Oasys Mobile is releasing a new service the company calls a Virtual Locker. The service, which provides off-line Web based backup storage for your cell phone, is designed to preserve content purchased from the Oasys Mobile Web site, but a purchase isnt necessary to use the service, and it will also store information such as your phone book, so that it can be sent to your phone again in case the device is damaged or lost.
“You purchase content from Oasys Mobile site, it downloads to your phone, and stores it in your locker,” said Gary Ban, Oasys Mobile CEO.
You can switch your phone and download content to the new phone, Ban said. He also said that users can upload photos and address book information to the site. Ban noted that at this point, appointment book storage wasnt supported, although he said it would be eventually.
“The locker is free,” Ban said, “you do not have to buy content to use it.” Ban said that currently content and backups from Cingular, T-Mobile and Sprint are supported. He said that he expects to see Verizon support shortly.
Ban also noted that content in the Virtual Locker can be shared, “It lets the end user define, express, own, show and share their mobile style,” Ban said.
“I think its a great idea, and its a good idea if its free,” said Julie Ask, Principal Analyst – Wireless at Jupiter Research.
Ask said that right now the audience is limited, but that she expects it will grow over time.
“Its a convenience issue,” Ask said. “It takes time to type phone numbers back into the phone, especially as people have more and more numbers and e-mail addresses,” she said.
Ask also said that she thinks services such as this will be provided by the carriers themselves.
“I think well see more services like this,” she said. Ask added that one reason that such a service would become more carrier-centric is that she believes people will be more comfortable with private information such as phone number in the hands of the carriers. Plus, she said, it has other advantages.
“It will help reduce churn,” she said. Ask said that by providing such a service to customers, carriers can help ensure that customers stay on board, if only to make sure they dont lose their backup information.