A few weeks ago I wrote about a little company called SoonR, that hooked into consumer desktops using Google Desktop Sidebars and gave access to files, or allowed email access over the air on pretty much any mobile phone. Since then Avvenu launched its own version of mobile-desktop access (pdf), that also uses the Google desktop search app. SoonR has since added X-1 search, and also plans to add other desktop search tools to make it easier to access information (files etc) on the go. EasyReach, is another start-up that is betting the mobile desktop access is going to be a big business.
The company was started by John W. Stossel in April 2005. Stossell till recently was a senior executive at Intellisync. (Nokia bought Intellisync earlier this month for $430 million.) He sold his start-up Dry Creek Software to Intellisync, and it was the product that gave Intellisync software the ability to sync web based content to Outlook, Lotus Notes, and other popular handheld organizers. Prior to founding Dry Creek, Stossel was CEO and Founder of Real World Solutions (acquired by Puma Technology), a provider of enterprise mobile servers.
The Campbell, California which thus far has been mostly angel funded is betting on one device – the Blackberry – instead of focusing on all web-ready mobile phones. I saw the demo on a Blackberry 8700 and was fairly impressed by the performance. That is because it is a native Blackberry app, and leverages the client’s processing power to the max. (I have not used it on my own so I am not sure how it does over an extended period of time, but I am pretty sure you will let me know :-) )
Here is how it works: Fire-up the application and do a simple keyword search. You don’t have to remember where the information is stored; only a word in it. Once found, you can instantly open the file or send to any e-mail address. Because it only exchanges a tiny amount of data, it works just fine on the slower networks. All one has to do is make sure that the desktop/laptop is left turned on. “Blackberry users normally end-up carrying their laptops when on the go because they want access to their files,” says Stossel. For them, this is a service which can prove to be invaluable.
It also does not provide the caching service as promised by SoonR. Unlike SoonR or Avvenu, Easy Reach uses its own desktop search-and-indexing system. “We did not want to make it complex for users to start using the service right out of the box,” says Stossel. His argument – what if you don’t have a desktop search installed. But he doesn’t rule out using other desktop search engines. Easy Reach is working on trying to integrate its service with Apple’s Spotlight desktop search as well. You can use the service with a Treo using the browser, but the service truly shines when it is a native app. Next-up are native clients for Windows Mobile, Palm, and Symbian.