in Applications, Considerations, Innovation, Mobile Phones, Second Life, Services

Second Life Viewer On Mobile And The Rise Of A New Opportunity

I have been a great fan of Second Life for a very long time. A few months ago I almost quitted since it was starting to become boring and quite repetitive.

Vollee Inc., a company with offices in the United States and Israel has anounced a Second Life viewer for Symbian enabled mobile phones. This is not really new to the industry, since I remember Comverse doing the very same announcement last year, showing me a demo but never relasing the product to the general public.

For those of you who do not know how the Second Life Viewer works I can tell you that it quite a huge piece of software. By no mean at all it can be ported as is to a mobile phone, no matter how good you are. Simply there is not enough processing power, memory and graphics capabilities on current generation of handsets.

The approach that Vollee used is quite different.

Apparently the real viewer is running somewhere in the Vollee servers cloud and they basically stream the viewer window to your mobile phone. A little bit more complicated that that, actually. The mobile client will also take care of you interaction with the virtual world and will transmit your commands to the remote viewer. At the very same time the mobile client will take of Second Life messaging for both Live Chat and Instant Messaging.

The Vollee client will also let you search as you would in the real Second Life viewer and teleport to whatever location you want.

I have been playing with that for quite a long time and I have to say that the User Experience is really good. Honestly I was not thinking that this was possible.

On the downside you may find that a mobile phone display is a little too small and that messaging through the mobile phone keyboard is a little bit tricky.

You may also want to notice that this is really a data intensive application and I strongly suggest to stay away from it if you do not have a flat data plan.

I think we all aknwoledge that the hype around Second Life is no more as big as a few months ago but this can be an interesting concept that should be further investigated for different use cases.

Vollee is actually going to sell PC video games experience on mobile phones using the very same technology the have usend for this mobile Second Life viewer. This will bring a real PC gaming experience to mobile phones. Sure, you will need to have a high speed data connection (UMTS or, better, HSPA), a low latency on your network and good enough phone to support the even light clients but I think it is an interesting approach.

It seems that the idea of virtualizing the mobile phone is starting to rise in the industry. Well, I know, virtualization is not really the right term to use here but it is something really similar.

If we consider this from an economic standpoint we may notice that hardware costs is going down quickly on the server side while on mobile phone it tends to be higher when you increase processing power, memory and ghapics processing. Prices in mobile phone will not go down as fast as they go on the server industry.

This is why it may a good idea to let the server to do the dirty processing job and let mobiles enjoy the full application via a simple, lightweight client.

The biggest limitation I see in that is that you will have your applications available only when you will be under high speed coverage.

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  1. Nice peace of software indeed but let me highlight one possible issue: aren’t SL or PC games too complex to be enjoyed in mobility? I’m not preaching for the good old “snack on the go concept” but my experience tells me that on the move people cannot dedicate too much energy (i.e. attention, time, interaction) for a game or a task. So my opinion is: don’t bring me GTA4 on my mobile but a cool integration (i snap a photo of a car and i can use it in the game, or others stupid but cool mixture of game and reality).