Surf the Mobile Web Faster
By Eric Lin, Fri Jun 04 00:00:00 GMT 2004

Yesterday we contradicted Mako Analysis, pointing out that carriers are taking advantage of smartphones' increased power to offer new applications that will keep users on their portals. Today Motion Bridge unveils a shining example.

Siemens-funded start-up Motion Bridge has announced a new application that promises to make web surfing less painful for mobile users. PC World incorrectly calls the product a mobile-optimized search engine. Motion Bridge is actually a way for users to reach their browsing destination faster and with fewer key presses.

Motion Bridge comes in two flavors. The more accessible variety is a web application that works with either WAP or i-Mode browsers. Users are given a text box (which looks like a search box and probably caused PC World's confusion). By typing in a desired page like "sports" or "Amazon" or even typing a T9-esque approximation of the destination (e.g. 776787 for sports), users are taken directly directly to that page, preferably within the carrier's portal.

The more exclusive, but more powerful version of Motion Bridge is a Series 60 application. The application contains a dictionary of preferred as well as popular destinations. As the user types in the destination letter by letter, the list grows shorter, so after only a few key presses he can scroll down to the page name and click to go there. This powerful version sneakily updates the dictionary every time the user goes to a web page from the application, keeping it up to date with the carrier's latest pages as well as the most popular outside destinations.

Both versions enhance usability and give a carrier's portal preferred placement, increasing the likelyhood that users will stay inside the garden. Eventually Motion Bridge is looking at extending the application beyond carrier portals, offering it to brand name sites to enhance their mobile experience. An application specifically for Amazon or a content portal like Zingy could shortchange the carrier on affiliate revenues. Motion Bridge currently gives carriers an advantage, but it could become a double-edged sword.