SoonR is one of the companies I wrote about today in The Wireless Report on the Business 2.0 website. SoonR Desktop Agent is a tiny piece of software, aka one of the Google Sidebars that lets you Google your desktop from a mobile phone. You can view or share any of the results that you discover right from your phone.
With nearly 100 million potential customers on the horizon, startups like SoonR, a firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., are developing software applications for smartphone users. SoonR’s technology allows users to access their Windows PCs and run Google’s desktop search tool wirelessly. They can read documents, reply to Microsoft Outlook e-mail, look at photographs, and even share them with others. All that’s required is a phone with a built-in browser. While SoonR’s software also works on the slower 2G and 2.5G networks, it only becomes truly useful over faster 3G connections.
The company was started by CEO Martin Frid-Nielsen and other Silicon Valley veterans, some of them who trace their roots back to Borland Software. That’s old school! SoonR fit the place shifting theme I have been writing about for months now including companies like Orb, Avenu and Sling Media which all could be potential competitors. But these guys are pretty focused on the mobile handsets, especially those with higher speed connections. It would be cool to see this technology extended to other PC platforms like OS-X and Linux. I am sure in time that will come. It better!
The company currently offers a basic plan for free (limited to 20 SMS messages), and will offer a premium version of their service once they go out of beta. The premium service will include features like caching of predetermined folders/or files you are working on in the cloud. Just in case your connection crashes, or your home machine goes kaput. (How it works!)
16 thoughts on “Meet SoonR”
Nice job, SoonR guys!
I was up and running in no time and it all worked as promised. I am sure it will look a lot slicker once out of beta or as the company has the time to beef up the UI (especially on the mobile), but it works.
Although the ‘save’ option is not provided by SoonR on the mobile, it’s possible to save images or audio files, depending on your carrier (if in U.S.) and device type.
If interested, put me in your contact list on SoonR … my handle is, naturally, ‘kaveh’ 🙂
This requires gprs or does it work without that? If it works with gprs, why is SMS mentioned?
it works with gprs but it is so slow. SMS is mostly for notifications and starting sessions etc. it is SMS based navigation, which is pretty cool.
SoonR will use whatever open communications standards are available on the device – such as the browser, instant messaging, sms, mms etc. Currently sms is primarily used for alerts or group communication, across carriers worldwide, SoonR currently supports about 130 different devices.
Om, I’ve gotta call you out on this one. Please show me the value which you so grandly hype. Tell me you used this and it worked.
Accessing your desktop over a WAP/phone browser connection? Sharing photos, files with friends? Via a WAP connection? OM, have you really tried this application?
Maybe it will work better when 3G is here, and fully deployed, so you can get that vaunted 128 connection to your phones–and that will be in a few months, right?
Stu, as far as I am concerned, and if you read the article, i clearly state this is a value proposition for people who have 3g connections. On an EVDO phone it works well. I used a Sprint phone, and it worked fine for me. the value is basically getting files off your desktop, when you are not at home and remotely.
Disclaimer: I am affiliated with SoonR. I wanted to post a comment regarding non 3G phones. SoonR was designed to perform very well on “older” generation phones. The sharing of photos works very well and SoonR will adapt to lower bandwidth devices. We have spent a lot of time making sure you can use SoonR with Blackberry, RazR, and any other phone with a web browser.
When working with large files SoonR utilizes strategies to make the performance acceptable. If you want to transfer a large file, SoonR remote controls the host PC and leverages its wider pipe. Most of the SoonR users are in fact NOT using 3G phones.
Song I noticed your name on the little demo animation on the Soonr front page, but I assume you are not the pretty stock-photography lady?
I have got to chime back in here because I have been testing/reviewing similar mobile apps, and I am here to tell you that (1) you do NOT need a 3G device, and (2) the services uses SMS and GPRS appropriately to present the data in one’s desktop or shared content.
Many companies, large and small, are trying to blur the line between the user’s experience, including access to media assets, on his/her desktop and mobile. SoonR has a very good start towards helping achieve that vision. The sharing part is, at this point, nice to have, but it’s also becoming a parity feature for new companies in this space, so it’s hard to leave out even if the value cannot be appreciated, yet.
BTW, I am in no way associated w. SoonR.
Nik, I am not the woman in the animation. LOL!
I created all the screen shots used in the animation and forwarded it to our creative folks. That’s why my name is on the picstures. They put it all together with the picture of the woman.
Om et al –
Just thought I’d offer up some insight on my experience with Soonr thus far. I’ve been using Soonr for over a month now – I’ve got the client installed on 2 different machines – one server on my home network, and one on my laptop, which bounces back and forth from my home network, corporate LAN, and 11b/g clouds.
Using my Motorola RAZR phone, I’ve successfully connected to Soonr, accessed content in my shared folders (on either machine running the client), emailed items from my shared folders, added a colleague to one of my shared folders, retrieved meeting info and calendar events from my outlook calendar.
I’ve been switching back and forth between a T-Mobile SIM and a Cingular SIM, using their standard GPRS services and the Razr’s built in browser as the underlying network connection. Have not noticed any differences from one provider to the other.
Can’t wait to see how well Soonr works with the slow to emerge >3g data networks that are supposedly making their way to the domestic markets here in the US. I’m looking at HSDPA from Cingular, but I’m not going to hold my breath, as I’ve yet to find a device that supports this tech.
I’ve found that I’m able to connect to soonr.com from my RAZR on a consistent basis. It’s a bit slow using GPRS, but I’m usually able to browse through my shared folders, access files, email files, and retrieve my outlook calendar without any real problems.
On a slightly less consistent basis I’m able to execute GDS searches, browse the results, access a file from the results set.
One of the really cool aspects of Soonr is how items that you access from shared folders and/or GDS searches are streamed back to primitive phone browsers like I have in my Razr. I have not accessed Soonr with devices that have more sophisticated browsers (e.g. symbian phones, ppc phones, etC).
For example, on my Razr, the default behavior (as far as I can tell) is as follows: (1) images are resized automagically for your phone’s display (with options to view original size), (2) txt files are streamed directly to the browser (instead of as an attachment), (3) word docs appear to somehow be converted to txt and streamed directly to the browser, and (4) HTML files are returned in a summary view with the filename, file size, and the option to execute a “get” command.
I found that after executing the “get” command for an .html file that’s in one of my shared folders the page is rendered directly in my browser (as best as it can be). Obviously your mileage will vary depending on the content of the HTML and any embedded scripting, dhtml, etc. Very cool.
I’m having the most challenges with getting conneccted to my Inbox, but I’m working on that.
I’d like to point out that the soonr guys are VERY responsive to my feedback, questions, issues, etc and have fixed a number of minor problems that I’ve had. All in all, this is very cool tech, that I’m starting to find interesting uses for.
Keep up the great work Soonr!
Thanks for the comments.
BTW, we have tested SoonR on Blackberry, Treo, RazR, Various Windows smartphones, Nokia series 60, Motorola V710, and numerous other candybar and flip phones. Even the phones you get for free with a service contract can use SoonR at reasonable speeds. You do NOT have to have a high end phone to run SoonR. If you have a phone that appears to be incompatible, please send a note to email@example.com with the manufacturer and model number and we will respond!
If you do have EVDO (VERIZON XV6600, XV6601, Samsung i730, Sprint PPC 6700)or another 3G technology, SoonR is just awesome. We have seen the future. It is in your hands!
This all very nice but doesn’t the cell phone company get something out of this.I now use a bluetooth to access my PC but if I download to my telephone it costs me,big time.
Amazing tool. I’m using it.