LA JOLLA, Calif.—Cell phone giant Nokia on Thursday teamed up with blogging powerhouse Six Apart at the DemoMobile show here to unveil an integrated phone and blog product that lets mobile phone users easily and quickly blog photos while on the go, or from a PC.
Both the phone and PC version of Nokias Lifeblog software now work directly with Six Aparts TypePad to enable easy mobile blogging, or moblogging. Six Apart is no stranger to this market. At Demo 2004 in February, the company announced—and I tested—a way to wirelessly post photos from a phone directly to a blog. The process was cumbersome, however, as the picture had to be e-mailed to a special blog address, and the ability to add descriptions was limited.
Nokias new Lifeblog features make it a lot easier. Using the phone-based application, I quickly snapped a picture, typed in a short title and description, and then transferred it directly to a blog with a push of a button. No e-mail kludge required.
The PC version of Nokias Lifeblog provides a digital shoebox of pictures taken on your cell phone, much like Picasa or Adobes Photoshop Album. Nokia also announced a connection from that software to Six Aparts TypePad. Once photos are copied from a phone to the PC-based application, a user can add in a title and description, and then create a blog entry with the push of a button.
Unfortunately its only a one-way trip. Once the TypePad blog entry has been created, it cannot be modified via either the PC or phone version of Lifeblog. Nokia Ventures Director of Multimedia Applications, Christian Lindholm, promised that a two-way connection would come "in the future," explaining that its particularly challenging to sync Lifeblog with TypePad. Overall I found the software reasonably easy to use, but the lack of a round-trip connection between TypePad and Lifeblog was limiting.
Lifeblog will be available in October 2004, and will work only on Nokias new 7610 one-megapixel camera phone. The Lifeblog software will cost $30, and a monthly subscription fee for TypePad starts at $5.
Although limited to one phone and one vendor today, the agreement is not exclusive. According to Six Apart CEO Barak Berkowitz and co-founder Mena Trott, they are already working with other camera phone vendors to bring similar features to other platforms.
Six Apart had other news as well. I got a sneak peek at the next version of TypePad, due to be rolled out early on Friday. Enhancements include five new mixed-media layouts, including calendar and timeline, and six new styles. The thirty new looks are designed to combine text with other multimedia components, such as photos, audio and video. Blog setup has also been streamlined.