Xobni Out of Beta, Coming to Smartphones?

xobni_threads1Remember Xobni, that free and useful Outlook add-in previously in beta? Well, the beta tag hits the outbox today because version 1.7 is the real deal. And still free! I’d call this a must-have (or at least a “must-try”) for Outlook users because it adds tremendous value. With it, you gain insightful information from all of your contacts and email conversations. By conversations, I mean just that, since Xobni threads them together in a customizable sidebar. Some of the new features include:

  • Reduced Outlook Startup Time – Xobni now loads much faster inside Outlook
  • Faster Message Loading – Xobni profile data is now cached, reducing delays between loading messages
  • Indexing Controls – users can now control how often and how much of their mail is indexed
  • Sidebar Controls – users can now choose for Xobni to open automatically with Outlook or only open when they need it

There’s plenty to like in the new release, but the bigger news here might be part deux of today’s Xobni press release. Here’s a blurb:

“Xobni, the popular Outlook search and relationship plugin, today announced an investment from the BlackBerry Partners Fund to bring the company’s Series B round to over $10 million.”

Normally, I wouldn’t share investment information news, but bear with me for a sec. Let’s look deeper at what the BlackBerry Partner’s Fund is, based on the same press release with emphasis added by me:

“The BlackBerry Partners Fund(tm) is designed to deliver superior returns on the compelling investment opportunity in applications, services and supporting infrastructure for the BlackBerry® and other mobile platforms. The Fund’s mandate is based on the premise that in the future smartphones will be powerful portable computers for use at home, work, and leisure. The Fund invests in companies developing applications that make smartphones a compelling platform for media, commerce, enterprise, entertainment, and lifestyle applications.”

OK, you could have guessed what the Fund was, but I wanted to spell it out just to make sure. :) It’s a safe bet that the investment made signals development work for Xobni functionality on mobile devices. Just how and when that will happen, I have no idea. But the prospects of making a great email device like the BlackBerry even better sounds like a good return to me.


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