Sunday, August 7, 2005

America Online Acquires Wildseed to Expand Mobile Strategy

America Online has acquired Wildseed, a start-up offering "SmartSkin" software that serves an an interactive accessory for wireless forming an expanded AOL Wireless group. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Wildseed was founded in June 2000 and is based in Kirkland, Washington, with offices in London, UK.

Wildseed's "SmartSkin" interactive accessories, which ran on its debut product, the Curitel Identity handset, transform the phone's interface and automatically deliver entertainment features. he content includes thematic music and ringtones, video clips, pictures, games, and screen styles. The network-driven online activities include photo blogs, voting, polling, interactive media campaigns, and premium SMS services called SmartAlert and SmartChat. SmartSkin accessory themes are music, fashion, and games. Many of the components that form Wildseed's mobile Linux solution can be sold separately to non-Linux based feature phones.

"Data-related mobile technologies are on the cusp of mainstream adoption. We see it everyday in the explosive growth of our mobile AIM traffic. The wireless industry is focused on bringing additional rich media experiences and a new generation of interactive services to the mobile consumer, and we are committed to being a leader in that arena," said John McKinley, Chief Technology Officer and President, Digital Services, America Online.

The expanded AOL Wireless division, which encompasses the AOL Mobile, Tegic and Wildseed groups, will speed the delivery of community and convenience to mobile users with an array of software solutions, communications and content services supported by the top wireless carriers and handset manufacturers.

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