America Online, Inc. is announcing a new suite of mobile offerings designed to give AOL members and Internet users easier access to AOL's popular content and services from their mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs.
AOL has developed the new Instant Pictures feature to take advantage of the popularity of camera phones. The first version of the Instant Pictures feature lets users send pictures from their desktop AIM client to friends' and family members' mobile numbers. The new feature lets those who receive an Instant Picture respond by sharing their own photos as well.
AOL also announced that it is working with carrier partners and third-party developers to deliver next-generation mobile AIM clients that incorporate the Instant Pictures feature. These next-generation mobile AIM clients will enable users to both initiate, and reply to, Instant Picture messages by simply inserting a picture into the AIM conversation. Recipients see a thumbnail image of the picture on their mobile AIM screen that they can click to expand. They can reply with their own Instant Picture and initiate fun Instant Picture sharing experiences with everyone on their Buddy List feature.
AOL's new Instant Pictures feature is supported by AOL's new Multimedia Messaging System (MMS) server as well as its Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Instant Messaging Presence Server (IMPS) or Wireless Village server. Along with its new Instant Picture feature for the mobile AIM service, AOL is bringing its signature You've Got Pictures service to mobile handsets. The new mobile You've Got Pictures application will let AOL members access and browse their stored picture albums. In addition, it will let members download, share and print their pictures.
The new MapQuest Find Me service uses GPS-location-enabled phones to help consumers pinpoint their locations on their phones, share their location with others via text messaging, find nearby locations, and get maps and directions. At the same time, MapQuest's new MapQuest Traffic service gives users live traffic data for 90 metropolitan areas in the U.S.
The company has also launched a new and improved version of its mobile portal, that gives mobile users access to the AOL Mail and AIM services, as well as AOL's news, sports and weather. Additional services will be made available to carriers to customize the mobile portal offering, including AOL's newly developed premium mobile services.
These new premium services include mobile versions of AOL's popular You've Got Pictures, Radio@AOL, CityGuide and Moviefone services. These mobile applications are being made available to carrier partners and can be delivered to consumers on a monthly subscription basis via WAP or as downloadable Java and Brew clients that are easily accessible on users' handsets.
A mobile version of AOL's Radio@AOL service will allow users with media-enabled phones to access the online radio service's 200+ stations of music, news, sports and talk. Mobile users will also be able to access preset stations and view album art as well as artist and song information directly from their mobile devices.
The new mobile service featuring AOL CityGuide will give on-the-go users the ability to search and browse information on more than 317 markets, including 13 million dining and entertainment venues and more than 1 million events. And, for the first time, AOL CityGuide users will be able to use their mobile phones to cast their votes in the annual City's Best survey, recognizing excellence in local dining, nightlife and entertainment.
Finally, a new mobile version of the Moviefone service offers access to US showtime coverage for more than 31,000 cinema screens and the ability to purchase movie tickets from mobile devices. Mobile Moviefone users can also access cast information, top box office performers, and movie synopses and reviews from the leading national critics, making movie selection easier than ever.