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January 4, 2007

Wireless companies to watch in '07

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 10:38 AM

An annual IDC study that came out yesterday highlights 10 small mobile companies that IDC analysts believe could have a market impact disproportionate to their current size -- and three of them have a Seattle-area presence.

They are Bothell-based Dexterra, Bellevue-based GoGoMo and TeleNav, which has its marketing offices in Bellevue.

IDC said the 10 companies have four broad strategies or attributes: companies looking to create new markets and industry sectors using new or existing capabilities; companies developing new ways to address customer and industry needs; companies that see market challenges in terms of business opportunities; and companies that have the potential to both grow and play larger roles in the broader mobile industry over time.

"Collectively, the outlook for these emerging wireless players is bright when set against the backdrop of the rapidly evolving wireless ecosystem and marketplace, evolving market strategies of larger wireless players, increasing reliance upon mobile [technologies] by enterprises, and the overall trend of wireless becoming ever more central to ever more subscribers as the 'third screen' in their lives," said IDC's Scott Ellison.

Dexterra said the report pointed out that it may be a breakout year for the company. In the past year, it doubled the number of customers using its platform and products.

As for GoGoMo, it was called out for solving the problem of "content interoperability." That's a business model change from the last time I wrote about GoGoMo, which had been in the "locker" business. Consumers used GoGoMo to store ringtones and other mobile content online.

Now, GoGoMo is trying to solve a new problem. The easiest way to describe it is to compare it to text messaging. Once upon a time, a subscriber of one carrier wasn't able to message a subscriber of another carrier. After interoperabilitiy came into play, text messaging soared. GoGoMo is trying to do the same thing for content, which is very difficult to tailor for each handset and network.

GoGoMo said the Mobile Entertainment Forum estimates that wireless carriers are missing $1 billion a year due to lack of widespread interoperability of content across carriers and devices.

Finally, TeleNav was listed as one of the companies to watch. The company is based in Santa Clara, but has offices in Bellevue. It develops GPS applications for the mobile phone.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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Angel Gonzalez
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