509 Bridges the App Web Gap

5o9_logo_web_S.pngLast year I mentioned how 5o9 had developed a solution that allowed BlackBerry and Windows Mobile device location to be made available to web sites. Since then, things have progressed and they now offer a range of multi-platform tools for mobile developers.

5o9 told me that their view of the future is that for mobile to really take off the web has to know the end-user better. This means that web browsers need better access to phone features.

If you go to the 5o9 web site you can learn more. However, what it doesn’t say is how this technology works and how it might be integrated into your mobile solution… so I dug deeper.

The 5o9 solution is a simple mobile application that can share critical meta data (without the need to type it in) with any web app in the world. It works by extending the HTTP protocol with new customizable HTTP_X headers. At the server side the data is accessed via php, perl, asp or whatever you like. In addition, menus options can be added to the browser.

5o9 actually provides a set of complementary tools…

  • A web browser helper application that injects extra http headers containing phone information (location etc) into a http request, that can be read at the server. It also improves the UI of the browser to make it more contextually aware just like a mobile application. The web browser UI is also programmable from the web server side with existing server-side skill sets.
  • The simple application I mentioned is auto generated via the online ‘Maggie’ tool. You get the auto generated source code that allows you adapt (for example brand) it to your own needs. End users can install multiple mobile (Maggie generated) apps and they all communicate to the web server via the browser helper object.
  • JSAPI for Windows Mobile, Symbian and iPhone solutions allows you to write Javascript to access the device side capabilities. You can see how this works by going to http://www.5o9mm.com/jsapime.htm and do a view source.

The licensing model is currently free for Windows Mobile & BlackBerry. Customised versions for all platforms are available for $5k per platform (you get your own brand and specific data sets, plus more contextual menus). Real time encryption and content acceleration starts at $15k per server. If you are an ISP or MVNO and want a site license to install it on everything then they can accommodate that as well

Some people think that the future of mobile is the web. Until such time, technologies such as those offered by 5o9 can be used to bridge the gap.