Wrapping up today's pitch sessions at the Under the Radar Mobility conference are four companies focusing on the platform, also known as "how to get things on your phone." It's one of the deepest levels of the mobile space, and also one of the most nebulous and hard to explain.
mPortico (whose name is not to be confused with a pizza place near CNET's San Francisco headquarters) creates the technology for branded memory cards people can stick in their mobile phones that has embedded games, applications, and video content. These cards end up on retail store shelves that anyone can buy and plug in without having to deal with navigating to Web sites or download huge files while on the go. To help save the content from being shared openly, the company has employed a proprietary DRM system.
To get cards to the shelves, mPortico has partnered with Kingston, Universal, and I-Play mobile gaming. Kingston actually makes the memory cards, while mPortico takes care of the rest.
The judges questioned mPortico's move toward solid state storage as a medium instead of going for Web downloads, which mPortico's CEO Shimon Constante noted as offering higher capacities for slower mobile networks while offering consumers a useful piece of storage they can use when they're done with it.Remotv is a streaming platform that serves up your home content to remote devices. It has a desktop application that you can install on your computer to access your content from anywhere similar to Orb, Simplify Media, and others. They've also got a Facebook app that lets people access their stuff and share it with others. To actually make money off this, Remotv has an integrated directory of content made by both users and content providers that gets mixed with contextual advertisements.
What sets Remotv apart from its competitors is its centralized server system that will take media from your home machine and serve it up to others without sucking up your bandwidth. One of the weaknesses about most other services that offer media sharing is if the machine with your content goes down or has too many people leeching, the system falls apart.
One of the companies making a buzz today was Tilefile, which specializes in a "content neutral format." This means no matter what type of media you've got, it can be viewed in what the company coins as a "tile." The service works both ways, letting users share content they've taken on their phone and view items posted by other folks from their desktop or handset. It's also got a really slick-looking desktop and mobile app that gives users a huge feed of content that can be viewed on a big grid of tiles.
Besides having a really cool-looking demo, the company was also getting some buzz with this morning's announcement that Motorola invested in them. In the long term, they're trying to develop a way to integrate premium content into the mix. They're also working on a white label version that can be skinned and branded to match your site or service.
Vollee is a mobile gaming service that takes full retail games for PC and consoles and ports them over to mobile handsets--the type of games that real gaming enthusiasts tend to scoff at, but are absolutely wonderful when you're away from a bona fide gaming machine. What makes Vollee interesting is that they do all the hardware crunching on their end, serving up a better-looking game that streams through a 3G mobile connection. They use special tweaks to reduce any control latency and use H.264 encoding to make the content as small as possible.
This system works really well if you've got a stable connection, but falls apart when you hit dead spots, unlike the typical locally stored and processed titles.
Besides making money off subscription fees (which gives users all-you-can eat gaming joy), Vollee is also serving up contextually relevant ads and game suggestions based on what you're playing. The company is hoping to port all sorts of games to handsets, including subscription-based games like of Second Life and World of Warcraft.