Tiny’s big on the Radar

radar.jpgWe gave San Francsico-based Tiny Picture’s mobile photo sharing service Radar an almost sickly sweet review when we first checked it out last September. It’s not that uploading camera phone photos to the web is a new idea — not by any means — but Radar has such a nice look and feel to it. The company is still in its little Mission district office with a dozen or so employees despite some high profile press recently, but has some new things cooking.

On Monday the company plans to announce its first carrier deal in Europe with Tele2 (30 million plus customers) where Tele2 will promote Tiny’s new Radar mobile client and WAP site. The company has a similar promotion and distribution deal in the U.S. with device company Danger.

The company is also starting to focus heavily on helping its users access Radar on cell phones (instead of just uploading photos from the phone and looking at them on the web). The company is now offering its new mobile Java-based client for free to download over the next couple of months — after the promotional period, depending on your carrier, you might have to pay for it; and no one likes that.

I’ve been using the client over the past few hours and its a lot nicer than the WAP browsing experience. I can view my photos and comments in the gallery-style of the web site, edit photos from the phone, and comment on photos across my network. Scoble thinks it could be a killer app for the iPhone if Apple’s device was compatible. The Tiny team basically highlighted the most compelling mobile-centric features from the Radar web service and pulled them into the new java-based mobile client.

A few short comings — the download is only available on a select number of handsets right now, which aren’t so readily available in the U.S. Compatible devices are: Nokia Series 40 and 60 devices – most N-series phones, Motorola KRZR and V3 and V6 series devices; and some Sony Ericsson devices, including the W-series and K-series devices. If your device is compatible when you go to Radar.net on the mobile web, you’ll see a link that says your device is able to download the client.

I used a Sony Ericsson k790i that they had to loan me because I had no compatible ones (Om hordes all the good ones). Over the hour I tested it, it froze up a couple times, while I was trying to scroll photos. CEO John Poisson says that could be due to server maintenance they did today or new firmware on the device they loaned me. Overall it worked well.

While WAP sites are the most accessible way to access mobile web services, mobile clients are becoming increasingly more popular — see Google’s Gmail, Maps and other mobile downloads, Yahoo’s new Go download, and startups like Mobio or uLocate’s mobile LBS widget.