It is frustrating when a lost phone leads to a loss of all contacts -- after all, this shouldn't be a problem with today's technology. Xumii changes this by announcing a first for cell phones -- a social address book. It makes quite the impression, and is another example of how important mobile technology is becoming.
What Does Xumii Do Exactly?
By using Xumii, users can now interact and socialize with any contact on any network -- social networks, instant messaging services and mobile carriers -- without worrying about having those contacts being required within the contact management system on any particular mobile device. In other words, contacts are no longer tethered to a single phone.
Chris Shipley, executive producer of DEMOfall 08 where Xumii announced their service, believes that the two biggest problems today are mobilizing and socializing a mobile social network:
"Xumii's social address book makes social tools easily accessible and serves as an onramp to next generation mobile messaging, without the hassle of multiple applications and networks to contact friends and see what they are doing. Social networks should embrace Xumii since it maintains the affiliation of their members and increases their engagement with their community anytime, anywhere."
These are a few of the key features that will be supported by Xumii:
* Social address book
* Mobile messaging
* Media sharing
* Group messaging
* Message walls
Think Facebook, Digsby, Meebo, Pownce and Twitter all mashed together into one solution. That would be a rough idea of what Xumii will allow users to accomplish.
The service is gambling on the notion that social networks will become popular on mobile devices, and that isn't much of a gamble at all considering the growth and expansion of mobile technology in recent years.
A recent eMarketer study of mobile phone users worldwide has stated that social network use on cell phones is expected to "rise dramatically" to 18.8% or 800 million users by 2012. Again, this is not much of a shock and the smart money is going to be investing in these types of technologies -- Xumii is no exception.
A Potential Winner With One Downfall
Xumii looks very promising. Contact management is a big deal nowadays, but mobile contacts can be a pain to manage. If Xumii is able to live up to expectations, it could be the start of something great that will actually be useful. However, if Xumii expects to really take off, the company needs to persuade phone manufacturers and telecommunication companies to support their service, as it is currently very limited.