Touching on the latest mobile email application from AxisMobile,  I had a chance to conduct an interview that lasted approximately 30 minutes with Mr Shai Schiller, CEO of Axis Mobile, Ms Stacy Fassberg,  Vice President of Marketing and Mr Keren Krojen, Technical Project Manager.

During the course of the interview, Mr Schiller introduced the company to me, summarised the gist found on the first page of this article. Currently, AxisMobile has approximately 1.7 billion subscribers worldwide.

Simplemail™

am3 Interview with Mr Shai Schiller, CEO Axis Mobile

Introduction

Simplemail™ is is revolutionary mobile email application that allows users to recieve and send email from mobile phones intuitively, the application has the ability to handle various format of files ranging form .doc, .jpg, .zip, .arj, .rar and more. The email will first be processed by Simplemail at the server side, handling and decoding all the documents as when needed. The email will then be transmitted to the user in the form of a simplified text message, and attachments will be still be present, giving users the option to download them if necessary. Compressed file such as .zip and .rar will be transcoded and users can open the files like a folder and download individual files accordingly.

Why?

Most mobile phones in the market nowadays do not have the ability to handle most emails properly, as they are usually sent in the form of word documents or rich text documents together with attachments. Mr Schiller touched on the various intuitive capabilities that is built into Simple Mail, such as the ability to deduce the mobile phone that the recieving end is using and thus translate the email content into the appropriate format. As mentioned earlier, SimpleMail supports various interfaces such as J2ME, WAP, IMAP4, MMS and SMS.

A brief scenario. A sends an email to B in a Microsoft Word document complete with a zip file that contain pictures and B wants to recieve the email on his MMS enabled phone. The email is routed through SimpleMail’s application server, from which the server will deduce the mail format in which the phone is can handle (in this case, we shall take MMS as an example), and from there, SimpleMail will simplify the Word document into a simple text file and the zip file will be attached. None of the attached pictures in the zip file will be downloaded unless the user chooses to open the file from his mobile. Even so, the picture will be scaled down in size to minimize the data trasfer required, hence saving costs.

Will it be Expensive?

Mr Schiller also talked about the costs of implementing such a solution in the local market. Typically, Mobile operators in Europe will charge about 3-5 Euros depending on the take-up rate of the service in the respective countries, and over in the United States, operators will charge users about USD3-5 instead. Mr Schiller forsees that the application will cost users less than SGD10 if mobile operators were to implement this service in Singapore and other parts of the region.

Most mobile users will wonder why should they pay for such a service? Isn’t email something that has been free since the longest time? SimpleMail makes use of its technology to help you transcode emails accordingly. Imagine downloading emails with garbled up content just because your mobile phone doesn’t have the ability to read them properly, and downloading heaps of data via GPRS because your peers sent you a 2MB 5mega-pixel picture file, not forgetting the waiting time incurred. Your mobile phone will most probably crash due to insufficient memory before you may even see the picture!

The Future

Mr Schiller forsees that mobile email will become as common as the SMS service in time to come, with the increased demand in multimedia content. At the same time, Mr Schiller also demonstrated one of the picture transmission software that AxisMobile has been working on. Taking a picture on your mobile phone will result it being instantly transmitted to up to 5 image hosting websites such as flickr, imageavenue or photobucket! It isn’t even necessary for you to manually send the pictures via a web interface. Kudos to AxmisMobile for a whole slew of web innovations and I certainly hope that there are many to come from them!

Many thanks to Mr Edward Lim from Ciza Concepts for arranging this interview and Mr Schiller, Ms Stacy Fassberg, Vice President of Marketing and Mr Keren Krojen, Technical Project Manager for granting me the chance to conduct this interview.