Xumii coming to iPhone by end of year

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Xumii coming to iPhone by end of year

Aussie startup service Xumii will be available for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry within six weeks, and the iPhone by the end of the year.

Xumii is a free mobile service that lets people aggregate contacts and feeds from multiple social networks and instant messaging services into one place. It is seen as an early example of how to effectively mobilise social networks.

Although currently a J2EE application, Xumii CEO Jennifer Zanich revealed the start-up's plans for the service to be operational on more devices, including the iPhone, by the end of 2008.

“Xumii will be a native application for the iPhone,” Zanich told iTnews.

Xumii has recently entered a public beta phase for the service. Zanich said they already have 'hundreds' of beta testers, but others are welcome to join.

“We’re not going to actively start scaling out the beta until later this year,” said Zanich.

Xumii has a target audience of 18-30 year olds. Typically, people in this age group find it hard to stay in contact with their friends on multiple social networks, she said.

“These people often have between 200 and 600 friends across their networks. Xumii gives them one contacts book so they can see who is available and who they can message right now,” said Zanich.

Xumii claims it is also the first to introduce the concept of 'mobile walls'.

These are applications that can be added to your personal profile on social networks like Facebook. Messages posted to the wall are then reflected on the user’s mobile phone.

Although the wall is mobile, friends can post to it from their phones, desktop, or any other device they use to access the social networking site.

“Mobile is great but you have to give people more options because they could spend six hours or more a day at a desktop computer,” explained Mike Uomoto, VP Product at Xumii.

The entertainment industry is emerging as a key user of mobile walls. Operating similarly to Myspace cages, commercial businesses can set up a wall for a movie or band; add friends and post tour dates and other information. This is a key monetisation opportunity for Xumii.

The service is also gaining attention from tier two and three social communities, which view Xumii as an 'easier way to mobilise their communities' according to Zanich.

Uomoto said the average Xumii user session is between 50 and 80 Kilobytes if the user sticks to messaging and chat. However, users typically access the service 'multiple times per day'.

“Accessing photos will soak up more bandwidth, but we only download thumbnails to keep the service lightweight and efficient,” added Uomoto.

Xumii recently relocated its headquarters to San Francisco, but maintains a 15-strong engineering and development team in Sydney.

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