In synch with Sharpcast
We get the feeling this space is going to heat up this year, what with Yahoo's relatively new Connected Life initiative, headed by VerdiSoft founder Marco Boerries, and Microsoft's buying of Foldershare, to name a few big players.
Sharpcast is the brainchild of Gibu Thomas and Ben Strong. They were behind the development of the Blazer mobile device browser for Bluelark Systems. That company eventually got swallowed up by Handspring, and the team went to work there for a while.
"The problem we've been trying to solve since the days of Blazer is what is the best way to seamlessly manage your information across multiple devices,'' Thomas told us recently. "But it turns out we didn't like to use Blazer. Mobile web browsing is not a good experience. And you have to be connected. We felt the offline disconnected mode is important. And we felt that experience you want to has to fit into exisiting applications."
Enter Sharpcast. It's a web-based service that - when it's fully built out - will enable the instant synching of data across devices and applications. The company is starting with its Sharpcast photos services as a proof of concept, but Thomas said there will be many more ways to use the service.
We saw a demo of the photo service recently. Thomas snapped a photo with this mobile device and in less than 30 seconds, it appeared on a Sharpcast web page on his laptop. He typed in caption info and that, too, showed up on both devices in near real-time. Another demo instantly synched Outlook contact info with the web, laptop and mobile phone.
Thomas likens it to the Blackberry experience that many people are familiar with. "It seemed like an intuitve experience. Why can't every application work like that. So we set out to build a system that will provide that experienece for any type of data and integrates it into existing applications.''
Although the photo demo that we saw made use of Sharpcast's mobile application and a desktop photo application, Thomas says the service can be device- and application- neutral. The company intends to open up an API and become a service that a myriad of applications can talk to.
"This application does not have to be our application,'' he said. "It doesn't have to be our web site. It can be Flickr or some other service. It can be iPhoto or Photoshop Album or whatver. If it plugs into our backend, we can provide the same experience. It's basically applications talking to each other.''
"Bascially what we've built is the FedEx of data delivery,'' he added. "We'll take data from any node in your device ecosystem and deliver it to other nodes. We'll enable some applications, but we will enable an API so any applications can work with this.''
Thomas and his co-founders want Sharpcast to be the industry-standard for synching info. For that, they'll want to sign deals with mobile phone carriers such as Verizon and PC-makers such as HP. Some of those discussions are taking place.
The company has taken $3 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Selby Venture Partners.
Links to blogs that reference this entry: