Today Omnifone got a big break: They’re now going to be preinstalled on all new HP personal computers. I’ve been following Omnifone for a long time. They’ve had good success with their MusicStation mobile music service that was launched by the likes of Vodafone. For years I reckoned Omnifone to have the best mobile music service, bar none.
I think they still hold that title when you think about ‘feature phones’. I remember testing out MusicStation on a bog-standard Sony Ericsson handset with something like 64mb of usable RAM. The software was smart enough to be able to give me an on-demand music service that appeared to have no limitations. In fact it was caching the most heavily used tracks in that 64mb of RAM and using the network whenever it needed to. (Read my review from April 2008 here: “MusicStation: How mobile music was meant to be“).
What I really wanted was the opportunity to sit on my desktop and create a few playlists before heading out the door to the gym — safe in the knowledge that when I fired-up MusicStation on my handset, the new playlist would already exist there and it would download the tracks as necessary. The desktop service has been a long time coming. Whenever I bump into an Omnifone representative, this is usually what I berate them about.
Of course the higher-end mobile device market is now served reasonably well by the likes of bandwidth and battery-hungry Spotify.
But when it comes to getting a usable music service on a bog-standard Sony Ericsson? It’s Omnifone’s lightweight java client all the way.
I hope, then, that HP users will get the opportunity to not only deploy MusicStation on their desktop but also to a range of mobile devices too. That’d be really cool. The desktop service will cost £8.99 per month and HP users will get a free two-week trial.
I caught the news via The Times — there’s a little more background there.