Vodafone today announced the launch of Vodafone 360 - a new suite of internet services for the mobile and PC - in a bid to fend off stiff competition from Apple, Google and Nokia.
Vodafone 360 brings together all of a users' contacts, status updates and messaging services in one place enhancing the use of social media, the company said. Users will have integrated contacts, music, photos and mapping services and can share their favourite music choices and even their physical location, how and when they choose, with their chosen groups of friends.
The service is automatically backed up and synchronised, regularly and wirelessly, between the mobile and PC or Mac. All contacts updates, emails, photos and conversation history or settings changes made either at home or when on the move are saved, keeping all the content up-to-date.
"Vodafone 360 is the first service of its kind to offer customers the benefits of a truly integrated mobile internet experience that gathers all their contacts and content, all around them, in one place," said Pieter Knook, Director of Internet Services at Vodafone Group.
"The beauty of Vodafone 360 is that all the services work together and they are easy to use. Vodafone 360 enables customers? digital lives. Customers can stay in touch and share experiences through social networks, instant messaging, email, apps, maps, music and buying digital content on their mobile bill, with the personalised address book at its heart."
The service brings together all contacts and content in one place and offering users immediate access to their various contacts across different networking sites ? all the latest information updates including Facebook status updates and the ability to chat through Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk.
Users will be able to create different contact groups across social media networks, allowing them to organise their contacts the way they want and manage how they share different information with different groups.
The 'connected' address book is synchronised between a users' phone and the web and they can easily recover their phone contacts if they change or lose mobile.
Various Apps will be available at launch to different handsets, downloadable through the Vodafone Shop, the company said.
Non-Vodafone users will also be able to access some of the range of services, linking them to their social networks via mobile.
The Vodafone 360 suite of services has been designed and developed by Vodafone. At launch the full Vodafone 360 experience will be available on two exclusive handsets built to Vodafone?s specification by Samsung. The Vodafone 360 H1 by Samsung boasts a 3.5" multitouch, high definition OLED screen, 16GB memory, WiFi, a maximum talk time of over 400 minutes (3G) and a 5 megapixel camera. It will be followed shortly by a second Samsung handset, offering customers a range of colours and price points.
At launch four Nokia Symbian smartphones will come pre-loaded with Vodafone 360 and part or all of the service will be downloadable to over one hundred popular phones. In the coming months Vodafone will be making the service available through as wide a selection of handsets and operating systems from multiple manufacturers as possible.
The 2009 launch (by Christmas) in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK will be followed by launches in a number of other countries in 2010, including India, Turkey, South Africa, New Zealand and Romania and in France through SFR. through MTS in Russia, and through Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
The focus of the cell phone market has been shifting to software development since Google and Apple entered the mobile market, with phone vendors and operators increasingly looking for open-source alternatives such as LiMo to cut costs.