A company called Bango is trying to make it easier to get content onto your mobile phone.
On Thursday, the company, which specializes in providing back-end technology for mobile Web sites, introduced a link that users can put on regular Web pages to link their content to mobile phones.
The Bango Button, which is free for download on the company's Web site, is designed to be used with blogs and social-networking sites. The way it works is that a user puts the icon or "button" on a Facebook page, which then enables friends who visit the page to get photos, music clips, or other files that appear on that page on their handsets.
Bango formats the regular-size Web pictures for mobile phones. But it also allows users to link directly to a mobilized version of a Web site. Content providers can charge mobile consumers for the content they download, or they can make it available for free.
Bango Buttons should work on any cell phone that can access the mobile Web and allows downloads. Andrew Bovingdon, vice president of product marketing for Bango, said that most phones from most U.S. carriers, with the exception of Verizon Wireless, should work with Bango Buttons. Unfortunately, Verizon blocks many of its phones from downloading content from the mobile Web, which means that the Bango Button won't work.
Today finding content on a mobile phone is cumbersome and clunky. The way most people find ringtones or other content to download is to send a message to an SMS text code. The Bango button greatly simplifies that process, but it's not the ideal answer to making the Web more accessible on handsets.
Most Web sites accessed on a mobile device are simply stripped-down versions of regular Web sites. And the experience for users who surf these pages or try to find content on the mobile Web is excruciatingly painful. And the problem isn't likely to go away over night.
Apple has greatly improved the Web-surfing experience on its iPhone, which renders real Web pages on a full browser and lets people blow up images on the touch screen to read them. And Google with its new Android software and Open Handset Alliance also promises to improve Web surfing on handsets. But with nearly 3 billion cell phone subscribers in the world, it will be a long time before most people have access to handsets with better user interfaces or mobile browsers.
Bango's Bovingdon agrees that the mobile Web has a long way to go, but he says Bango's solution can serve as an interim solution.
"Eventually, I think the experience will be more like what we get on the PC," he said. "But we're not there yet. For right now, the Bango Button can help people find and download content they want today."