Today, Nokia announced its acquisition of a small social media and media sharing platform company called Twango, which was founded by former Microsofters. While expensive (sources report the cost of nearly $100 Million), the acquisition has the potential to be a monumental game changer for Nokia. Regardless, it is a step in the right direction for the mobile industry.
Twango lets users seamlessly and easily share media across devices and software platforms. Twango provides a good explanation on its website:
Imagine sending a photo to Twango, then having it appear on your blog or Web site in moments and notifying your viewers—automatically. Imagine a group of friends traveling together and creating a shared media experience for those back home with nothing more than their camera phones. We also imagined that, and now those are features on our site. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Multimedia, Nokia sees the acquisition as furthering Nokia’s mission of connecting people:
The Twango acquisition is a concrete step towards our Internet services vision of providing seamless access to information, entertainment, and social networks – at anytime, anywhere, from any connected device, in any way that you choose. We have the most complete suite of connected multimedia experiences including music, navigation, games, and – with the Twango acquisition – photos, videos, and a variety of document types. When you combine a Nokia Nseries multimedia computer that is always on, always connected, and always with you together with a rich media sharing destination like Twango, people will have exciting new ways to create and enjoy rich media experiences in real time.
Mobile OEMs are looking for innovative ways to integrate mobile handheld and PC experiences, leverage web technologies on the handset, increase wireless data consumption, and improve connections between mobile users. With 2.5 G and early 3G phones, email was one of the most effective ways to do all of these things, but today, email on mobile phones is ubiquitous, and tech-savvy consumers are and will continue looking for more. Seamless sharing of media and social networking on phones and PCs is the next frontier.
I suspect that just like the key OEM acquisitions of email technologies earlier this year and in late 2006 (i.e. Nokia’s acquisition of Intellisync, Motorola’s acquisition of Good), there it won’t be long before we see more acquisitions in this space. By way of example, Sharpcast seems like one of the next likely acquisition targets. It lacks a social networking facility, but with all of the other mobile and PC-based social networking options out there, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.