From the monthly archives: September 2008

iphone-app First the big news – Yes, we have an iPhone app!

The Fonolo iPhone application lets you search our database of companies, navigate their phone menus and deep dial, all from your iPhone. (Deep dialing means you skip the phone menu and connect directly to the point you want.)

To make the call, you just tap the spot on the menu that you want. Fonolo then makes the call to the company, navigates to their menu, and calls you back.  When you answer, Fonolo connects your call to the company.

Good things about Fonolo-on-iPhone:

1) It feels natural: The navigation is “iPhone style”. That is, you navigate a phone menu the same way you navigate your music library artist-to-album-to-song. I believe you’ll find yourself thinking “Of course this is how phone menus should work on my iPhone”.

2) One less step: Unlike Fonolo-on-the-web, we don’t need to prompt you for a phone number since we know you are on your iPhone.

3) Smooth integration with the calling process: When the call you’ve requested comes in, the iPhone switches to “phone mode” letting you talk and use the keypad normally. When you end the call, iPhone takes you back to the Fonolo app where you left off.

Bad things about Fonolo-on-iPhone:

1) It’s not on App Store yet.

Sadly, we are in the same boat as many other iPhone developers in being at the mercy of Apple’s review process. There’s already been lots of complaining about that process, but I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon because I think there’s merit in their approach. The trade-off for a slow review process is that approved applications will be “well behaved”. That in turn leads to confidence among users that it is safe to experiment with different applications and that, in my opinion, is worth the price we’re paying as developers. I have my fingers crossed that we will be on the App Store quickly.

Winning at Mobilize
We were very lucky to unveil our application at the Mobilize conference, put on for the first time by the talented folks at GigaOm. I hope Mobilize becomes a regular event because I found it to be an excellent show: Top notch speakers and panels; A very savvy crowd which was a good mix of start-ups, big industry and VC; plus a beautiful venue (UCSF’s Mission Bay Center).

My favorite part of the show was the Launchpad event in which we participated and ultimately won. Here’s the video which includes a demonstration of Fonolo on the iPhone:

The judges for the event:

  • Ryan Block, Editor, GDGT.com
  • Tim Chang, Principal, Norwest Venture Partners
  • Nagraj Kashyap, Sr. Director, Qualcomm Ventures
  • James Kendrick, jkOnTheRun

image

After the presentation, judges get a minute to make comments à la American Idle. I can’t really remember that part, because it was all a blur, but according to GigaOm’s coverage:

Kashyap said: “I love the app, this is the first thing I’m going to do when I get home.”  and Block said: “I want to give that guy a hug.”

Wow! Thanks.

Some additional coverage

TechCrunch: Fonolo Joins The Growing Arsenal Against Phone Tree Hell
Top iPhone News: Fonolo for iPhone makes navigating phone menus a snap
iPhone Buzz: Fonolo for iPhone makes navigating phone menus a snap
Mobile Syrup: Fonolo wins Judges’ Prize at Mobilize 2008
Jon Arnold: Fonolo – Top Pick by Judges at Mobilize

 

Well I’m back from a brief blogging break. (Those of you who know me know the good reason why!)

image A couple weeks ago I did an interview with CBC’s Nora Young, for her show, "Spark". It was aired last week and you can catch the podcast here

 

imageNext week I’ll be on the west coast to present at two conferences. First, will be ITExpo, in Los Angeles. Conference organizer Rich Tehrani has a post here with a preview of the show and links to audio interviews he’s conducted with many of the presenters.

 

image Second is GigaOm’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco. This is the first year Mobilize is running but given the caliber of the people running it, I’m sure it will be a great event. Fonolo was selected as one of 13 companies for their "Launchpad". We’ll have a pretty exciting announcement there so stay tuned.