Volantis integrates mobile phones and web services

Mobile web sites can integrate content from Google Docs, Picasa or Flickr to create mobile mashups using software from Volantis Systems

Companies running mobile web sites can integrate content from Google Docs, Picasa or Flickr to create mobile mashups adapted for any phone with a browser using updated software from Volantis Systems, the company said on Wednesday.

Version 5.1 of Volantis Mobility Server (VMS) Professional Edition comes with what the company calls connectors for all three web services. There is already one available for Facebook. Using XML (eXtensible Markup Language) tags developers are able to include the connectors in their mobile web sites, reducing the reliance on Java programming, according to Volantis.

"Mobility Server is essentially a presentation layer that can be used by any application or web site to optimize and adapt the way it is delivered to the device. It doesn't take an existing PC web site and adapt it on the fly like some transcoder technologies, instead you build your presentation layer using the Mobility Server," said David Roberts, who looks after business development and alliances at Volantis.

The connectors and the Mobility Server don't just open the door for integration; they also optimize the content for whatever mobile phone is used, as long as it is in the company device database, which currently includes about 5,600 phones, according to Volantis.

In the case of both Picasa and Flickr photographs are optimized, a process which is all about converting the image into something the device can handle, including resolution, file format and file size, according to Roberts.

"I suspect the image sites will take off very quickly, because there are already a lot of people that use those sites," he said.

For Google Docs the documents are turned into something that can be read on mobile devices. The Google Docs connector now comes with support the word processor, with spreadsheets and presentation to follow later in the year.

Other connectors on the way include general RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds and the Google Open Social platform.

In the end it's up to the developer how the final page will look, instead of developing one version for each phone, versions for phones with small, medium and large sized screens are created, according to Roberts.

Volantis Mobility Server is available in two different versions, the Professional Edition and an open source version. "The connectors are likely to be added in that version before the end of the year," said Roberts.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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