Microsoft announced Microsoft OneApp, a new software application that enables feature phones — commonly found in emerging markets — to access mobile apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger, and other apps and games.
OneApp complements Microsoft’s existing mobile strategy by bringing mobile apps and services to feature phones in emerging markets. Launching first with Blue Label Telecoms in South Africa, OneApp will be used as part of the new and upcoming release of its mibli consumer mobile service. As a result of a strategic relationship with Blue Label Telecoms, mibli, powered by Microsoft OneApp, will ship with more than a dozen new mobile apps. Additional apps will be available in the future, focusing on areas such as healthcare. Consumers in South Africa can download and install mibli for free.
“We believe mobile technology plays a pivotal role in addressing people’s everyday needs and creating new opportunities for local industry to grow. We are excited to announce our first release of Microsoft OneApp with Blue Label Telecoms,” said Amit Mital, corporate vice president of the Unlimited Potential Group and Startup Business Accelerator at Microsoft. “Microsoft OneApp will be able to help people do things they couldn’t do before with their feature phone — anything from paying their bills to helping diagnose their health issues or just staying connected with friends and family.”
OneApp was designed from the ground up to enable mobile apps to be accessed by feature phones with limited memory and processing capability. For customers, OneApp appears on their phone as a single application where they can then easily access all of their mobile apps. The OneApp lightweight on-phone footprint of just 150 KB makes the initial installation easy and fast. It dynamically launches just the parts of a mobile app that a person wants to use, eliminating additional installation time and the need for a person to store all of the mobile apps on the phone. OneApp includes cloud services that help offload processing and storage from the phone to the Internet, improving overall performance. The application uses data networks efficiently to reduce data access charges.
“With a GPRS-enabled cell phone, consumers can now be part of the app experience, which is taking the world by storm,” said Mark Levy, joint CEO of Blue Label Telecoms. “While this opens up a whole new world of opportunity for any and all users, advertisers and developers, we’re particularly excited by the technology’s capacity to transform nearly any cell phone into a highly sophisticated, cost-effective and user-friendly transactional device.”