Don’t worry, roam happy
Congratulations go to Onavo, an Israeli startup that just received two awards at the Next Web Startup Rally in Amsterdam last week: the “public’s choice” and “best mobile company” prizes. Onavo makes a simple iPhone app that compresses the data – up to two to three times, according to company founder Guy Rosen – that’s sent from the phone to the cellular network. Smaller data means the iPhone owners pay less for their data package.
At the event, the press was all about how Onavo’s app can help reduce iPhone “roaming” costs when accessing email and the Internet abroad, away from one’s primary cellular provider, but the concept works just as well at home too.
A year ago, no one would have wanted a product like Onavo. That’s because most cellular companies offered “unlimited” data plans. That’s changed, however, and the “pay as you go” formula now dominates. So, if you can get more data for the same price, Onavo is the right app at the right time. So much so that the influential blog TechCrunch it as a “must download” according to a report in Ynet.
And did I mention, it’s free?
How about the cell companies – doesn’t this work against their interests by reducing their revenue? Onavo founder Rosen doesn’t think so. Citing the roaming advantage again, Rosen hopes that by making it cheaper to fire up your phone overseas, people will use it more. And back at home, the cellular providers are facing some serious network overload. Anything to help should be welcomed, Rosen explained.
I know that one of the most exciting features of smart phones for me is the ability to play Internet radio wherever I am not just on my home computer or in a WiFi zone. The death of the unlimited access packages made that less affordable. Onavo brings the option back.
Onavo beat out some 500 companies for its award at the Next Web conference a week ago.