Mobile communications giant Vodafone announced Vodafone 360, a suite of services that gathers all of a user's friends, communities, entertainment and media in one place. The aggregation platform, which Vodafone calls the "most personal address book available," is automatically wirelessly backed up and synchronized with a user's Mac or PC.
The service gives users the ability to create different contact groups across social media networks, share locations, and tag and share pictures and favorite places. It also offers a catalog of more than 1,000 applications for different handsets.
At launch the full service will be available on two handsets built to the company's specification by Samsung. The Vodafone 360 H1 by Samsung offers a 3.5-inch multitouch, high-definition OLED screen, 16GB memory, Wi-Fi, a maximum talk time of over 400 minutes (3G) and a 5-megapixel camera. That handset, Vodafone said, will be followed shortly by a second Samsung handset.
The 2009 launch in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the U.K. will be followed by launches in a number of other countries in 2010, including India, Turkey, South Africa, New Zealand, Russian and France, according to a company release. Four Nokia Symbian smartphones will come preloaded with Vodafone 360, and part or all of the service will be downloadable to more than 100 phones upon launch.
Pieter Knook, director of Internet services at Vodafone Group, said the beauty of Vodafone 360 is that all the services work together and are easy to use. "Vodafone 360 is the first service of its kind to offer customers the benefits of a truly integrated mobile Internet experience that gathers all their contacts and content, all around them, in one place," he said. "Customers can stay in touch and share experiences through social networks, instant messaging, e-mail, apps, maps, music and buying digital content on their mobile bill, with the personalized address book at its heart."
The handset represents Samsung's first product based on the Linux-based technology developed by the LiMo Foundation, a consortium of mobile industry leaders. The foundation's executive director, Morgan Gillis, said that the collaboration between Samsung and Vodafone to produce the first LiMo Release 2 signals the first of a wave of R2 LiMo handsets due in the coming months.
"The Vodafone 360 H1 by Samsung delivers an inspiring service and handset combination which illustrates the game-changing results that eventuate when a handset platform enables leading operators and vendors to realize their vision of new user experiences with full freedom," he said.
"As a founding member of the LiMo Foundation, we have been highly involved in driving the platform forward and are truly delighted that Samsung has delivered the first R2 LiMo handset," said JK Shin, Samsung Electronics' executive vice president and head of the mobile communications division. "Vodafone 360 H1 by Samsung is our commitment to deliver the quality and richness of the LiMo platform to consumers worldwide."