Categories
Devices

Do you remember Pogo Mobile?

Link: BBC News | SCI/TECH | Pogo to the future.

A small British technology firm is launching a gadget that it says could make third-generation networks obsolete before they are switched on.

Pogo Technology says its mobile device can browse the web at speeds comparable to those achievable by computer modems.

_1617884_pogopogo300I remember being quite excited at this news, way back from 2001. This BBC article I’ve quoted was published on the 25th October 2001.

A LONG time ago.  5 years, actually.  But that’s about 100 mobile industry years.

Pogo would allow you to browse the Internet over GPRS and use it as a normal phone too, plus it would let you listen to music.  Reasonably revolutionary stuff at the time.  100 hours standby, four to six hours of talk/music listening time, apparently.  The company’s website was www.pogo-tech.com which doesn’t appear operational any longer.

I recall meeting with some people from Pogo to discuss including some of the content from one of our community websites on it.  I think, from memory, they might have launched them with Carphone Warehouse.   I was really quite excited at the possibility of everyone getting hold of these — I could really see the potential.  I was really bored of standard mobile phone devices.  There was next to no decent innovation going on at that point. 

One of the chaps showed me the device working.  It was a pretty good experience.  (Think Nokia 770 tablet.)   And also remember that it’s 2001 and I had probably just managed to hook up my Ipaq via IR to my chunky handset to check my email.  (It used to take minutes and minutes to check your mail, it really did… )   So it was pretty cool seeing our website load up in the palm of this guy’s hand whilst we were sat outside at the bar opposite the Pogo HQ. 

NO WIRES! 😉

The Pogo device used some proprietary compression protocols to make Internet via GPRS worthwhile:

Tim Critchley, one of the founders of Pogo Technology, said this system meant data flies around at the equivalent of 50kbps – almost the same speed as the fastest computer modems.

This shows you how advanced the concept was.  Way back then most people were accessing the Internet with 56k modems.  GPRS was totally flakey.  I’d only just managed to get a permanent Internet connection installed in my flat.  Broadband was round the corner.  Heh. Memories.

Here’s a VNU review quote: 

It seems to work. Web pages that might take 10-20 seconds to download using other wireless palmtops appear on the Pogo’s screen moments after they’re requested. However, receiving them at all seems to be a hit-and-miss affair. Regularly during tests in and around our central London offices, the Pogo lost its mobile signal in mid session.

I’m willing to bet that this was nothing to do with the Pogo – but it was the crap mobile signal around London screwing things up.  You definitely had to stand in one place to get a good signal.

Specifications:
320 x 240-pixel colour display
Dual-band GSM phone
16Mb memory
Dimensions: 150mm diagonal, 24mm deep; weight 243g
Includes Macromedia Flash 4 plug-in and MP3-playing software.

Here’s the Pogo Tech site in 2001, thanks to the Internet Archive:

Picture_1_27

And here it is by 2003:

Picture_3_11

If you click on the thumbnail there you’ll see pictures of what looks like a next generation Pogo — called the "nvoy":

We have therefore developed the nVoy Communicatorâ„¢, a complete integrated solution providing features such as a rich messaging client supporting SMS, MMS and Email (including Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL mail), Instant Messaging, full Internet Browsing, Camera and PIM functionality.

It looks funky!   Ahh.. such a shame nothing appeared to come of it.  It was possibly way ahead of its time. 

If you’ve any Pogo related memories or news, post it here or whack me a mail.  I’d like to know what happened!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

7 replies on “Do you remember Pogo Mobile?”

I had one of those… and I thought it was great. Great design and great fun but it looked like it was aimed at the youth market who had no money.

It was out just before the xda which was shiney and slick but I can see the vision for the pogo. It could have been a major player in the mp3 arena but it focused on the net because everyone was talking about 3g etc.

What a pity it didn’t work out because for a first version of a product I think it was great.

Maybe people don’t do funky when it comes to mobiles….?

hi!
please help me !
I want buy a pogo mobile but it has discontinuted.
anyone known information about pogo please send to me.thanks all

I had a few Pogos, including the next generation nVoy – that was very sexy (sadly I was not allowed to keep one).

And, yes James, I do still have an original Pogo. If I can find a charger and someone with an old SIM I might even be able to fire it up. I do also have the pc adapter (podulator/pogulator?), though it would be a challenge to gather all the right software to encrypt and upload new Flash (4) files to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo_Mobile_and_nVoy

i remember selling quite a few of these back in the day as a sales exec for cpw and part of the data support team for the company. the pogo was a fantastic bit of kit and was easily as fast to use as modern mobile browsers. CPW I think ended up buying it to try and keep the company afloat. The tech I believe was powered by dedicated servers which optimized the web content before it was sent over the mobile network. It was ace for pub quizzes and had a couple of quirky games to boot. It was lights years ahead of its time and i think if it was in more conventional packaging would have been the eureka moment for mobile web browsing. RIP pogo.

I've still got one of these in a box of old bits and pieces. It only works if it's left plugged in now as the battery has had it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.