Companies are starting to figure out that the contact information on your mobile phone may be the most important social network you have – perhaps even better than the email inbox that Yahoo is targeting.Danish startup ZYB started offering a service that simply backed up your mobile phone contacts to the web in mid-2006. A year later they turned all that data into a mobile social network. They’re one of the small startups with a real shot at mobile social network with critical mass. As of August 2007 they had 200,000 active users.
It’s no surprise, then, that ZYB is being emulated. Israeli startup NewACT, with $6.5 million in funding over two rounds from Cedar Fund, are launching a new service called SYNCY into beta today. The service lets users migrate contacts, calendars and media from a mobile phone to the web. It’s part ZYB, part Sharpcast.
While Syncy supports over 700 handset models, the iPhone isn’t one, so I took it out for a spin by installing it on a SonyEricsson phone. The feature that won me over was the ability to get immediate Web access to the photos and videos I’ve takes of our kids using the phone. Incidentally, the last time I had digital copies of such files was when I switched handsets. That’s when I had no choice but borrow a cable and install Nokia’s phone management application—by far, not a user-friendly proposition to access “everyday media”.
Syncy’s handset client is simple to operate and once syncing is configured to run automatically, it’s smooth sailing from there onwards. There’s also an Outlook plug-in which synchronizes contacts and events (Exchange is not required). Google calendar integration will be available shortly.
NewACT claims that Syncy is the only service to offer cross-phone synchronization. Meaning, you can sync a Nokia phone then stick the SIM in a Motorola phone and Syncy’s server will reformat and readapt the data to fit the exact data structures of your new phone.