23 February 2009

Social networks are telcos' new best friend

Everybody at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona wanted to be the new best friend of the social networks. From the world's biggest phone maker, Nokia, to tiny Irish semiconductor start-up Movidia, delegates to the wireless industry's biggest annual gathering couldn't stop talking about Facebook, MySpace and Bebo. The top executive at MySpace, owned by News Corp, said members reaching the network from mobile phones had quadrupled in the last year to 20 million, out of 135 million unique visitors in total, and Facebook has seen a similar leap. MySpace announced deals at the fair with Nokia and Palm, who will adapt some of their phones to make uploading pictures or video to the social network a matter of a single push of a button. The so-called Facebook phone or Social Mobile made by INQ, a spin-off of Hutchison Whampoa's 3, won handset of the year award from the show's hosts, the GSM Association - and everyone involved was eager to claim a share of the credit.