released the test version of its service in October, according to the company.
CNN news clips and YouTube videos are among the content that would be accessible through the mywaves service, which works across wireless carriers with high-speed data networks. The service is free, but users must have a data plan with their cell phone carrier and pay related data-traffic fees.
Google Inc.-owned YouTube has a deal with Verizon Wireless to feature its content through Verizon's V Cast multimedia service. But Mywaves aims to give users of any carrier the flexibility to choose from publicly available, free video content from across the Web.
The company says the service, which uses a Java-based software program, works with most video-capable mobile phones. An exception would be some smart phones that don't yet support Java-based Web applications and video streaming.
Selecting a video channel to go on a personal mywaves mobile program guide takes a few button clicks. After downloading mywaves to their phones, users can browse a directory of video channels that other users of the service already have posted publicly.
A "channel" might be a link to online video sites or a specific line of YouTube videos, such as the popular "Ask a Ninja" or "lonelygirl15."
Personal videos taken on a cell phone could also be uploaded to mywaves and broadcast to others, or kept on a private channel which the creator could make viewable to others by invitation-only.
From their cell phones, users could check out videos they've placed in their mywaves channel guide. Mywaves also will send text-message notifications of any updated video content if the user wants to know when there's something new to watch.
While other video-sharing services are facing copyright lawsuits for making some videos accessible, mywaves founder and CEO Rajeev Raman said he is confident the mywaves service is legal.
Mywaves developed a Web-based video syndication system to stream video clips from the Internet to cell phones using Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, a technology commonly used by bloggers or other Web sites to distribute content across the Internet.
A growing number of companies are capitalizing on so-called user-generated video entertainment on sites such as YouTube and looking to deliver video content to mobile gadgets.
But none besides mywaves has produced a wide-ranging video package with such an easy-to-use channel format, said Ben Bajarin, an industry analyst at technology consulting firm Creative Strategies.
"It's a fresh way to deliver Internet content to a mobile phone," Bajarin said. "But it's very difficult to do what they've done. No one is pushing the mobile barrier like this with user-generated content."